Friday saw another excursion into the bleaker parts of South Wales hunting the wild megalith. The weather forecast predicted sunshine with the occasional shower so I had high hopes for this visit to Mynydd Trecastell / Mynydd Bach to the site called Y Pigwyn which has two Neolithic stone circles and the remains of a Roman camp. The car wouldn’t have made it up the rough track (a four-wheel drive would be fine) so we parked at the cattle grid, had our packed lunch and then set off in the crisp sunshine. Within a few yards along the, possibly, Roman road the weather completely turned, bombarding us with snow, hail, gale force winds and a drastic drop in temperature. We were kitted out for it as even late April can see sudden changes in the weather around here but even so, it took all our resolve to carry on struggling against the vicious headwind for the mile or so to the circles.
About halfway along we had to stop and turn our backs to the fierce gale and we discussed turning back but the wind dropped slightly and the wave of heavy hail moved over us and on into the distance so we carried on. I wondered how I would be able to draw as my hands were desperately cold but as we reached the circles, the last of the hail disappeared, the sun came out and warmed us up. The first ‘circle’ we came to is incomplete, with only four remaining standing stones but a number of postholes are still very obvious. There are paths criss-crossing the rough grass, possibly made by people but more likely sheep and two intersected the circle neatly. It was still cold so I had to work quickly.
Dewi the archaeologist commented that the mountain had challenged us and we had passed the test. It certainly felt that way.
I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.