Garn Boduan rises up steeply from near the eastern end of the Llyn Peninsula. It is the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort where the remains of over 160 circular stone huts have been found, remains that are clearly visible even today. The hill is one of those places where you either roast going up, or freeze at the top. I have tried both options, and usually find being over dressed is preferable than under, especially if you wish to admire the views. My latest visit there made me glad that I had taken a warm fleece with me: it was a beautiful sunny spring day - lovely and warm when out of the breeze, but bitter in exposed areas.
The path from the road rises steeply in a southerly direction between conifers, small saplings and my most hated plant: Rhododendron - I would exterminate this plant from the UK, having seen the devastation that it has caused in our native woodlands. I don't even find it attractive, and consider its gaudy flowers to be totally out of place in our subtle and beautiful countryside. Sorry, rant over for today!!
Onwards and upwards: the path snakes round towards the north through tall conifers and more mature native trees. As the path starts to turn to the south again you will see a much narrower path cutting up through tall conifers, it is this path that I always take to the summit. You only walk a short distance before the conifer cover thins out to be replaced by a patchwork of bracken, heather, stunted gorse and the occasional sapling.
Up ahead the rocks rise, sheer and bleak, providing an outcrop from which the Ravens view their territory. There is always a pair here. They flap slowly from rock to rock, watching your progress with a wary eye. The path continues to zig-zag to the summit through patches of buzzing bilberry. I stand and listen, and watch the Bumblebees busy at work.
And then I spot a small patch of Fairy Bells better known as Wood Sorrel. I have never tried eating this plant but I have read that it has an acid taste and makes a pleasant addition to salads. It also makes a 'Sirrup for a Feaver':
"Take Sirrup of Violets two ounces; Sirrup of Woodsorrell two ounces; Sirrup of Lemmon two ounces, mixed altogether, and drink it."
It is so sad that we have lost so much knowledge of the herbs of wood and field due to the influence of the drug industry, an influence that is in the interests primarily of profit and not health.
Just after the Fairy Bells I reach the first wall of the hill fort.
I stand and think of our distant ancestors climbing this hill to reach safety from oncoming attackers, attackers who would be so vulnerable when traversing this steep rocky land.
And then I reach the first of the stone huts: what a bleak and inhospitable place to live.
Just beyond this hut is a small patch of water. Whatever time of year I have visited there is always a puddle. I assume that underneath is a spring of some sorts, perhaps the one where the Iron Age people got their water from.
And then we head towards the summit: visit again tomorrow for the last installment!