Monday, 29 February 2016

Caerau Hill Fort visit

Our two local PCSOs turned up before Mass at St German's this morning, following through with their enquiries into last week's purse theft, hoping to get descriptions of the offender from two people who'd seen the man leaving on his bike. Afterwards, Hamid told me that his lawyers have until March 17th to lodge an appeal on his behalf.

In the hall after the service Hilary and Angela ran a dementia awareness training session for nearly twenty people. It was most informative and thought provoking. There are plans afoot to hold regular social meetings for carers and people living with dementia in 'Dementia Cafe' events at the day centre. The session certainly made me think about the different illness or injury paths that lead people to loss of memory in their lives, and understand how such a common affliction can be due to a great variety of different causes.

After a late lunch, I decided to visit Caerau Hill Fort with my camera and continue what I set out to explore last Monday. I took the bendy bus from Cowbridge Road to the top of Heol Trelai, and walked from there up Church Road, out of the housing estate and up the hillside, to where the hill fort and ruins of 13th century church and churchyard are situated. 

I was annoyed and exasperated to discover when I came to take a picture, that though I'd fully charged the camera, I'd forgotten to replace the memory card, and no longer carried a spare in my wallet. So I had to use my Samsung Galaxy smartphone camera instead. It meant having to learn how to use its touch screen controls, something I'd never bothered with before, and didn't particularly relish. The afternoon was dull. The photos I took of the ruins were adequate, but the general landscape shots lacked detail. Ah well, another return trip one of these days, I guess.

Much of the excess vegetation has lately been cleared from the mounds of the hill fort, making the site of one of Wales' most extensive iron age sites more accessible. The churchyard which is part of the site is fairly tidy, although one old tree had been badly burned in the recent past, and some monuments look dilapidated. The ruins of St Mary's church building have been made safe for visitors. Sad to think that this 13th century church, restored in the 19th century, then again in the early 1960's, only to be closed and de-consecrated in 1973, was stripped of its roof and secured in a ruinous state. 

Being on an isolated uninhabited hillside, the church has long been subject to vandalism, and thus unsustainable for modern use. It would be a great place for a hermitage. The problem is finding a rugged self-reliant hermit willing to take up residence relatively close to a big housing estate, with a busy by-pass road just below for a near neighbour. I wonder how many more remote ancient churches will end up ruinous before the twenty first century comes to its end?

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