Cadair Idris

Cadair Idris a Perfect Welsh Mountain

Cadair Idris dominates the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. A mountain of five peaks that the correspondent first climbed 45 years ago and a regular part of our annual summer holidays to this area.

Staying in a remote cottage that looked directly across to Cadair Idris has imprinted the image on my mind. Having travelled millions of miles to most parts of the world, like a homing pigeon, I still have this area as one of the best places in the world. The colours, the peace, the forests, the streams and the light are all elements that stay are embossed in mind’s eye.

The views from the top are great; it is possible to see Ireland one way and England the other way. Climbing via the Minffordd Path will take about five hours and covers a distance of 10 kilometres with an ascent of 870 metres. The route takes in a full circuit of the rim of Cwn Cau. Other routes are also possible.

Cadair Idris Mountain

flickr image by tooplanx

The closest towns are Dolgellau and Machynlleth. Both very Welsh market towns that offer a range of accommodation and restaurants.

The Talyllyn Railway runs inland from the seaside resort of Tywyn, up the Talyllyn and Dysynni valleys, where the oldest written Welsh, dating back to AD650, can be seen on St Cadfan’s Stone. This was the railway that was the inspiration for Thomas the Tank Engine and the 12 kilometre track passes some very pleasing scenery and is a good example of a broadleaf forest.

Driving from Cadair Idris towards Machynlleth, you pass the Centre for Alternative Technology at Corris. Started in 1974 when the environmental movement was driven by the oil crisis. Once a slate quarry, it is now transformed into a sustainable community with vegetables growing on slate and uses energy from water and wind. Entry is on a water balanced railway system. If it rains—and it does in this part of the world—it is still a good rainy day’s visit. Clouds and rain are not fun on the top of Cadair Idris!

Cadair Idris Mountain

filickr image by Neil Barnwell

A favourite family escape was the open beaches of Barmouth, at the end of the Mawddach Estuary to the north of Cadair Idris. For walks, the Coed y Brenin forest, just outside Dolgellau, offers many opportunities.

This area of Wales is reached by train to Machynlleth or by National Express. Driving is perhaps the easier option with travel via Shrewsbury on the A458 or the A456 from Birmingham.


Date posted: 22nd May, 2012

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