A group from Craggers went to Cadair Idris for some hillwalking in the wintery weather in the week just before Christmas 2004. Andrew, Diego and Spanna went up together and were joined later on by Mon and Nigel and Marco. We stayed in the Coventry Mountaineering Club’s hut in the village of Corris, which turned out to be a really nice house with hot showers, heating, beds, bedding and a garden with the river running past the back of the house. I think we would all highly recommend staying here again. It costs £5 a night each and sleeps eight officially, although it could take more …
From the house it’s an hour and a half walk or so along the road to the footpath at the bottom of Cadair, so having a car was useful for cutting out that walk. We had five days of walking in the area and we concentrated on practising the navigation techniques learned in the Trigpoint Navigation training day. So each day we made a plan of the route we planned to walk, dividing the route into legs and for each leg determining distance, bearing and time. Then when out on the hill, we took turns navigating each section of the route.
After one initial embarrassing screw-up we did very well with the navigation – our timings and bearings were mostly pretty spot-on and the couple of occasions when we did go astray we picked it up very quickly and got ourselves back on course. We learnt a lot by actually using navigation techniques out on the hills in poor conditions.
The weather was quite variable. The first day up the peaks was snow and strong winds, making it very cold and reducing visibility a lot with snow and ice under foot. We were up about 700m. The next day though was beautiful, with sun and blue sky – we walked right up to the peak of Cadair Idris (about 900m) and walked the horseshoe of the Cadair peaks. There was snow under foot but we were walking in T-shirts. From the top we could see Snowdon and out to sea. It’s a very beautiful area, and I would love to go back myself and would highly recommend it to others. On the downside it turned out to be kind of expensive to get to by train – so maybe driving next time?