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Take a scramble on Cadair Idris

Cader Idris (or Cadair Idris) has to rank amongst the most iconic mountains of Wales, after Snowdon. Although only 2,930 ft (893m) high, it is very much a mountain and the hike to Panygader i involves scrambling over rocks and boulders. Our very own Helen Moriarty recently climbed Cader Idris and here is her report.

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Recently, my friend and her dog Jess were staying with me, having travelled down from Ilkley in Yorkshire the evening before. On a previous visit a couple of summers ago, as my friend had never been up Cader, we had attempted to climb the mountain, but when we reached Llyn Cau, turned back as the clouds had gathered and visibility was poor. The final assault was put off for another time.

But this was the day – clear blue skies, if not a little too hot. Setting off from home about 9.45am, we reached the car park at the base of the Minffordd trail about 11am. My friend went off to the near-by cafe to get change for the car park fee, returning with coins and flapjacks! (The meter does not accept notes and we had both arrived with a £10 note each and no change!).

The first section is stepped and steep – we were quickly overtaken by a young man on his own, confident of completing the walk in less than four hours (he had paid £2.50 at the car park, rather than the all day fee of £5.00 – that’s confidence for you!). En route we were eyeing up our return path from the Mynedd Moel peak which would meet the Mynffordd path above the existing tree line. Once out of the trees and following the route towards the typical glacial cirque occupied by Llyn Cau we picked up a pleasant cooling breeze. Jess bounded off to cool off in the water.

The next bit involved a few scrambles and frequent stops to ‘admire the view’ and rest a bit – though I wouldn’t admit this to my friend! Having climbed Cader on several occasions via the Minffordd path, I knew there was a ‘false peak” and dip before the final climb to Penygader. Once on the top and having taken the necessary photos at the trig point, we moved away to have our sandwiches and enjoy the view. This was stunning as the heat haze had lifted and we could clearly see Bardsey Island at the end of the Llyn Peninsular, with Anglesey beyond, Snowdonia to the north and the southern extent around Cardigan Bay to Pembrokeshire in the south.

After absorbing this magnificent view of Wales for a while we continued towards Mynedd Moel, one of the subsidiary summits of Cader before dropping steeply down over scree towards the Minffordd path. En route we encountered a large group of students doing their gold Duke of Edinburgh award. Unfortunately one had sprained her ankle. Later on we spotted several people from the mountain rescue team and, as we neared the bottom, the air ambulance could be seen circling overhead.

Back at the car my friend declared the walk ‘stunning’ and well worth waiting for the nigh-on perfect conditions.

Photo of Cadair Idris © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

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