This month we're looking at Wales and in particular Cadair Idris in Snowdonia
Cadair Idris or 'Idris's Chair’ as it’s translated too, is one of the three mountains which make up the Welsh Three Peaks. Shrouded in Welsh myth and legend this mountain lies at the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park near the town of Dolgellau. At 891m it may not be the highest mountain in Wales, but it’s a corker of a hike that certainly packs a punch. A great way to escape the busier peaks of northern Snowdonia and on a clear day the summit offers phenomenal 360 panoramic views across southern Snowdonia.
Where to park for Cadair IdrisParking is available at Dôl Idris Car Park, which is £6 for the day. You can park for free on the road just outside the car park but you run the risk of getting a ticket. What Three Words location: //household.feels.dairy
The Route The hike begins by cross the river, passing the café, and bearing right through a wooden gate and into the forest. The path will then begin to zig zag very steeply up through the forest alongside the river. Although this is the steepest section of the route, the path is well maintained and easy to follow. After 1km the path will emerge from the forest and you will come across a stone bridge over the river. Do not cross the bridge and instead follow the path up and around for a further 1,3km until you reach the shores of Llyn Cau. The beautiful Llyn Cau is situated in natural bowl-shaped depression and is enveloped on three sides by 400m high imposing cliffs. This crater-like shape which surrounds the lake has given rise to the mistaken claim that Cader Idris is an extinct volcano. However the lake is actually formed by massive a cirque glacier which used to sit in the chair shaped hollow. Hence the English translation of the mountain to ‘Idris’ Chair’.
You can swim in this lake, but it is extremely cold. This hike guide is a loop meaning you wont pass llyn Cau on the way back down, however if you did want to take a dip after you have reached the summit you can just descend the same way you ascendedFrom the shoreline, double back on yourself and begin to climb the ridgeline which will be to the south of the lake (if you are walking away from the lake it will be on your right) This path climbs 340m over one mile up and a round to the summit of Craig Cwm Amarch. From here you will have epic views directly down over llyn Cau.
The summit of Cadair Idris isn’t the most dramatic and is more of a wide rocky plateau than a sharp peak. Although the views back down over Llyn Cau are quite restricted you will still have fantastic 360 views over the national park. The wide plateau also means there is plenty of room to find a nice quiet spot to sit and take in the views. The summit is also home to a stone refuge which can come in handy if the weather conditions have taken a turn for the worse.