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Discover the Enchanting Walks of Cader Idris: A Mountain of Myths and Legends
Dominating the skyline above the southern Snowdonia town of Dolgellau and less than an hours drive from Strawberry Skys Yurts (you can see it from our top gate) sits the majestic Cader Idris, a mountain that has captured the imagination of adventurers and storytellers for centuries. Of all the peaks in Snowdonia, Cader Idris is undoubtedly the most steeped in mythology. Countless legends are connected to this mystical summit and its surrounding lakes.
Cader Idris’ name, translated as Idris’ Chair, is often said to have been derived after a giant called Idris. Keep an eye out for the Cawr’s Chair—a large rock formation that is said to be the seat of the legendary giant, Idris. The giant is believed to have used the mountain as his throne and, according to folklore, anyone who spends the night on Cader Idris will awaken either as a poet or as a madman!
For those wanting to combine their glamping holiday in Wales with stunning mountain views and a highly rewarding outdoor experience Cader Idris offers an equally exciting, closer and definitely less crowded option than Mt Snowdon. With its rugged peaks, serene lakes, and sweeping vistas, this enchanting mountain offers a range of walks for nature enthusiasts of all abilities. Read on to learn about the various routes up Cader Idris, and delve into the captivating myths and legends that have become woven into its rich tapestry.
Welsh mythology also suggests that Cader Idris was the hunting ground to Gwyn ap Nudd and his Cŵn Annwn. The howling of this pack of hounds foretold death to all that heard it—herding their soul into the underworld.
The Minffordd Path:
For those seeking a challenge, the Minffordd Path presents an unforgettable adventure up Cader Idris. Beginning at the Don Idris car park (LL36 9AJ) a short drive form the charming village of Dolgellau, this route takes you through lush woodlands, gradually ascending to reveal breathtaking views. As you make your way up, you’ll encounter the famous Llyn Cau, a mystical lake nestled in a dramatic corrie. Legend has it that Llyn Cau is bottomless and inhabited by a fearsome giant named Afanc. Keep your eyes peeled for the giant’s ripples on the water’s surface, adding an air of mystery to your hike. The final ascent to the summit rewards you with a panorama that stretches across the vast expanse of Snowdonia National Park—a truly awe-inspiring sight.
The Pony Path:
If you prefer a more leisurely stroll, the Pony Path working its way up the opposite side of the mountain is the perfect choice. Starting from Ty-nant car park, this trail winds its way through heather-clad slopes and ancient woodland. Along the way, you’ll encounter remnants of an old pony track, which once served as a transportation route for mining activities in the area. As you ascend, the landscape opens up to reveal breathtaking vistas of the Mawddach Estuary.
Keep an eye out for the Serpent’s Tail—a jagged ridge that provides an exhilarating experience for the more experienced climbers. Legends speak of a fearsome dragon that once terrorized the region, and it is said that the Serpent’s Tail is the trail it left behind. But fear not, for today, it’s just a thrilling scramble that adds a touch of excitement to your mountain adventure.
The Fox’s Path: (experienced hikers only)
For the intrepid hikers seeking an adrenaline rush, the Fox’s Path is probably the shortest walking route up Cader Idris. However, it is a risky route as it heads straight up (or down) among the screes and loose stones on the NW side of the peak.
It should only be considered and used in ideal conditions, by expert hikers.
Some prefer to take this path up and come down the less strenuous Pony Path.
Cader Idris, offers a magical experience for nature enthusiasts and avid hikers alike. The summit is at 893m and each of the main paths described is roughly 4-5km in length. A gentle stroll should take about 2.5/3 hrs each way. Whether you choose the challenging Minffordd Path, the gentle Pony Path each route rewards you with stunning vistas, captivating tales, and a deeper connection to the mystical allure of this legendary mountain. So lace up your boots, pack your sense of adventure, and remember, a relaxing yurt and warm campfire awaits your return.