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It was well outside my jurisdiction, admittedly, but it was near and I was intrigued. What was I supposed to do? Maen Melyn was a must see. I was close enough to feel the draw. I've learned not to fight the pull. I made my way from Aberdaron, where I'd left assorted family members with a promise I'd return in time for chips and beach stuff, and headed up to Uwchmynydd where I hoped I'd be able to park the car somewhere and walk down to the stone. Astonishingly, it all went remarkably well, and I found the National Trust car park with an ease my lack of preparation scarcely deserved. Knowing full well the stone was overlooking the sea, looking out to Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island), I kept the Island in my sights and ambled down through the ghostly remains of hut circles, I'm sure.



Do you remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind? One of those awesome Spielberg films of the 1970s? Course you do. Well, there was a scene in the film in which Richard Dreyfuss, Roy I think his name was in the film, was muleing around the mid west following the lights in the sky, and he comes across a collection of people waiting by a road, seemingly knowing the alien craft were going to appear. I remember the old fella, who was whistling quietly, and the calm, serene look on his face...like he was home, like he'd found a kind of spiritual home. I met a few people at the cliff face who had that look about them. They saw me coming, smiled, nodded and turned back to the cliff - almost entirely dream like. Some were coming, some were leaving - all were silent. I ventured on. And of course it was there.



I couldn't have missed it, in truth. It was like it was waiting for me. It's called Maen Melyn, the Yellow Stone, and the lichen on it has given it that colour though its often described as pinkish. No one really knows what it is. It's described as a standing stone, but many think it's a natural - perhaps it was and someone lifted it to a standing position overlooking the often treacherous Bardsey Sound - a water some 20000 Welsh saints are said to have sailed across. The Royal Commission are silent on the stone, while a work of 1636 describes it as a hundred stone and central to myth and legend - now lost, it seems. It was terrific.


I'll have to go back again, when I can wander about a bit...I missed so much. I drove back to Aberdaron (which is tops, as well), and had my chips and did the beach stuff. It was a good day.


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Well that was quite something. I took myself off to the tiny village of Llangynhafal this weekend past, willing myself to overcome my crippling shyness in order to ask permission to see the rather wonderful Ffynnon Gynhafal on the property of Plas Dolben. It's tops, Ffynnon Gynhafal...or so I'd heard. A massive 19th century chamber (probably) over an ancient well, traditionally the bane of warts...if that wart was pricked and the pin thrown into the waters. But, I'm shy, you know, really shy in fact, and I was loathe to impose myself upon a family on a Sunday...




So, I turned up at the Church. I had some business with St Gynhafal there. I happened to arrive in the middle of a Sunday service, forgetting that they were were allowed once more. That was quite moving, I can tell you - walking about the churchyard, accompanied by the congregation in full voice...wonderful. I didn't intrude, I'm shy you'll recall, but I was happy to walk amongst the stones and listen. I was told a little later that it was the first service there since some repair work having been completed, and it was busy. I was also told they had an celebratory event there on the Friday which included an Elvis inpersonator...well, he is a religion to some, thank you very much.



My business at the church completed, a decision had to be made. Do I make a run on Ffynnon Gynhafal or not? I did. I managed to find the number for Plas Dolben and rang them up. I spluttered and stuttered, but managed to get my question out. Of course I could visit, it wasn't a problem, they were happy for me to pop in, others had and others would and be welcome also...You meet some absolute wonders of people sometimes, and they leave you thinking good things the rest of the day.


I made my way up the driveway of Plas Dolben and the father was there. I was told on the phone that his wife and daughter were out and about, but he would be happy to help - and he was. Top fella. He was mowing his lawn, but was more than happy to show me his well - and what a well. But I'm not sure which I was more moved my - the well or the man? Such public kindness does that for me, every time. We need that. Public acts of kindness. We need more of it. It lingers and spreads.


I'm not going to tell you anything more about the well. Have a read of my article...you can find it, I'm sure. I wanted to tell you about the people. At St Gynhafal's and Plas Dolben, and the fella at the Golden Lion Inn who was sat outside having a pint and waved at me as I drove past, for no other reason than because he was a nice bloke, I fancy. That was Llangynhafal, and I'll be back.

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I have a theory. Having spent the last 20 years of so wandering around north east Wales, looking at all things old and ancient, I have come to the conclusion that north east Wales was, in the late Neolithic and Bronze Age, an area of intense ceremonial and ritual significance.





Every year, a new finding seems to unearth another layer of significance - a henge monument at Ysegifiog, is the last that comes to mind. The Mold Gold Cape, the Caegwrle Bowl, the growing belief that the River Alyn was a waterway of immense ritual importance...And Lord, the number of lumps and bumps, tumuli and cairn.







Y Gop is Wales largest prehistoric monument, and the third largest in the whole of the British Isles. Only Silbury Hill and the Malborough Mount in southern England are bigger. So what does that mean? Much time and energy is spent on unearthing the significance of Salisbury Plain to our ancestors, but here, by Trelawynd and Gwaenysgor is a monument of tremendous size and importance which seems to be consistently shrugged off. A cursory investigation in 1886-87 found nothing (just like at Silbury Hill)...but really, is that all we should expect. It even has a Mesolithic Cave beneath it, for goodness sake...





I visited Y Gop recently and was staggered. I have only just begun to research this monument in depth - but the story is fascinating and suggests such incredible things, such amazing things...I'll get back to you.

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