Cadair Idris (Idris's Chair) stands at the very south of the Snowdonia National Park,it is the 2nd heighest outside of the main Snowdonia Mountain Range,and the 18th heighest in Wales but because it stands alone,it looks and feels alot bigger than that of the peaks further north.
Cadair Idris,like Snowdon,is a classic horseshoe with Llyn Cau in the centre of the mountain,and Llyn-y-Gadair to the north.
There are 4 main walking routes up the mountain,from the south,The Minfordd and Mynydd moel Paths and from the North the Pony and Foxes Paths,the Pony Path being the easiest way up,and from the South a walk up the Minfordd Path and down the Mynydd Moel path offers the Walker a more strenuous day,but well rewarded with the stunning views of Craig Cwm Amarch and the Llyn Cau,alow around 4-5 hrs for this circuit.
On the North side of Cadair there are some fine rock climbing,ranging from the popular Welsh classic,Cyfrwy Arete (vdiff) to Obsession (vs) and other routes in the higher E grades.There is also Shelter at the Summit if the weather outside is'nt so good.
Cadair Idris is situated in Mid Wales and can be Accessed from the North down the A470 to Dolgellau,where you will have to drive through the town and pick up a minor road to the car park at Ty-Nant on the North side of the mountain.
From the East coming into wales from England and the Midland's take the A458 from Welshpool to Mallwyd,turn right at the Roundabout for Dinas Mawddwy and head North to on the A470 to Cross Foxes,turn left onto A487 and the car park is around 4 miles down the valley near the Tal-y-llyn Lake.
and from the South just head up the A470 from Cardiff and the Brecon Beacons.
By Train,From Birmingham Intl,you can get a train straight through to Aberystwyth or Pwllheli,but make sure you get off at either Machynlleth or Barmouth where a bus service can get you nearer.
No permits are required.But Parking is now charged at both car parks, £4 for a full day, Minfordd (South side) and Ty-Nant (north Side),and Snowdonia National Park Wardens can be sometimes found in these Car parks and on the Mountain offering advice and direction before heading up into Cadair Idris area.
When To Climb
The Mountain is climbable all year round,and can get very busy in the Summer months and on National Bank holidays,but is still alot quieter than the North around Snowdon.
Cadair Idris is situated very close to the irish sea,and so the weather can change very quickly,what might turn out to be a blistering day in the valley could quickly turn into a misty cold and wet day higher up so always be vigilant and take a waterproof and a warm fleece.
In Winter,the mountain turns into a Mountaineers paradise,and chances are you wont see many other people either.Cyfrwy Arete can give a real Alpine Style climb in Winter condition.A detailed map of the area can be found in an O.S Explorer (1:25,000) OL23 and for the climber a copy of the Climbers Club Guide to Meiryionydd.
There are plenty of Camp Sites in and around the Dolgellau area and Camping is also allowed on the mountain,but be careful and mindful to farmers in the Spring as it is Lambing time.
But also be aware of Cadair's Curse,it is said that anyone who spends a night upon Cadair Idris will return the next morning a Poet or a Madman?
There is also a Bunk House at Ty-Nant on the North side which also serve's Refreshment's and Snacks in the summer Months.
There is also a YHA Bunkhouse to the South at Corris,which will set you back £10.60 per night,they can be contacted on (+44)1654761686
A good site for upto date Weather in the Mountains of Wales is www.metoffice.co.uk and look for Mountain Weather Wales followed by Snowdonia National Park Forecast,this gives a 3 day forecast,inc,Visibility,Cloud base in Meters,Wind and Temp and Freezing Level.
A very handy site to check out before heading into Snowdonia.