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Tre'r Ceiri Hillfort (Gwynedd, Wales)

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Iron age hill fort on Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd.

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      07.09.2011 11:34
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      Totally worth it!

      For several years now we have enjoyed the view brought to us within the welsh countryside, one of the main aspects of this view was the Tre'r Ceiri Hillfort. We have never really known what it was but one lovely afternoon we decided to go for a drive and take a closer look.


      The Tre'r Ceiri Hillfort is situated within the Llyn peninsula in Gwynedd. Access to it is quite tricky as there are no sign posts describing that it is even there never mind where it actually is but there are several maps on the internet that give good directions. Once actually there parking is very limited within the area with only a small layby that could possibly fit 4 cars at a squeeze. We parked up here and proceeded through a rather small cattle gate that lead to the foot of the hill. At first we wasn't sure which way to go but that wasn't really such a mither for us as with a 3 year old we had no intentions in climbing to the top.


      I would think that we had climbed for around half an hour before we came to the conclusion that continuing any further would be a hazardous trip for us alone never mind for my daughter and the hill became rather steep and was mainly a rock base. Upon walking back down we noticed what looked like a path right on the other side, we decided to go and explore and realised we had in fact been going the wrong way. There is in fact only one way to get to the top of this hill and that is by following this path.


      We assessed how tired we all were and the fact that we had no real climbing gear and decided it would be best to head back. Neither of us wanted to give up however and we had now become determined to get to the top regardless of the fact that neither of us had ever climbed that high in our entire lives. The next day we raided the local trespass store for some walking shoes and coats although the coats were not really needed.


      Arriving back at the foot of the hill we preceded in the right direction, there was a clear path of which way to go so I was sure that we wasn't going to get lost. At this point I had no idea that it was actually a fort that we was climbing towards, I truly just thought that we were climbing a hill, there are no sign posts or no leaflets etc. explaining that it is there, in a way I feel that it needs more publicity but also I think that too many tourists visiting would ruin its mystery.


      We must have climbed for about an hour when I started to feel like turning back, for most of the journey after this point I took a break every 10 minutes or so to sit on the floor looking like I had just ran a marathon. At this point however my three year old suddenly got a burst of something as she was all for carrying on, she didn't want to stop and she didn't want picking up either she truly was amazing. During one of my many breaks we got overtaken by a very adventurous looking couple, on the way past they gave praise to my daughter because they had been watching how well she had been climbing. In a way I envied these people, not because they could climb better than us but because they had brought water bottles. We, totally underestimating the climb and had brought nothing but two cartons of orange juice to share between the three of us!


      After climbing for over an hour and a half we came to a sign describing the hill fort and ruins that lay above us that we knew nothing about. Climbing for 5 or so more minutes the hills conditions changed we were no longer climbing on a grass path but on old stones and rocks instead, this was rather hazardous but once you overcome this you are presented with a rather flat surface and hundreds of huts, the vast of it was breath-taking, I have never seen such a thing in my life. There were just hundreds of ruined huts, The whole area is just magnificent. The huts vary in shape and size and some of the walls stand at over 1 metre high. I was truly lost for words and it was so amazing to find this at the end of what I thought would be a pointless climb.


      Apparently Tre'r Ceiri is a hill fort dating back to the British Iron Age, being built around 100 BC. However items such as pottery, iron tools and glass beads that have been found on the site belong to the Romano-British period (AD50-400) it is said that the Iron Age fort probably housed 100 people living in about 20 houses. During the Romano-British period, the fort grew into a large village or small town with perhaps as many as 400 inhabitants.


      As it is such an amazing piece of history there is a sign on the hill fort asking people to keep to the path rather than entering any of the stone buildings but you can see everything very clearly from the path so there really is no need to explore too much. If you carry on traveling forward there is a small 15 minute walk that takes you to the very top peak, here you can look down over the entire fort. From up here as well you can see everything, there is sea on three sides and on a clear day you can apparently see over to Ireland.


      As for our journey, once we reached the top we were applauded by the couple who had passed us on the way, I'm guessing by the look of me they didn't think that I would ever make it, my daughter on the other hand was so excited to get to the top she didn't even want to sit down and rest. I must say however that right at the very top there are some seriously steep points so be careful for that. There are several path ways at the top so you are able to go and have a better wonder round and take a closer look at the buildings, we did this before heading back down, on which journey my daughter slept the whole way whilst daddy carried her!


      All in all I think it took about 3 ½ hours to climb to the top and then back down again. I must say, it's not a climb for the faint hearted. If however you are a better climber than I am you should be able to get there a lot faster. The hill is approximately 450m high, which in all honesty does not mean a lot to me. This hill although not widely publicised is supposed to be one of the best preserved hill forts in Britain although I haven't seen any others to make a comparison.


      It's really not something I want to do again, for a while at least but the climb is totally worth it. It is such a beautiful place and I can't recommend it more.

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