Sunday, 15 April 2012

Cadair Idris

 

Saturday was a great opportunity to climb Cadair Idris (2927 feet) or 'the chair of Idris' it’s the second most popular mountain in Wales after Snowdon.   Lying at the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park it’s popularity for walkers and hikers is nothing new.

By the mid 19th-century, Robert Pugh, the 'Guide General', amongst others, used to lead people up the tracks of Cadair Idris on ponies. He had a refuge on the summit where shelter 'was to be had for those wishing to see the rising sun, or in case of a shower or likewise'.  Riding up Cadair was a very popular activity, and at one time between 40 and 50 Welsh ponies were kept at one hotel in the town alone for this purpose. Also in the 19th-century, a man used to travel from Dolgellau to the summit of Cadair Idris on a pack mule, to sell lemonade and sandwiches to tourists, and the route he took is now called the Pony Path. The two highest glacial lakes - Llyn Cadair to the north and Llyn Cau to the south - are favourite destinations.

There are two stories relating to the name of the mountain.  One from Welsh mythology refers to the giant Idris who was said to have used the mountain as an enormous armchair to gaze at the stars. Alternatively, it may refer to Idris ap Gwyddno (or Gweiddno), a 7th-century Meirionnydd prince who won a battle against the Irish on the mountain. The distinction is not entirely clear, since Idris ap Gwyddno was himself referred to as Idris Gawr ("Idris the Giant") in some mediaeval genealogies of Meirionydd. An alternative origin for the name of the mountain, which is more consistent with the story of Idris ap Gwyddno than that of the mythological giant, is Irish cathair, meaning "city" or "stronghold".

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Looking across at the Aran Mountains with a fresh dusting of snow

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Approaching the summit

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Looking down to Dolgellau

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The summit with it’s historic shelter

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Looking back at the north face of the summit of Cadair Idris

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Looking down to Barmouth on the coast

Great weekend in an amazing location, with great climbing and good friends.  Oh and the weather helped with stunning clarity, if a little on the chilly side.

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