Hill: Cadair Idris
Date: Saturday 11th March 2017
Company: Just myself
Distance: 9km, Ascent: 740m
Time: 3Hrs 20Mins

Having ascended Foel Offrym and Craig y Castell yesterday, two Sub2000ft Marilyns located near Cadair Idris, I decided to return to the same area again today to ascend Cadair Idris itself. I was hoping the cloud base would be higher today but alas the cloud was again down below the summits.

I parked in the Cadair Idris car park. The car park information board suggests 5 hours to ascend Cadair Idris and back. My Snowdonia guidebook suggests 4 hours to ascend Cadair Idris and back. Probably intentionally, the fee for parking is £2.50 for up to four hours and £5 for the day. Thus most will likely pay the higher rate when ascending Cadair Idris in case it takes them more than four hours. I decided to pay the lower rate and ensure I was up and back within four hours. I didn't think this would be a problem as I am generally faster than guidebook times.

This car park would appear to be well managed as there was an up to date MWIS weather forecast next to the information board.

Cadair Idris car park information board:

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Once suited and booted, I set off walking a short distance along the road until reaching a sign and waymarks pointing out the route uphill.

Looking towards cloud-capped Cadair Idris from the road:

The initial section of walk up past Ty-Nant farm and beyond is lovely. The woodland and streams are really picturesque.


Heading through a nice wood:

Stream just beyond Ty-Nant:

The majority of the walk is via well-constructed path work. While this is great for preventing erosion, it is hard on the old knees. As Cadair Idris is one of the most frequented hills in Snowdonia, the pathwork is fairly essential.

Ascending the lower slopes of Cadair Idris:

I think perhaps I need to move to Wales as almost all of the lasses ascending the hill today were beautiful. I also however think I am getting old as a couple of twenty-somethings overtook me going not just a little faster than me but considerably faster!

Looking towards western Cadair Idris:

On reaching the steep mid-section leading up onto the ridge, I was really impressed with the zig-zagging pathwork which is not visible at all from below.

Steep section leading to the ridge:

Zig-zagging up the steep section:

I stopped briefly on the steep section to photograph Craig y Castell ascended the day previous.

Looking down to Craig y Castell and Llyn Gwernan:

Once onto the wide ridge, the initial section was really pleasant.

Onto the wide ridge:

Looking towards the western tops of Cadair Idris:

However, the initial pleasant walking was soon replaced by walking up lots of stones which is not my favourite type of terrain at the moment owing to having an ongoing knee injury.

Ascending Cadair Idris:

Stony section of track:

Before long, I reached the rim of the coire. Not sure what they call a coire in Wales?

Shelter just below the coire rim:

I followed the rim of the coire towards the summit. Visibilty was now really poor.

Following the coire rim towards the summit:

Following the coire rim towards the summit:

A short, easy hands-on section:

Approaching the summit of Cadair Idris:

On reaching the summit, I stopped long enough to take a photo and then returned via the same route. I wasn't hanging around because there were no views and I had to get back to the car park within four hours.

At the summit of Cadair Idris:

Looking back to the summit of Cadair Idris:

Wall a short distance below the summit:

It was disappointing that Cadair Idris was capped in cloud today. What I could see of the hill from below looked really rocky and impressive.

Looking back to the steep cliffs of Cadair Idris:

I made it back to the car park 3 hours 20 minutes after setting off i.e. with 40 minutes to spare. I did however not stop during the walk and did ascend at a reasonable pace. If there is one thing that puts me off visiting Snowdonia it is car parking charges. Almost everywhere you go in the National Park there are parking charges. These vary from a few pounds to as much as £10 at the Pen-y-Pass car park. Rip-off.

Following the hillwalk I visited Blaenau Ffestiniog for the first time finding a nice wee pub to watch the rugby. Unfortunately, Scotland played really badly and I have to say England deserved to win. All the Welsh people in the bar were supporting Scotland .