Friday, 26 September 2014
Hill Forts and Butterflies on Lleyn
The Lleyn peninsula has superb hills along its north coast - Yr Eifl (The Rivals) and 4 big hills behind Clynnog Fawr. Driving from Caernarfon to Nefyn one has great views of them, and in fact the road passes the foot of the hill capped by Tre’r Ceiri (The Town of the Giants). This 2.5ha hill-fort contains 150 hut-circles within the ramparts.
On 31st August, however, we were breaking new territory and chose to ascend Garn Boduan, a volcanic plug about 8km SW of Tre’r Ceiri and only 1km from Nefyn. The lower slopes are clothed in conifers, but half-way up the path emerges into gorse, bracken and heather, attracting myriad honey- and bumblebees. On the way up were various Vanessid butterflies – Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Red Admirals, then once on top we spotted the hoped-for Wall Browns, males sunning themselves on the rocks. They were not still for long, as one would find another male and they performed aerial tussles, just as Speckled Woods were doing along the path through the conifers. Garn Boduan also has hut-circles, about 170 in the 10ha hill-fort, but these are not easy to see as they are mostly hidden in heather and gorse – Tre’r Ceiri’s huts are much more apparent. As we dropped down from the summit, a Painted Lady flitted past, and finally we found a rather faded Grayling, another of the Brown family at the end of its season.
Although Tre'r Ceiri no doubt had many visitors that day, Kate and I had Garn Boduan and its butterflies all to ourselves.