Cadair Idris – 28th January 2001

A walk up Cadair Idris

The day got off to a bad, but typical (for me) start – It was late. I arrived at the Car Park at the base of the Minffordd path at 11:30am. My plan was a simple ascent of the Minffordd path, then retrace my steps back to the start. On the drive there, I noticed that some of the hills had quite a bit of snow on them. This was something I had forgotten to think about. This was also the first walk I was to do in a new pair of Scarpa Manta M4 boots.
The climb up the Minffordd path starts climbing up through the forest, with plenty of man-made steps, crossing over a stream.
Stone slab bridge across Nant Cadair
However, after only 750 metres I could feel that the heels on the new boots were starting to rub. This was despite having worn the boots around the house for several days in an effort to break them in. As you emerge from the forest, the path levels off, and you arrive at the point where you can continue on to Llyn Cau, or you can break left and climb upward further onto the ridge which curves round to Cadair Idris. By this time my heels were really starting to hurt, but I decided to continue upwards anyway. Ascending the steps to the first 690 metre peak we met one of the locals.
A friendly sheep, trying to stare out the dog
It was very slow going, every upward step causing me severe pain. At the 500 metre height, we encountered the first snow. It was not very deep, only an inch or two, but the dog loved it.
Looking South-East towards Mynydd Dol-ffanog Looking North West towards Penygadair
The snow would have made it difficult to spot the path had it been fresh snow, but luckily there were plenty of tracks in it for me to follow. Just before reaching the stile at 791 metres, I started walking into cloud, and visibility was down to around 50 metres. As I still had about 1500 metres horizontal distance and 170 metres of ascent to go, I decided that there was little point in continuing any further. It was about 2:00pm by this time (told you it was slow going), and as sunset was at 4:50pm, I would have had little leeway for getting back to the car. Besides, I hadn't had my lunch yet, and I didn't want to eat it sat in cloud. I made my way back down the Minffordd path at a much better rate, as it didn't hurt so much going downhill.
Looking back to Penygadair, the summit obscured by cloud. The top of Craig Cwm Amarch is on the left About 5 minutes later, with thicker cloud. The dog likes to stand next to huge, sheer drops. Llyn Cau is about 200 metres below
We made our way to the shore of Llyn Cau, and I ate my lunch while the dog looked wistfully at it. The descent back to the car was not too bad, I managed about the same speed I normally manage uphill! The cloud didn't lift from the 700 metre point though, so I didn't feel too bad at not having reached the summit.
On the way down, we paused at the falls in the forest for a photo.
The falls
I had also noticed that my heels had felt sort of squelchy. Back at the car, I unlaced my boots, ready for the sight, and was greeted with blood soaked socks, and also the lining of the boots was pretty filthy. I drove home in my socks, knowing that when I got into the bath the blisters would hurt like hell.
Ouch! They were worse than they look in the photo

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