Cadair Idris has always loomed large in the consciousness. I am an Englishman who married a Welshwoman from Tywyn. I can't count the number of times I have driven along the A487 under the shadow of the Chair of Idris at the end of a long journey from Durham. Many times as we are driving past Sarah has reminded me that I should climb it one day. She climbed it years ago. Nain and Taid have climbed it many times. Sarah and I had our wedding reception at the hotel on Tal-y-llyn at the foot of Cadair Idris. Two of my friends nipped up and climbed it between the wedding and the reception. That was years ago. Still I had not climbed it.
My parents climbed it last year. Nain often asks me if I have still not climbed Cadair Idris. Sometimes she implies that back in the day she used to climb over Cadair Idris on the way to school every morning. Every time I'm in Tywyn I pass pictures of Llyn Cau and Cadair Idris on the landing and stairs. We have a picture of a laughing Taid at home in Durham, a photo taken, I believe, on Cadair Idris. 20 years on after first visiting Tywyn it was about time I climbed it. A stocking filler of Cadair Idris & Llyn Tegid Ordnance Survey map from Sarah last Christmas made it official that this would be the year.
Lockdown over. By Summer we were able to visit Wales again. Nain needed some gardening doing. So Luca and I made the trip with the hedge trimmers and a plan to take on Cadair Idris before we left. We wanted to work some scrambling into the route and I got some great ideas from the walk reports on this forum for a direct route up from Llyn Cau. Monday morning and Nain was pleased with the job we'd done in the garden so off we set for Minffordd.
We started on the Minffordd path about 1030. It's a very nice walk through the woods then a surprisingly long way to Llyn Cau. This was the UK summer heatwave and the temperature was getting up. At Llyn Cau we left the Minffordd pass and crossed the outflow on an anticlockwise route around the water to the foot of the big slabs that angle down from Cadair Idris. Llyn Cau was beautiful in this weather and we sat on a rock with our feet in the water whilst we had second breakfast. There were a few people having a swim including a Polish couple we'd passed on the way up.
Now for the scrambling. Straight up the slabs. We knew there would be no 'route' as such, it is all improvised. I'd heard it's mostly Grade 1, Grade 2 in places if you choose to take it on. That seemed about right. Conditions were very good so we went for it. Nothing too tricky, the only scare was when we were buzzed by a pair of RAF jets flying low nearby.
Towards the top of the scramble it became a big of a calf-buster, the heat not helping. But before long we were on the green alpages leading up towards the summit. Luca was pulling away from me by now. We would rely on his fitness later on (there is often some parking related balls-up I make on our trips out).
Up on the summit we were rewarded with fantastic views. I am sure you can see all of Wales from here. Breacon Beacons are clearly visible to the south. English borders to the east. Snowdon prominent to the north. I was most interested by the view of Cardigan Bay - all of Cardigan Bay. Many times I've sat on Tywyn beach and enjoyed the view of the Llyn Peninsula you can see in the distant north and all the way down way past Aberystwyth to the south. I can't be sure but I think you can see all the way down to Pembrokeshire from Cadair Idris summit.
We lingered a while at the summit then wandered around the upper section of the Minffordd Path. We must have been enjoying ourselves because I checked the time and it was 1330. Later than I'd thought and I'd only put 4 hours on the parking ticket (I always seem to underestimate how long these routes will take). Could we get back down in 45 mins? I can't, but Luca can.
We took the scrambling route marked on the Ordnance Survey map down to the west shore of Llyn Cau. It's a fairly uninteresting scramble. Not particularly challenging, but not as enjoyable as the route we took on the way up. Back down at the lake I dispatched Luca with the car keys and a few quid for another ticket. He ran without break and made it with time to spare. Impressive, he is a footballer and I'm not. I took a few snaps of the way we'd come.
Great mountain. Great conditions. Good scramble. Should have done it years ago
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