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Winter wander to the lake of Legends

Cadair Idris, the Chair of a 7th century Prince who it is told fought the Irish is steeped in local legend and mythology. References go back as far as the 1600’s but the tales of the slopes and the waters goes way, way back.

Bottomless lakes, monsters, King Arthur and of course dragons. Cadair Idris has seen ‘em all and to walk its path is a journey into history, mythology and potential madness.

King Arthur fought a dragon here. On the map the battle actually took place in and around Llyn y Gadair which is the second of the larger lakes (three in total). Defeating the dragon (obviously being King Arthur just beating a dragon) wasn’t enough so he then dragged the dragon up and over the summit of Cadair Idris, Pen y Gadair and deposited the beast into the deep waters of Llyn Cau. The subject of todays blog!

A short 5-10 minute drive from the cottages puts me in the carpark of Cadair Idris and the start of my adventure to Llyn Cau. The first notable feature is the riverstone bridge

across the stream which I always consider the start of the adventure. The air is cold and crisp, but I am wrapped well, but conscious of the fact I will soon be warming up!

Shortly I arrive at the gate to the Minfford Path. This is a very well laid out section of the path, and although easy in terms of the surface, is quite a challenge as some of the steps are quite high taking a bit more effort to climb. To keep your mind off your quickening breath, to the right there is a waterfall to accompany you most of the way up

the steps. Great opportunity to pretend to “take it all in”

That’s the hard bit out of the way, the rest of the journey is well-walked and maintained so reaching the lake now shouldn’t be a problem at all. On the way you are likely to meet others doing the same as you some going up, some coming down, but all happy and chatty that’s for sure.

Dogs are great companions for this, and will enjoy the exercise and the new smells along the way, and if they are of that persuasion, a nice dip in the lake on arrival!

The ground is covered in fresh snow, only a few tracks are visible ahead of mine, telling me today is a quiet day on the mountain. The snow brings a different feel to things, pure, clean and fresh and an ease of mind which is hard to beat. Theres no rush either, Im taking time to stop, look around, breathe and relax. Its so peaceful, quiet and breathtakingly (the view not the incline!) beautiful.

After 30 or so minutes, I know I am nearing the lake. I can see the bowl shape ahead of me as I continue to climb towards. A few walkers are ahead of me but have taken the left route up onto their own continuing adventures to the top. Today is not the day for me for that; today is about the lake.

As I arrive there is a lady finishing up getting dressed!!. She tells me she's been for a swim! The whole area is blanketed in snow, and she is having a dip! I am very impressed, she tells me that she was here last week, and it was actually warmer today, as the wind was so low. Nevertheless, kudos to her, I wouldn’t dip my toe in there at the minute!

We say our goodbyes, and I am alone. Just me and the lake. I break out my stove and make myself a coffee

and sit and enjoy the peace tranquillity and the thoughts of lake monsters and bottomless depths. These fade and I am just left with a vacancy of mind. Just nothingness and it's lovely.

I am acutely aware of not falling asleep. Legend has it that to do so on Cadair Idris you will awaken either a poet or a madman. And as I do a little poetry, I thought it better to keep my eyes open!

It is getting chilly now, so I head back down. One last look and a promise to myself to come back soon. It is a place that has a certain magic that keeps you wanting to return. Heading down, I am stopped in my tracks by a robin, that seems to be extremely relaxed in my presence. I have a little food so of course exchange this for his company for a few minutes. I then say “cheerio” he chirps a reply probably “before you go, leave the rest of those biscuits…” and I make my way along the path and back to the car.

No dragons, lake monsters or madness today, but I will be back up there regularly so you never know!!

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