Needless to say, I always forget and it was only when I was stood on the Eglwsyeg Mountain nearby with map in hand that I finally identified these hills. They were in fact the Llantysilio Mountain and Moel y Gamelin, and they breathed a real ancient mysterious air that I knew just had to get up and explore them.
I followed the track to a point where I was ambushed by a flock of pheasant who took a rather clumsy, over dramatic flight from the field next to the track making the most immense racket, a rather awkward sound for such a gracious looking bird. With my heart beat back to its normal pace I continued up the track where a greater spotted woodpecker darted back and forth just ahead of me, and once it took its place on an oak tree began to peck on the bark creating that familiar drumming sound.
The path gradually got steeper as I walked up gaining height and a bubbling brook ran parallel to it. Before long I found myself stood in an opening with rugged moorland ahead of me and the impressive limestone cliffs of the Eglwseg Mountain as I looked back.
Here too, as I looked to my right, I could see the object of my walk – the peaks of the Llantysilio Mountains - Moel y Gaer (504m) & Moel Morfydd (550m), and furth on – Moel Y Garmelin (577m).
I continued up the path which leads to the west of the peak until it turns right, leading up to the summit. With each step I took I listened out to the call of the many birds that make this scrubland their home. In the valley below I could see buzzards soaring and heard the song of many smaller birds. Here is also home to the rare black grouse, but fortunately I did not encounter a sudden ambush as I did with the pheasants in the valley below.
From here as you looked to the east you could see the undulating line of the other peaks leading to the Maesyrychen Mountain with the sandy coloured path in contrast to the purple heathland of the hills.
At the trig point I stood and took in the view all around. It was then that I realised that there was no one else about, not one person. I glanced to the west and followed the path to see if I could see anyone ascending, but no one. I then shifted my glance to the east where the popular Horseshoe path lay, but still no one. So there I stood, on top of a hills in the welsh valley with this incredible view, all alone. I must admit this was rather nice and made a welcomed change from the busy national trails that I often find myself on. It allows for time to just look, listen and take it all in. A true connection to nature and the mountains that have graced this landscape long before the presence of people.
From here you can see the other hill forts in the region, from those on the Clwydian range and south at Dinas Bran creating a line which would be a valuable part of the defensive process back in the day, when warning beacons were lit on them passing the message along the valleys.
What really fascinates me about his peak is that instead of a trig piont there is a cairn at the summit, and this isn’t just a pile of stones to show the way. In fact it is the location of a burial cairn dating back to the Bronze Age, where someone of high status, whether a man of wealth or a chief, was laid to rest. I could almost imagine the scene as if I were part of it, a group carrying the body up to the peak where he could be laid overlooking the beautiful landscape of North Wales, the atmosphere sombre yet respectful as the burial place was covered by the stones.
A quick hello as he ran past and he was gone, running down the steep path from where I had just come. I soon followed him, though run down I did not. I did try it for a couple yards but could see a slip, trip and fall on the cards and decided that rolling down the hill would be far less graceful than a steady walk down.
Once back at the cross roads I took the Clwydian Way path to the south which leads around the hill amongst the rich purple landscape of the heathland, which provides a nice sight when in contrast of the greenery of the valley and woodland below.
The path slowly descended until it came to a track which led past house with their chimney smoke puffing away and fields where pesky pheasant lay in waiting. On high alert and ready for any further ambushes I walked along the track which eventually brought me back to the car park near the church in Rhewl.
What I love about these Mountains is that when you are amongst them you feel like you are an ancient wilderness where Wales’s history shows itself with every step. From the Burial places to the quiet summits with extensive views, it is a range that provides an enjoyable walk with, a look into the past, but within easy reach.