’23’, Dragons & Houses for the dead.

Challenge: Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge
Topic: Just for Fun

Challenge: Lens-Artists Challenge #172
Topic: A Day of My Week

So this week it was 23 years since I asked Karen to share her life with me. ’23’ a number associated with lots of odd folk and conspiracy lore if you care to trawl the web, you could start with the ’23 enigma’ if you wish.

So for our 23rd getting together anniversary, we decided to take the day off work and do something else ‘just for fun’. And so we went in search of Dragons and Houses of the dead, a fitting search for the week of Halloween.

Our first stop was at Parc le Breos chambered tomb, we have visited a couple of times before, but always a good starting point when searching for our Neolithic ancestry on the Gower. Its also a good place to visit if you like dogs, as it seems that the entire population of Swansea comes here for walkies!

Parc le Breos

This is a very accessible monument, but next we would venture into the unknown. Our next stop was the Penmaen Burrows Burial Chamber, which was described as ‘difficult to find’ in one of our books. However a short walk from the car park revealed a good path, and the chambered tomb was actually quite easy to find.

Penmaen Burrows Burial Chamber

An interesting site as it shows continued occupation with a ruined church just across the path, with the village having disappeared under the encroachment of the sandy burrows sometime in the C15. From here we continued our walk around the headland and back to the car, a light 2 mile round trip.

And so then we set off to Rhossili in search of a Dragon or a Wurm, and the folkloric final resting place of Sweyne Forkbeard. But first lunch in the van, in the National Trust carpark!

This was to be altogether a different ‘hike’ a mile and a half across the Rhossili downs to the two burial chambers of Sweyne’s Howes, A large hill to tackle first followed by a tramp across the downs, and a glorious view of the Peninsula with sea visible in almost every direction.

From the vantage point of the path you glimpse both tombs at about the same time, Sweyne’s Howes south is mostly collapsed and robbed out, with a stone being said to have been taken for milling , but Sweyne’s Howes north is fairly intact but with a collapsed capstone. It is quite a scramble to get down to them.

Sweyne’s Howes South
Sweyne’s Howes North

And so back up onto the path, with a walk back to the van, and the sky threatening rain, we were passed by walkers in ‘all the right gear’, in a rush to get somewhere, the ‘walk’ seeming to be the goal, rather than the surroundings. The way back was filled with pontification about the meaning of Sweyne’s Howes, these of course were not the final resting place of a Nordic Viking king, but Neolithic burial chambers. So how did Sweyne Forkbeard get attached to these? Did he in fact have anything to do with the naming of Swansea? Were these just houses for swine, a remembrance of a more modern usage, or a folkloric remembrance of a pig of a man? It was an interesting discussion and Karen may well blog about it, or it will just find an entry in her book (on the folklore of burial chambers).

And so we finally saw the dragon in all its glory, swimming out to sea, heading out to protect us from invaders. It’s easy to see how we have an ancient belief in dragons in this land. I might think twice about making landfall if I saw this beast shrouded in dragons breath.

Worms head

And so this day of the week was nearly done, it would be home for an anniversary takeaway and a film on the wazzock’s lantern. But first returning through Parkmill, a stop at Shepherd’s for an ice cream, wherein a slight return to normality was felt.

Salted Caramel & Heavenly Chocolate cone,
Blackcurrent Clotted Cream & Salted Caramel tub.



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