Cadair Idris

Sunday, 15 June 2014
3028ft/923m ascent
Trail 100 #40

Our base for this weekend was the LLwyndu Farmhouse in Barmouth, where we ate a filling breakfast before setting out to climb the most famous mountain in this part of Wales.

LLwyndu Farmhouse

The location of Cadair Idris (2930ft/893m) rising from sea level above the Mawddach Estuary is an impressive sight, but we decided to climb it from the other side, starting at Minffordd. The first part of the walk is a steep stepped ascent following a stream through woods that provided shelter from the sun.

Afon Faw and Dol Idris

At the fork in the path we turned left and headed towards Cwm Cau quickly arriving at the small lake surrounded by the huge cliff walls on three sides. In this sheltered hollow the water was flat smooth with a perfect reflection of the blue sky.  From there the path climbs to reach the ridge.

Llyn Cau


It is this ridge walk that makes this route so superb.  The other routes up miss this spectacular view with the summit (Penygadair) clearly visible as the goal providing motivation for the climb.  Even this same route in the opposite direction would miss the joy of this climb.

Craig CauCraig Cwm AmarchHerring GullCardigan Bay

And then the crowded summit, where we stopped for lunch and enjoyed the view over the sea and down to Barmouth with its distinctive railway bridge crossing the estuary.

Cadair Idris

From there the path descends over a rock strewn grass field before rising gently to Mynydd Moel.

The Ridge from Mynydd Moel Cliffs at Mynydd Moel

The descent was by a steep path covered in loose rock and stone, a difficult surface to walk on which made us slow, we felt sorry for those we passed climbing this path.  We stopped at the tea room for a drink.



From the car park at SH732115.

Cadair Idris Route



Aran Fawddwy

Saturday, 14 June 2014
2736ft/834m ascent
Trail 100 #39

We ate lunch in the new car park at the end of the valley and set off walking just after half past two. Aran Fawddwy (2969ft/905m) looks impressive, a sharp ridge rising to nearly 3000 feet. We had past it on Friday night driving to Barmouth, and it was clearly visible from the top of Maesglase (2218ft/676m).

There are two popular routes: down the ridge from the Southern end of Lake Bala; and our route via Drysgol. Both routes are long and, with our tired legs, the ascent was punishing, the first two miles a relentless climb up a good straight path rising from the valley of Hengwm to reach the ridge.


From this point onwards Aran Fawddwy is a joy. The path curves over a gentle grass covered ridge and the view opens up: first revealing the Aran ridge itself with the little lake (Creiglyn Dyfi) nestling below the crags of Aran Benllyn (2904ft/885m); and then, as you reach the stone scattered top, the whole panorama of the Snowdonian mountains.

Creiglyn DyfiAran Benllyn

Bathed in evening sunshine we had the top of this popular mountain to ourselves.

It was now late, and we had dinner booked, so we marched down an increasingly boggy path with rotting duck boards covering the worst.  The view to the south dominated by the spiky crown of Cadair Idris (2930ft/893m).

Cadair Idris

Together, today’s two walks were the longest, furthest and highest of the year so far: over 14 miles (23km), just short of 5000 feet (1500m) of climbing and over eight hours on our feet.  A steaming hot bath and dinner were waiting at our hotel.



From the car park at SH852188.

Aran Fawddwy Route


Saturday, 14 June 2014
2215ft/675m ascent
Trail 100 #38

The Trail 100 list of great mountains in the United Kingdom has impressed us until today.  All of the other hills have either been spectacular, or have possessed stunning views, or both!  Maesglase (2218ft/676m) failed to deliver.

It was a pleasant climb to the top, and the woods and waterfalls were nice – but there was nothing dramatic or spectacular about the route we chose.  The view from the top?  You could see the spiky crown of Cadair Idris (2930ft/893m) and the long dark ridge of Aran Fawddwy (2969ft/905m), but they were distant – there was nothing spectacular about this mountain.

So, after three hours walking in the sunshine we got in the car and drove a few miles to the foot of our next hill, hoping for something better.


Here’s Gillian explaining to a lost lamb that mummy sheep is ‘just over there’.



From the lay-by on the A470 at SH848155.

Maesglase Route