Got your heart set on walking up Snowdon? Walking Snowdon with 100 other tourists is probably not the experience you had in mind. There are lots of other fantastic and quiet walks in Snowdonia Wales, Katy Jones gives her account of Cadair Idris, a stone’s throw from Snowdonia Hideaway self catering cottages and glamping.
A beautiful bright Spring morning and I have time to spare; which mountain to climb in Southern Snowdonia National Park? I sit down with my Snowdonia National Parks OS walks map which now has quite a few highlighter marks on it. Do I want something leisurely with great views, The Panorama walk perhaps which takes in scenery of steep mountain pastures, glacially formed lakes and has some nerve -wracking drops. Or perhaps a fresh flat sea walk from Tywyn to Aberdyfi, usually taking 2-3 hours with a nice stop at the Deli for a coffee and handmade cake or Welsh Rarebit (posh cheese on toast) and catching the bus back to Tywyn. Then there’s the spectacular Dolgoch waterfalls walk, or Aberganolwyn quarry walk, quite easy rambles with some medium gradients and good tree cover. No, I will save those for a rainy day or time with the family.
Today I have 5 hours to myself and the good company of a friend in good health- it has to be Cadair Idris, a fantastic mountain ascent with wildlife galore and a good peak from which to survey the land below. We start our adventure with a picnic, map and spare rain coats in our bags and begin from Minfordd car park. A small charge payable by card to leave the car here, and handy toilets to use, plus an electric car charging point. We take the beautiful winding path through oak lined terraces and pass by a gentlly flowing river, which as we near the top, we realise is fed by a waterfall. Taking the steps to the left of the tumbling water, we ascend steep steps up the valley and think about the glamping with hot tubs will be returning to after. As we reach the brow of the hill, we stop to admire the landscape, a deep glacial valley- one of the best walks in Snowdonia and certainly better than walking the over-trodden Snowdon mountain pass with 100 other tourists. I survey the Snowdonia National Parks walks map I have and ascertain the correct direction- onwards to Llyn Cae! The walking becomes flatter with a gradual ascent and we reach the most pristine blue lake sitting below a semi circular mountain range.
We’ve seen only two other walking parties all morning and it is a luxuriously quiet walk in Snowdonia. We sit and take in the still water of the lake, the two seagulls flying high on the air currents, and in the distance, a small speck of a human on the of summit above. From here reaching the summit of Cadair Idris should take no longer than two hours and if we push ahead, maybe one. We take a drink and have a chat for 20 minutes. The weather looks OK, a little mist on the top, so well prepared with rain coats and compass we continue. Where does the name “Cadair Idris” come from you may be asking? The mountain is said to be named after the giant “Idris” who made his home here and protected the tiny mountain flora (purple saxifrage) from other mountain giants by throwing rocks at them. Idris sat down at the top of the mountain and this is why the summit is reasonably flat in appearance.