Route: Cadair Idris – Minffordd Path

Up until this weekend, if I really was forced to pick just one favorite walk it would have been Snowdon. Something about the ruggedness, the effort needed and how the mountain can (sometimes) reward you with astonishing views has always struck a chord with me. However I do have to admit I’ve become quite smitten with Cadair Idris.

Quite similar in terms of terrain and views there is little between the two. Snowdon is 1085m high, with Cadair coming in at a mere 893m. However the way you get to those heights is quite different.

We took the Minffordd path having seen it be recommended by multiple other walkersIMG_4333 out there. This has you starting off in a reasonable sized car park (Postcode LL36 9AJ) with a toilet block and the Tŷ Te Cadair Tea Room a short walk away. The lemon and ginger cake was excellent!

Now, there’s good and bad news about this walk. The bad thing being that the first few kilometers are pretty brutal in terms of incline BUT it does see you ascending the vast majority of the climb very early on. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed a little warm up to my walks. Most of the time I spend the first 20 to 30 minutes wondering why on earth I’m doing this, that I’m not fit enough and that I’ve either put too many or too few layers on. After this ‘bedding in’ time I’m a very happy walker, however to be met with a seemingly endless run of steps that puts Jacob’s Ladder (to be found in the Peak District) to shame was a little bit of a shock.


The start of the seemingly endless steps

The experience was lightened somewhat by the accompanying river and waterfalls keeping you company as you climb. Eventually the climb starts to level out, and as you emerge out of the woodland you’re immediately rewarded with some stunning rugged views as you make your way to the beautiful Lyn Cau lake.

For us the weather wasn’t horrid, but we had a lot of low cloud, just as we approached the lake we could feel the temperature drop and actually see the cloud coming down to envelop us. As we made our way up to the high ridges around the lake we had little to look at other then the continuing climb to the top. Conditions worsened but not to any extreme level.


The splashes of colour among the rocks really can be at their most stunning on a grey morning

Due to some sloppy map reading I also missed the fact the mountain pulls a ‘dick move’ by dropping you down a good 100m just as you think you’re about to hit the summit, leaving you to climb that 100m and another 100m on top before you can reach that trig point.

At the summit there’s a small but well looked after shelter hut where, if the conditions for you are the same as they were for us, you can get out of the weather and enjoy a little refreshment with a roof over your head. It’s good to share your pain with other soggy walkers too!

The descent started in the same clouded-out conditions until we hit halfway and the clouds rose as quickly as they dropped, the sun broke through and we were treated to a clear view of the trig point just as we started heading back in to the forest… another ‘dick move’ I reckon. Usually always try and walk circular routes, however we were doing this route as a trial for a challenge I have later in the year, so up and down the same way it was.

Throughout the walk we were kept company by various skylarks, crows and even a vocal group of stone chats. This isn’t a bird blog but it’s worth noting I do appreciate wildlife in general, especially birds.

Our walk ended back at the tea rooms for a pot of tea and a slab of cake. As I sat with my walking buddy and discussed the walk we both agreed that regardless of the ‘dick moves’ it pulled on us we were absolutely set on coming back to try some of the larger circular routes. The views we managed to have coming down were fantastic, and even with the limited views we had on the way up I was still captivated.

I think Snowdon may be taking a backseat for a little while as I give Cadair Idris another go or two!


My walking buddy Simon on the right, me on the left, as we stand next to the trig atop Cadair.

Route Name: Cadair Idris via the Minffordd Path

Start / Finish: Postcode for car park – LL36 9AJ

Distance: Approx  9km

Time: Allow 5 – 6 hours for the entire route.


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