I had a lovely surprise at the beginning of June in having a request to do reccie with BBC2 Director, Jonathan Barker. After meeting him off the train at Rhosneigr, my local train station, I spent time taking him to various locations he wanted to survey from prehistory, including LL C B, This was in readiness for coming back to film with Neil Oliver the following week. Neil is from Scotland and well known as an archaeologist, historian, author and presenter. Many will know him from the excellent series - Coast. I also drove past Cymyran Hotel, which is around the corner nearby to Llyn Cerrig Bach. He agreed it would be Ideal for Neil and the filming group.
With Neil Oliver after finishing filming my piece.
The following day, as pre-arranged with Jonathan, Alan and I met up with Neil and the filming group on Holyhead Mountain. This is the site of the Tŷ Mawr Hut Circles - known in Welsh as Cytiau'r Gwyddelod (literally translated - Irish Huts) They are located across the road to the South Stack cliffs and the RSPB centre. Travelling a little further up the mountain, you can look down over the cliffs and see an amazing view of South Stack lighthouse.
No one is sure how old this settlement is, suggestions range from the Neolithic to the Dark Ages. Most probably it is from the Iron Age. There are twenty bases still to be seen which you can walk amongst. Finds from the site include arrowheads, part of a stone axe and pottery remains that date from the late or early as well as later a small hoard of Roman coins found within one of the huts.
Down the road from where I live is Barclodiad y Gawres – again literally translated as The Giantess’ apronful ( stones that she dropped when she flew over from Ireland according to the fable! That evening, since they were so near my home, I met up with Neil and the group again. Amanda had brought us all a picnic to enjoy whilst we watched the sun setting over Holyhead Mountain and the Irish Sea. Beautiful. Here Frances Lynch, our own expert on Anglesey’s prehistory, explained to Neil on film, the significance of the site. She has
published an excellent book “ Prehistoric Anglesey”.
Barclodiad is a Neolithic burial chamber with a passage in the form of a crucifix. It has six stones with carvings of spirals, zig-zags, lozenges and chevrons. I had never seen it light up so well – usually I’d be stumbling around with my flash lamp like everyone else!
The site is cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Heritage organisation.From April to October at weekends and bank holidays it is possible to enter the chamber. You need to pre-book by phone for the key holder from the Wayside shop in Llanfaelog to come there to accompany you. ( 01407810153)
To finish off the evening, the filming crew had carried boxes of food and drink for an evening picnic. We sat chatting whilst watching the sun setting like a red ball of fire over the Irish Sea and Holyhead Mountain. Bliss!
Sadly, it was time to say our goodbyes after becoming really good friends over the last few days.
Recently,work by the Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams has gone on public display in Venice. Bedwyr’s exhibition - The Starry Messenger - forms the official Welsh presence at this year's Venice Biennale. Designed at his home in Rhostryfan in Gwynedd, Wales, the installation at a former Venetian convent features sculpture and a video performance. It is inspired by amateur astronomy, and features a replica observatory and areas of near-darkness. This international contemporary art event takes place at venues across the Italian city every two years. Bedwyr commissioned my son, Gorwel (remembered mostly by many as the Super Furry Animals producer ),to do the sound tracks for it. Bedwyr asked him to recreate “that sound when you’ve been in the house all evening and you go out at midnight.” The exhibition was launched in June and is on until November.
In this picture of Margaret and myself, she explained that can be seen behind us, were formed under the sea about 530 million years ago during the Cambrian Period. Around 450 million years ago when Anglesey was in the southern hemisphere the rocks then on the margins of Antarctica at the southern edge of the Iapetus Ocean moved northwards as the Iapetus Ocean closed. Scotland which was on the northern shores of the Iapetus Ocean then suffered a collision with Anglesey and the southern continents. This resulted in the rocks being folded and cracked (faulted). The fault you see on the photo was the result of the collision, known in Britain as the Caledonian Orogeny (Mountain building period). You will notice that the right hand side of the hillside to the right of the fault, has dropped down 15 to 20 feet all of which happened during the collision under water. This would have caused a huge tsunami as big as the one in Indonesia in 2004. Sadly, the time to leave came too soon, but I shall be re-visiting with my grandchildren during August.
Please note, the Young Geologists Club for the over 8 will meet at Oriel Ynys Môn, starting Wednesday July 31st. 1.30 – 3pm (01248 752009 to book). £1.50 each child.
In the distance, you can see the Summit Windmill which was built in 1878, in the hope of reducing pumping costs for the deepening mine shafts. The windmill was unique in Anglesey in having five sails.
up above the Great Open Cast
I attended three book launches by Anglesey authors this month!The first was “Screen of Brightness” a new collaborative collection of poems by Fiona Owen, my daughter in law and Meredith Andrea. They first launched in Birminghambut I attended the second launch at Bangor. It was a very proud moment for me. Also Fiona and Gorwel gave a small musical recital, singing in harmony old Welsh folk songs and English songs which they’d composed both the music and words.