Climbing Cadair Idris Part 2 - Craig Cau to the summit!

Monday, May 16, 2011 Adam Tilt 7 Comments

When I left you in the last post we were standing atop Craig Cau, contemplating the final push to the summit of Penygadair. I'll admit that my legs were pretty tired by this point so a quick snack was in order. Unfortunately the wind kept taking the crisps I was trying to eat right out of my mouth so the proportion of the bag that I actually consumed was rather limited. And yes we were eating normal food, not those namby pamby high energy bars that I saw a couple of posers munching on.

With batteries recharged it was time to push on. Unfortunately Craig Cau is a peak, which means that from the top there is only one way you can walk - down.

24320 - Cadair Idris

The steep descent and even steeper climb up to Penygadair certainly used a few muscles that I hadn't exercised in a while. The occasional Wheatear served as an ideal excuse to stop and take a breather, as did a very surprising Red Kite that was absolutely pelting along with a strong tailwind. Despite these avian distractions we eventually crested the summit just after lunchtime, the perfect time to arrive anywhere really. As usual people were insisting on sitting right next to the trig point that marks the summit but I eventually managed to snatch a photo clear of people.

24322 - Cadair Idris

Far more impressive, and surely one of the main reasons anyone climbs mountains, were the views that stretched out around us as far as the eye could see. The photos below are taken looking roughly North West towards Barmouth.

24331 - Cadair Idris

24332 - Cadair Idris

We spent a good while soaking up the atmosphere before it was time to move on and head back down. Our return route took us back along the opposite side of the valley from the one which we had climbed, along what was in the main a nicely sloping grass path. I really wouldn't recommend coming up this way however as the descent when the path really started to head downwards was brutal. In places it was nothing more than a glorified scree slope turning our walk into an only slightly under control slide.

24323 - Cadair Idris

If you do get the chance to climb Cadair Idris I would highly recommend it. It's just the right level of challenge for a fit person and the scenery is beyond spectacular. Next on the list must be Snowdon then I suppose!


  1. gorgeous views. i'd have sat up there too long, i'm afraid, and my legs would have been all cramped up and unwilling to take me back down. :)

  2. LOL at the "normal food" sentence :-) To be fair, crisps aren't any good as walking food (but I still take them with me because I like them) whilst cereal bars provide better energy. If you want a really good walking food - banana and honey in pitta breads! Oh, and avoid chocolate and too much sugary stuff. If you're interested, check out Mountaincraft and Leadership by Eric Muir - the BIBLE of walking/mountaineering which has a great section on nutrition for walking.

  3. Forgot to say that I've walked Cadair Idris a couple of times and it's a great walk - loved the photos. My first time was really tough - snow on ground and horizontal hail that hurt my nose as it poked out beyond my hood :-) The second time was from the other side in sunny weather and was far more pleasant.

  4. Thanks for the comments Dan. My comment about the energy bars was a bit tongue in cheek as we did have cereal bars with us as well. Banana and honey in pitta bread sounds fantastic and I'll definitely check out that book.

    teswisgirl - I know what you mean.

    Amila - it really is.

  5. If only I was fitter. lol

    Something I'd love to do Adam. It must be so rewarding reaching the summit.
    Excellent posts.

  6. A fantastic walk...Great images of a beautiful part of of the world...
    As a youngster in the late 1960's we spent most weekends on my Dads boat in I grew older my passion became the tops of all the mountains I could see around me.
    Great images and lovely memories revived.


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