I've literally walked this hill for almost thirty years. It's my local hike and the highest point in the two neighbouring counties of Flintshire and Denbighshire.
From school trips right up to the present day, I've explored Moel Famau (roughly translates to Mother Mountain) and the surrounding hills of the Clwydian Range hiking, running and by mountain bike and I thought I knew the place like the back of my hand.
It wasn't until recently though, that I discovered something that would change the way I looked at the place.
On the top of the hill (about 1800ft) are the ruins of an Egyptian style obelisk. It was designed to celebrate the golden Jubilee of King George III in 1810. Due to lack of funds the tower was never completed and in 1862, during a bad storm, the top part of the unfinished tower collapsed leaving only the lower tier. This is the state it can be found in today.
A crisp Jubilee tower in the winter (Triangulation pillar in the foreground)
What's left of the tower is a point of interest in itself and can be seen from miles around from as far as England in the East and Snowdonia in the West. But it isn't until you look a little closer that the thought provoking really starts.
E.M + B.Jones August 1868 CHESTER
R.E Snape 184? (This was the oldest one I could find - almost 180 years old)
H.R Oakley 1865
J.W Morgan and other initials
This was by far my favourite - H.y Joyce & E. nooyle Aug 57
I'm guessing by the elaborate flicks on the lettering that this is 1857 and not 1957!
Most of the daubers have noted summer months and I could imagine them spending a hot afternoon at the summit. A wicker basket full of bottles of cloudy lemonade and their etching tools rolled up piece of grubby cloth, whilst the smoke from the towers of the industrial revolution puff away on the horizon.
As an added bonus to inspecting every single rock on the tower for graffiti, I also found the stone masons marking on one of the larger slabs.
A bit over the top for a logo if you ask me. Seems occultist which all adds to the intrigue of the place.
As the sun settled over the hills and the light faded on the names of people long gone, I thought about what they might have looked like and what type of lives they had. They had an attraction to the area which I can definitely relate to.
I wondered if they ever thought their names would be read out many years on in the next millennium and what they would think of our boneheaded era, with our bus stops full of cock and balls and badly drawn swastikas.
Thanks for reading