The beautiful Welsh island of Anglesey is littered with dozens of stones in fields of all shapes and sizes. Some are mighty impressive, while others are merely a single stone that has now been incorporated into someone's wall. Perhaps the best known, and rightly so, is the magnificent burial mound of Bryn Celli Ddu.
Bryn Celli Ddu, I am reliably informed, roughly translates to "The
Mound in the Grove of the Deity". It is thought to have begun life as a Neolithic stone circle and henge before converting to a passage grave in the Bronze Age, and is to be found just outside a little town that has the helpful Welsh name of....wait for it:
Llansairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrogwllantysiliogogogoch (Honest). It is quite well signposted and an unobtrusive car-park has been thoughtfully provided for visitors. THOUGHTFULLY PROVIDED? Yes, if your idea of a short walk is the Pennine Way and not my drive (I don't have a drive). After parking your motor, you are led down a labyrinth of paths between fields, which taper off into the distance. These paths are littered with the remains of previous adventurers who had attempted the journey but failed. Overcome by exhaustion, dehydration, or having simply gone mad from the torment of such an undertaking. However, if you are made of stronger stuff (as indeed I am) you will eventually reach the site.
Gazza was getting over excited about visiting this covered burial mound. "It's not going to be West Kennet Long Barrow", I knowingly assured him. Then what goes and happens? We get there, and the place is fantastic! Just like West Kennet Long Barrow in fact (well not quite, but pretty good all the same). I was shocked! Or that sensation could have been caused by the fact that I was hyperventilating from the debilitating physical effort required to reach the site. Either way, Bryn Celli Ddu is a little gem. Obviously, given the distance you are expected to walk, the site is very remote, being surrounded as it is, by farms. This racks up well for the Chill Factor, which also does well by the fact that few other souls are likely to have made such a journey. The mound has undergone some repairs over the years, but who cares, it looks great. A little ditch runs all the way round the mound, and there are even a few remaining standing stones, which are quite the cutest little darlings you ever did see. Once inside the mound's small end chamber (oh er), you will see a funky upright stone that I bet you haven't seen elsewhere. Do not be fooled by the carved stone at the rear of the grassy knoll, however, it's a fake! OK a replica, the real one has been carted off to the Welsh National Museum (I think).
If you are visiting Anglesey, I heartily recommend you take the time to visit this lovely little site. It's a bit of a hike I know, but if I can make it, you can too.