Monday, March 29, 2004

Cader Idris, Wales

We spent a glorious three nights in Central Wales last week and the highlight (literally) was a day spent on Cader Idris, one of Wales' best mountains for serious hiking. We hiked the Minffordd Loop Trail in a clockwise direction. The photo below is looking east from near the first summit (791m) on the way to the main summit, Pen y Gadair (893m). The lake in the foreground is Lyn Cau, a glacial cirque lake contained within the Cader (chair) of the mythical warrior Idris (can you imagine a giant warrior sitting in a freezing cold lake!)

The hike starts in the valley to the right and the path climbs steeply through trees to the relatively flat area east of the lake. The trail then climbs steeply up the ridge to the right and round to the first peak. The hike continues to the left to the top of the world then continues to the second highest point, Mynydd Moel, which is just visible at top left. The hardest part was walking down the slope back to the tree line - the "trail" is in poor condition and very hard on the knees!

The highest areas were snow covered and very cold, with a 30 mph north wind blowing. Parts of the trail are well defined, other areas are marked with large stone cairns and other areas are quite difficult to trace. Not a mountain to be trifled with if the weather closes in.

We have decided to return in late summer and go for a swim in the lake after revisiting the summit!