Back to the Mountains – Cadair Idris   20 comments

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Time to head back to the bigger mountains. Settled and sunny weather days at weekends are a rarity at this time of year. MWIS was showing a potential cracker so I set the alarm for 6am and headed west. I had a hankering for a proper rocky mountain and Cadair Idris fitted the bill as my nearest option. Always eager to avoid parking charges I’d planned a new route to the top meaning I could park in the free lay-by halfway up the deep valley that lies to the SE of main ridge. 

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I was walking by just after 8:30. The skies were clear and cold but I wasn’t ready for was just how windy it was even low down. This was not a day for hanging about in bitter conditions. My route was to traverse around to the bottom of the NE ridge and climb to the summit ridge from there. I’ve only ever done the mountain by the classic route around Cwm Cau and always looked longingly at this approach. As I wandered around to the base of the ridge the views expanded as I ascended. It was a cracker of a day if exceptionally windy and cold.

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The lower part of the ridge is steep but there is a faint path if you can find it. From there it is a wonderful climb around a succession of rocky outcrops.

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Looking along to Mynydd Moel.

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As I crested the top of the first peak of Gau Graig the wind was ferocious. Strong enough to blow me off my feet a couple of times.

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Compensation was provided by sensational views. North across the Mawddach estuary to the Rhinogs and Snowdon, south towards Plynlimon, still swimming in the morning mists.

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The next stage of my route.

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I managed to find a small degree of shelter from the wind for a snack. Finding places to stop and shelter today was going to be a challenge.

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Onwards to the next summit and the walking was delightful if tricky in the gusting wind. Aview west across the Dovey Hills to the Arans

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Mynydd Moel is a superb spot with spectacular views across the Cadair range to the sea beyond and a deep sculpted corrie to the north east

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More sensational walking across the broad ridge and along the exposed edges towards the summit. 

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As I approached the summit I saw my first people of the day. I must have walked over 3 hours and several miles with the mountain all to myself. I guess this route gets few footsteps.

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I arrived on the summit, surprised to find only a few people there. Cadair is a very well known and popular mountain and on such a good day I expected more people until I realised my early start had me on the top just after midday, still a little early for the masses to have made it

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I tried a selfie and some panorama shots but I could barely stand in the wind. A view back along the ridge I walked up.

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The summit pillar to prove I made it!

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Llyn Peninsula in the background, Care Fadryn, my favourite small hill just visible on the horizon. I’m always pleased to see it.

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Cadair has a number of small rocky outcrops just below the summit where I found a reasonably sheltered spot for lunch and fresh brew of tea. A view from my picnic spot.

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And back to the summit. I wandered across to take in the view from the summit of Cyfrwy as the weather was so clear, I wanted to stay high as long as possible.

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Looking down to Llyn y Gadair where we’d camped earlier in the summer.

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A steep descent and re-ascent to Craig Cau followed where I started to meet larger crowds of people heading up.

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Its a superb spot with grand views down into the deep heart of Cwm Cau. I would have lingered but there was a large group sitting on most of the summit so I paused briefly and headed down.

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I managed to find a marvellous sheltered spot behind a rocky outcrop. Soft grass, a backrest and mountainous views now under deep and clear late afternoon blue sky.

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I sat here for quite a while just soaking up the sun (it was quite warm out of the wind) and admiring the views. It really is a fabulous mountain on a day like this.

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Reluctantly I headed down. It was still relatively early but I had a long way to go and had an idea I may, if I was lucky retain the sun even down at valley level.

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There were still lots of people heading up although possibly just to Llyn Cau at this point in the day. I managed to catch sun most of the way down through the trees.

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And it was still shining when I reached the valley floor.

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I still had a couple of miles to walk back up the valley to the car. There is wonderful path that follows the base of the valley with the main road high above so you don’t really notice its there.

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My timing was perfect with the sun shining directly along its length just before it set behind the flanks of the mountain. 30 minutes later and I’d likely have walked most of its length in cold shade.

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The views were magnificent. The sky deepening its shade of blue and the low sun bringing out all the autumn gold and brown.

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Looking down the valley toward the Tal y Llyn Lake

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And a close up zoom view to finish as I reached the car, still the only car there.

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A fabulous day on a big rock mountain that overlooks the coast on a crisp clear winters day.

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A long day of 12 miles with an early start and a few hours driving. I think it was worth the effort.

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20 responses to “Back to the Mountains – Cadair Idris

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  1. Beautiful photos! The cold and wind were worth it for such huge views.

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  2. Gorgeous day out! I rather like wild, windy days.

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  3. A cracking hill circuit. It’s been a fairly grim month up high, even snow would be a change from mist and damp conditions every day over the peaks.

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    • Yeah, it’s been a bit dank and grey on the whole for a few weeks. I was hoping the recent cold weather they forecast would bring some snow but it was just the same grey days only a bit colder, at least down here. This day was the exception so glad I made the effort

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  4. That is a lovely round, well worth the effort. Splendid photos too.

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    Brenda-Dawn Linney
  5. You have to make the most of those days, amazing views and a great walk for this time of year, 12 miles is a good effort

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    • Makes me think I should get up earlier when the weather is that good. Being out earlier makes for a longer day and sometimes the mornings are the best time to be out. 12 miles surprised me a bit (assuming my mapping software is accurate anyway!)

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  6. What a marvellous day. Magnificent views, sunshine ……… Well done you!

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  7. Fantastic mountain and a day to match. You’ve got some great photos there. I don’t think I’ve ever done that ridge, although it’s so long since I climbed Cadair that I can’t really be sure. We had two glorious days that weekend, but TBH was ill so I only managed a couple of very short outings around ferrying kids about. Fingers crossed for some decent weather this weekend – I have a rare couple of days off. Is it this Sunday when you’re meeting in the Peak?

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    beatingthebounds
    • The classic round which you may have done goes half way along that ridge to Mynydd Moel but I’ve never been all the way to end. Judging by the very sketchy path I doubt many others do either. Coastal mountains are the best. Looking at the forecast I think you need to keep more than fingers crossed, doesn’t look great for the weekend. I’ll let you know Friday/Saturday what the plans are and hopefully we can meet up in the Peak

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      • Even though I haven’t been there in an age, I still think of Cadair as one of my favourite mountains. I’ve climbed it a few times with my parents and the scouts whilst I was still at school, and probably with MUHC since, but never since. Must rectify that.

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        beatingthebounds
        • On a sunny day its a classic and not as far to drive from home as I thought (about two hours). This route was really good as well taking in all the best bits. Be great to walk the entire length right down to the coast if I could find a way to get back to the start

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  8. Brilliant ridge circuit and clarity of images, a fine area. Damn, we were in two minds whether to go that weekend but the forecast was borderline and we stayed home.

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    • It would have been a very windy wild camping trip. I could barely stand up at times and it was windy even at the valley levels. There were some banks of low cloud further east but when I checked the forecast it sounded like west was best. Glad I made the effort 🙂

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  9. Ah, Cadair Idris. A grand mountain. That was an ambitious walk, especially for thetime of year when the days are short. Great photos.

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    • It wasn’t a day to be hanging about and stopping in the wind but on such a grand day, especially when I walking solo you just seem to eat up the miles. An early start also helps, not something I’m always especially good at 🙂

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