After our trip across the Mawddach Bridge we drove the short distance to Cregennan Lakes for our picnic. This is perhaps my favourite place, and used to be very quiet and tranquil. It was still quiet when we visited, but perhaps only if you compare it with a town centre on market day. The car park was full, and there were people enjoying the views everywhere. I’ve never been here on a bank holiday weekend before, all the other times I had the place to myself. Perhaps I’m being churlish, turning into the grumpy old man Number 1 Daughter has been proclaiming I am for some years now.
The land around the lakes was given to the National Trust in 1959 by Major C.L. Lynne-Jones in memory of his two sons who were lost in the Second World War. There are ancient ruins all over this small patch of land from neolithic standing stones, bronze age hut circles and Llys Bradwen, Bradwen’s Court, said to be belong to Ednywain ab Bradwen, the leader of one of the Fifteen Tribes of Gwynedd from the 7th century.
The name Cregennen, originally Crogenan, derives from Crog-gangen’ which translates as ‘hanging branch’. The story goes that criminals convicted of crimes at Llys Bradwen were hanged from the branch of a nearby oak tree.
Carreg y Big is perhaps of the largest of stones near the lake, perhaps just under 2m tall as it now stands. It may have been much taller when first erected, but with soil build up around its base it is now shorter (does that make sense?). It’s in a rather unusual position sited under a rocky knoll, which you can’t see in this picture as it’s to the right. It doesn’t seem to be the most prominent positioning, but it can seen from the lake to the east and from the ancient trackway to the west.
The road, known as Ffordd Ddu, up from Dolgellau past the lake and over the mountains to the Dysynni Valley is probably an ancient trackway used during the neolithic and bronze age periods. The road is metalled up to the lake, but quickly turns into a rough trackway suitable only for 4x4s or on foot. Having walked it in the past it is a great walk, especially as you reach the descent into the Dysynni Valley on the other side.