Cadair Idris and the surrounding mountains of Southern Snowdonia see fewer visitors and receive less attention - but for some this is exactly why they are so alluring. If you want to escape the crowds on Snowdon or to explore a slightly wilder side of Snowdonia then Cadair Idris should be on your shortlist.
Like so many of the Welsh mountains, Cadair Idris is steeped in the mythology and legends of Wales. A direct translation of Cadair Idris could be "Idris' Chair", with Idris being a mythological giant skilled in poetry, astronomy or philosophy. The slopes of Cadair Idris are also said to be the hunting grounds of the Cwn Annwn and Gwyn ap Nudd, the king of the Welsh underworld - whose hounds would foretell the death of anyone who would hear them. Locals will also tell you that if you sleep out on the mountain itself you will end up as a madman or poet.
The summit of Cadair Idris (properly called Pen y Cadair) is only 893m above sea level - but the feet of the mountain are in the sea itself, in the Mawddach estuary. A small stone summit shelter can be found just below the pile of stones marking the summit.
There are three popular walker routes to the summit of Cadair Idris:
This route begins amongst ancient woodlands but soon climbs steeply out onto grassy slopes and then rocks and scree. It skirts behind the neighbouring summit of Cyfrwy before reaching the rocky summit.
The most popular of the Cadair Idris routes, it climbs steeply through waterfalls and trees before entering a hidden high valley by Llyn Cau. Another steep path reaches the horseshoe of Craig Lwyd, Craig Cwm Amarch and Craig Cau then onto the summit itself.
Starting off near the beginning of the Pony Path this quieter route crosses boggy ground under Llyn Gafr and Llyn Gadair then hooks up onto the very steep and loose ridge that tops out directly below the summit of Pen y Gadair.
If you have your heart set on one of the above routes, or just want to climb Cadair Idris along a route that matches your experience level then we can help.