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Walking Cadair Idris, Snowdonia

Cadair Idris mountain in Southern Snowdonia derives its name, meaning 'Chair of Idris', from the giant warrior poet of Welsh legend. The mountain looms menacing and primeval over the surrounding landscape. 

The mountain looms menacing and primeval over the surrounding landscape. Cadair Idris consists of a massive 11km long ridge and although only the 19th highest mountain in Wales, is the second most popular mountain in the country after Mount Snowdon.

The summit, Penygadair (Top of the Chair) at 2,927 feet (892m), offers a superb panorama of mountain scenery. The mountain is notorious for its low cloud but on a clear day it is possible to see the mountains of the Snowdon massif and the Rhinog mountain range as well as the Lleyn Peninsula and the hills of Shropshire, the Long Mynd, the Wrekin and occasionally Ireland.

To the north of the summit lies the very steep and craggy north face, where the cliffs drop around 200 metres. The other peaks of the ridge are Mynydd Moel (855m), Penygadair (893m) and Mynydd Pencoed (798m).

The mountain consists of a long ridge, its northern face is craggy and precipitous, in contrast to the south face which slopes more gently into the broad expanse of the Dyfi estuary. There are a number of paths which lead to the summit of Cadair Idris, the 3 main ones being:

Cader Idris from Dolgellau - the Pony path

This Snowdonia walk approaches Cadair Idris from the north and uses the former pony route. This walk is suitable for all ages and offers magnificent views. Moderate / hard - 9 miles.

Cader Idris from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant

Less arduous but longer way up Idris's Chair A less frequented approach to the summit of Cadair Idris that avoids some of the crowds. Moderate / hard - 10 miles.

Cader Idris from Minffordd - Idris Gates and Minffordd path

This Snowdonia walk approaches Cadair Idris from the south and includes a circuit of Cwm Cau. The start is Minffordd and the route continues through superb mountain scenery crossing the summit of Craig Cwm Amarch en-route to Cadair Idris. The return completes the circuit, again enjoying fine mountain views. Moderate / hard – 6 miles.

North of Cadair Idris lies the town of Dolgellau, a convenient base, which offers a wide range of accomodation, cafes, restaurants and shops.