Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Cadair Idris Summited

13th August 2006

Yesterday, I journeyed to Dolgellau to try to walk to the top of Cadair Idris, an objective that I finally achieved after quite a few attempts. My first trip to these parts was on a showery day in March of last year, but that was without the intention of climbing the mountain (I think). Nevertheless, I did get to within sight of the mountain and it still held on to its crop of winter snow. Just take a look below.

Further visits to the area followed; the next one was on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. Unfortunately, no one had told me about the annual Cadair Idris hill race and I came into a Dolgellau with all of its accommodation taken up. That meant a relocation of base to Machynlleth and a complete change to whatever plans that I had. While I did do some walking around Dolgellau, my main walking was done in the hills immediately east of the seaside resort of Barmouth (Abermawe in Welsh) not far from the Rhinogs (see below) and with views of the Cadair.

When I returned to Dolgellau in July, I did find a place to stay, albeit run by an eccentric lady with a gold filling in one of her teeth, and the scene was set for an ascent of the Cadair. Being July, the day was hot and sunny; I sweated loads on the Fox’s Path but I only got to Llyn y Gadair before a change in plan became necessary. I knew Fox’s Path was steep on the final ascent and that it wasn’t a descent route but I had no idea that it scaled a scree slope: that put paid to that scheme. I followed another path that took me along the lower slopes to join another one taking me down to the road again. On my return to Dolgellau, I encountered the start of the Pony Path and so another plan was hatched, one for the future. The next day, I remained on low level by following the Mawddach Trail, formerly part of the railway line from Ruabon to Morfa Mawddach where it joined the Cambrian Coast line, to Barmouth before returning home.

In January of this year, I carried out reconnaissance on the Pony Path in sunny conditions with the ground frozen underfoot (the slopes are north-facing) and a scattering of snow in places. Due to the length of the day and the presence of snow underfoot, the final ascent was postponed, but the stage was set for yesterday. Yesterday’s successful effort involved an early start to arrive in Dolgellau at 11:00 (more on the transport logistics is in another post). By 14:40, I was on the summit of Cadair Idris being buffeted by a strong wind. By 17:10, I was back in Dolgellau awaiting the 17:20 service to Wrexham. The day was mostly cloudy with the odd spout of sunshine, but that didn’t matter, and the cooler temperatures were more amenable to walking anyway.

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