Anyone following UK mountain walking blogs at the moment will notice a common theme – at its most basic, the UK is being hammered by one of the longest periods of wet, windy weather that anyone can remember for a long time. So, like many of my fellow bloggers, I have been trawling through the archives for stories and pics that remind us why we spend out time walking up hills only to walk down them again.
A comment on one of my blogs a few weeks ago asked why I hadn’t included Cadair Idris in my posts – I checked, and found that I had written about the southern approach to Cadair Idris from Minffordd in post #65, but for some reason I had missed out the route from the north by the Fox’s Path and the Pony Track. Time to rectify that.
The Fox’s path from Llyn Gwernan is a delight, gaining height gradually without any fuss. That all changes at the mountain lake of Llyn y Gadair – rock walls suddenly rear up to the summit, with a nasty loose-looking scree slope on the left as the only line of weakness. A close up view of the scree slope reveals a sneaky little path going the ridge line on the far left – from there narrow path traverses back above the scree. Easy really!
The images come from an outing in August 2010 – Chris and I had set off with our young Border Collie ‘Meg’, and met Roo, her partner Mick and lovely kids Rory and Tessa near to Llyn y Gadair. Rory and his dad had their eyes on reaching the summit, but Roo was concerned it might be a bit much for Tessa – as it was, both kids romped up the mountain and had a great day.
The summit of Cadair Idris has the usual Trig column, making an obligatory photo opportunity, but there is also a small summit shelter. This is usually spotless inside, with a barrier keeping the sheep out, and it would make a great overnight bothy except for one thing – legend has it that anyone who sleeps on the summit of Cadair Idris will wake up a poet or mad!
We didn’t take a chance on madness or poetry, and set off to return to the valley by the Pony Track. It was the first big mountain day for our young Border Collie ‘Meg’, but sadly one of her last – a couple of months later she began having epileptic fits which did not respond to treatment. By the end of October she was no longer with us, and a month later we had another Border Collie (‘Mist’) tugging at our heart strings.
Cadair Idris is a great day out by both the popular ascents, but I’ve still got more exploring to do there, in an area I still don’t know all that well. In the meantime we have a weather forecast this week for more rain and Atlantic gales – Cadair Idris might have to wait a bit longer!
Text and images © Paul Shorrock