|Cadair Idris clock-wise
|Estimated net time||3½-4 hours|
The whole route runs on path.
|Drinking water||Access to running water in the lower sections but the number of sheep should probably make you sceptical to drink this water.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route, except in the lower sections, and no coverage at trail head (March 2012).|
|Parking||Room for many cars at trail head pay&display car park. £2 for 4 hours per 2012.|
|Start height||100 metres|
|Vertical metres||910 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||9.1 km|
Cadair Idris trail head by Minffordd.
From the A470/A494 junction by the village Dolgellau in Wales, drive east on road A470. Turn right (south) onto road A487 after 4.6 km, and drive 6.4 km. Turn right onto road B4405, and turn right onto a large car park after less than 50 metres. Find parking here, noting that this is a pay&display car park (£2 for 4 hours per 2012).
Start your hike by heading towards the slopes towards east. Follow the signed gravel road approximately 300 metres and then turn right and head up the man-made stairs. Follow this path approximately 600 metres, up to 300 metres. At the path junction fork left (follow sign for "Cwm Cau"). This path takes you towards the lake Llyn Cau and heads left (south) a little before the lake, and climbs onto the ridge south of the lake. You then follow this ridge clock-wise to the summit of Cadair Idris, which is marked by a concrete cairn.
From Cadair Idris continue your hike east, making sure you choose the lower (right) of the two paths heading east. This path will bring you back down to the path junction at 300 metres, from where you descend via your ascent route back to the car park.
31. March 2012
I had hiked Aran Fawddwy earlier in the day, and my plan had been to complete that hike by noon, then get food and drive to Cadair Idris trail head in order to start my hike by 14:00. I was doing fine time-wise, starting my Cadair Idris hike 13:55, but hadn't really succeeded on the food part. Since I hadn't found a food store I had ended up going to a fish&chips shop, and made the mistake of ordering a hamburger with chips. I'm fully aware that these burgers are of the type that comes with a warning "might contain traces of meat", but this one was particularly bad, and I let it slid into a garbage bin after two bites. But the chips was OK. However, a portion of chips and plenty of drinks isn't the ideal re-fill after a strenuous hike when the next one is in the pipeline, so I was a bit uncertain about how this hike would go.
Despite the lack of a proper lunch I did the mistake of partly running up the steep path along Nant Cadair, and by the time I got to above Llyn Cau I was desperately tired. I stopped for some water and a good gulp of the Lucozade I had brought along. That helped my spirit, but I soon found out that it hadn't help much on my physical condition.
When I got up on Craig Cwm Amarch I saw a hiker coming up the steep slopes west of the lake, which looked like an interesting route. I soon overtook him, and we hiked to the summit together, having a good and interesting conversation. At the summit he pointed me in the direction of a number of mountains in the area, but the views were a little limited because of "thick" haze.
From the summit I continued east in order to make a round-trip out of the hike, which worked out pretty well. I had been a little concerned about a steep descent, since my legs were starting to touch on cramps, but having brought poles proved valuable.
Back at the car I had a 1½ hour drive in front of me, in order to be ready for
tomorrow's planned hikes. I had a good stock of IrnBru and Hula Hoops in the car,
which was consumed with great joy, while longing for a proper dinner once I
found a hotel for the night.