- The otters are back!
- The Old Rectory and The Retreat get a makeover!
- We forgot to post this on New Year’s Day!
- Third time unlucky!!!!!!!
- The Old Rectory on the lake is awarded a Gold Ward for the second year running!
- The Old Rectory on the lake makes the front page of The Times.
- The great pictorial otter hunt!
The drive to get here is fantastic and the approach truly beautiful - The Old Rectory waits for you on the other side of the lake. The owners are full of enthusiasm for their fabulous B&B and spoil guests rotten - comfy beds with smooth Egyptian cotton sheets, binoculars for bird spotting and luxurious baths. Fabulous photos of mountains and lake decorate the dining room, there are views from every window to the luminous lake, and you can climb Cadair Idris from the front door. Return, weak-limbed, to a delicious, home-cooked meal and a bit of cossetting... maybe a wallow in the hot tub under the stars. Read the full write up here »
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This page is devoted to our guests who have walked up Cadair Idris.
Next to join our role of honour for conquering Cadair are Ian and Sam and Mark and Dee from Dover. They got to the summit but experienced the whole gambit of south Snowdonia weathers during their seven hours away. But let them take up the story:-
“Dear John and Ricky, just a quick email to say thank you for your hospitality and excellent food at the weekend. It really was a fantastic stay and you both should be very proud of what you have achieved.Congratulations on the Gold Award. As you know after driving through the night from the south to Talyllyn we tackled Cadair Idris after one of Ricky’s delicious breakfasts. We took the route you suggested from your front door, left along the lake up the Minffordd Track and then along the ridge and down to the farm above The Old Rectory on the lake. Unfortunately due to the extremely high winds we were unable to get a group photo at the trig point on the top of Cadair as we couldn’t risk loosing the camera (! ) and we needed to make a very quick exit due to poor visibility ! (Attached photo of some of us by the rescue hut though!). Your suggestion to do the Precipice Walk above Dolgellau on the day we left you was a great one and really loosened us up after our challenges of Cadair and the 12 mile walk we did the following day along the old railway track by the Mawddach estuary to Barmouth. We attach a photo of all of us with Cadair in the background.”
Angela and Richard Claydon from Lutterworth did not get to the top of Cadair but we think they more than deserve to make it to this page as we know it’s just a matter of time before they get to the summit. Their latest attempt is even more news worthy as a few months ago Angela had problems with her heart – mercifully she is now fully recovered and it is with pleasure that we publish their account below.
“The Old Rectory is surrounded by stunning scenery and each time we have stayed we have explored new areas. This time – our fifth visit – we set out to walk some of Cadair Idris, following the Minffordd Path. John and Ricky mentioned that the start was a bit steep and, on encountering it, we were a little concerned that it could be a bit too challenging for Angela after her health scare in May! However, dogged determination and, after a few pauses to admire and photograph the falls (water!), we reached less taxing terrain and enjoyed the view down to the valley, where the half dozen caravans looked like little white dots! Walking was much easier now and we made good progress up to Llyn Cau our goal for the day. It was very windy here, with gusts picking up water from the middle of the lake and hurling spray high into the air not to mention blowing our camera off the rocks several times as we attempted self-portraits! The descent was uneventful, apart from a very humbling experience when a lady with only one leg passed us at speed on crutches! We had worked up quite an appetite and, after a long soak in the bath, we tucked into Rickys four course dinner delicious! We are now looking forward to returning to The Old Rectory on the lake and tackling Cadair Idris summit via the circular route from Ty Nant.”
Mirjam and Dominik from Luedinghausen in Germany are the latest intrepid walkers to join our internet wall of fame!!! They wrote:
“We found our way through the rain and the fog and are pleased to report that we got to the top. Although when we got to the summit we did not have a clear view it was so much fun walking up. It was a very beautiful path and on our way back we were rewarded with a stunning view as the mist suddenly cleared. We really think that everyone who stays at The Old Rectory on the lake should try and climb Cadair Idris.”
Stuart and Lucy Lippitt from Shropshire had a very exciting ascent of Cadair and as their account below relates they encountered all sorts of weathers!
“The Met office had said ‘very good visibility, cloudy /sunny day, 13mph winds’. We set off at 1000hrs along the lane to Minffordd and could see the sun bursting through the clouds onto the hill side, 500meters on and down came the rain. We arrived at Minffordd car park and were hammered by the hail stones. We found the start of the trail and was glad of the shelter of the trees. We took the anti clockwise route as suggested and began to climb, Lucy reminisced about her geography school trip and the moraines at Llyn Cau. First tea stop looking down on the lake taking shelter out of the wind. Onwards and upwards to Craig Lwyd with some excellent views, still following the Minfford path we kept seeing the summit disappear into the clouds hoping it would clear when we reached it. More excellent views, The Llyn Cau was a white out with a hail storm but we were protected by the rock and it missed us. We were being followed by another couple who did not seem to have the best clothing for the weather but they persisted, by now the summit was constantly in cloud and we were caught in a snow storm and high winds. The snow turned to hail and was hurting my head through my woolen hat, time for protection and on with the hood. Tea stop two on the final ascent amongst the large rocks it was like being in another world escaping the elements. The following couple did not continue and were only 200 meters or so from the summit, they must have been so wet and cold. The final push to the summit and it just appeared about 20 meters in front of us through the cloud, Those last 20 meters were the wettest and we were now getting wet. Into the mountain rescue hut before being soaked through and on with the waterproofs. Still in the clouds but we were chuffed to of reached the trig point. Now which way home? The Mynydd moel path was not evident and we had to go with gut feeling and head along the ridge. We reached the fence and stile but not being able to see to get our bearing we went on a bit too far and missed the route down. We were then below cloud level and could see the pass to Tal-y-llyn, so a bit of wild walking across the mountain and several streams later we picked up the path we had missed, glorious sun and excellent views again. A feeling of elation when we reached the car park and then the trek back along the lane to The Old Rectory on the lake and just as the start of the day it began to rain again, 7hrs walking in every weather condition you could imagine but a great sense of triumph. A fantastic day. Should others be walking the anti clock wise route I would inform them to turn right and follow the fence after climbing the stile.”
When he first visited The Old Rectory on the lake from his home in the Czech Republic in September 2010 David Zeman became the first person we featured in our Cadiar Conquerors page. This time he arrived for a third stay by himself and yesterday conquered Cadair Idris yet again. David set off from the car park at the top of the Tal-y-llyn pass and reached the summit via Mynydd Moel. The weather on this occasion was much more dramatic than on his previous ascent and as he went up David was treated to some spectacular panoramic views – sadly at the top he encountered mist and saw very little but was rewarded with some more amazing sights as he walked down. “I am really pleased that I went up on that day – as the weather the next one was appalling. This time I was so lucky,” said David, who ended his energetic day later by relaxing in the hot tub. We thank him for his new pictures to add to this page.
A delightful young couple, Zihao and Peibei from Singapore, are the latest to join our Conquerors hall of fame. They stumbled upon The Old Rectory on the lake thanks to TripAdvisor and stayed here for three days. Sadly the weather was not kind to them one bit but they were determined to walk up Cadair Idris and they got to the top in the most atrocious conditions. Indeed they got so wet the Peibeis Blackberry, buried safely in her rucksack, completely died due to the moisture and despite us putting it in the low oven of our Aga overnight it has had to be replaced! Luckily her camera survived and she got another intrepid walker to take their picture.
Cadair Idris is just a few feet short of 3,000 feet and the next day Zihao and Peibei were determined to get to the top of Snowdon Wales highest mountain. Again the weather was appalling so they got the train up to the summit from Llamberis and then walked down the Zig Zags and onto the Miners Track to Pen-y-Pass. From there these two adventurers got a taxi back down the pass to the car. We also post their picture taken on top of Snowdon complete with their country’s flag!
James and Becky from Challock in Kent are the latest to report on their walk up Cadair in not the best of weathers and the end of August. In their email to us afterwards they candidly admitted that were not experienced walkers or climbers and although they both owned walking boots they were not used that frequently. But let them tell their story:-
“We do not own walking poles. We do not have an OS map in a waterproof bag around our necks. We do not have a compass. We have never climbed a mountain before. On arrival at the car park, it was clear that we were in the minority. Walkers, ramblers, climbers everywhere, with poles, maps and walking boots that wore the marks of numerous treks. It was, therefore, with some trepidation that we attempted our climb of Cadair Idris, with a bag full of snacks and water bottles and a mobile phone. We were going up the Pony Path, judged by us and John, as the easiest way up for people of our ability. A six mile round trip – a mile in and we were feeling it. It was, however, the family, with a six-year-old merrily pacing up the slope ,that forced us on. We thought if a child could do it, so could we! The summit was shrouded in cloud, away to our left. We climbed on and on and on, eventually merging into the mist with the other walkers. Given the low visibility (we’re talking 5m in places) it was surprising how many people we passed. The summit was busy, when we eventually reached it, in gusting winds after scrambling up some slippery rocks. We did not stick around: no view, freezing temperatures and wet clothes from walking through the cloud. We retreated to a lower altitude, and sheltered in the lee of a dry stone wall below the cloud and wolfed down as much of our food as we could. We had a massive sense of achievement, even without the views. We look forward to returning to the The Old Rectory on the lake one day and maybe climbing another mountain.”
Although we have been up Cadair Idris many times we have yet to make this Conqueror’s page as it was initially conceived for our guests but last weekend Ricky Francis, chef and joint owner of The Old Rectory on the lake, took part in the 21st annual Cader Idris Fell race. It is a gruelling course of some eleven miles, starting in Dolgellau town centre and then up to the top – and then back! This year over two hundred runners took part and the winner crossed the finishing line in a magnificent time of 1hr 21.27minutes. Ricky, who is an enthusiastic member of the Meirionnydd Running club, completed the run in a very respectful 2hrs 05.24 minutes.
The main picture and the last two are by John – the others are by Peter Douglas of Bangor who can be seen most weekends – whatever the weathers – taking pictures for the runners. His sterling work can be seen at www.prdouglas.co.uk.
Linda and Dave Gawthorpe from the West Midlands have managed to get themselves in The Old Rectory on the lake record books by climbing Cadair Idris on two consecutive days. This is their very useful report plus just a few of their stunning pictures.
“Day one saw us take the popular Minffordd path and we were astonished, given the beautiful weather and the fact it was a bank holiday, how few people there were. The route is stunningly beautiful and our walk (from the Walking Britain website) suggested a detour round Llyn Cau – this not only gives a little respite from continuous climbing but gets you close to the lake with its crystal clear waters. There is no doubt it is a good climb up to the summit at Penygadair, but well worth it for the amazing scenery. The walk back gave us many more views of both Llyn Cau and Tal y Llyn.
Day two saw us approach Cadair Idris from the north, starting at Ty-nant. The route (also from Walking Britain) was the Pony Path and again, despite the lovely weather, we didn’t see anyone for the first hour. Whilst easier than the Minffordd path, the first hour and a half was a continuous steady climb to reach the summit at Penygadair. Until the final section of the climb, the route and views were very different and we could see out to the sea. A good ridge walk then followed. All in all, we had a wonderful weekend’s walking – the same summit twice, but completely different routes. Can’t wait to come back again next year!”
The award for the longest time spent on Cadair must go to Arnd Pickhardt and Daniel Foest – two charismatic guys from Bielefeled, North West Germany, who were on the mountain for eight and half hours! They wrote a detailed log of their day and we reproduce edited highlights from it. The photos they have sent us reflect the appalling weather they experienced.
“The day started with an amazing view from our window – the sunshine was trying to shine through the low lying mist but we were confident the weather would get better. Having walked along the lake we went up the steep Minffordd path through the forest and turned right over the wooden bridge – our plan was to attempt the horseshoe. As we got near the craggy ridge the mist came down and the winds became strong – in fact we lost the path a number of times and it took some time before we finally reached the top. Here the wind was incredible and we put on all the spare clothes we had with us. Although visibility was down to 15 metres we had a great feeling of achievement and especially as we were the only ones there! In fact during the whole day we met just one person. However it all started to go down hill – in more ways than one! – as we tried to continue with our walk. The wind was even stronger and the mist meant we simply could not see the correct way down. In the end after many false starts we came off the mountain on what we now know was the Pony Path. We walked down along the road into Dolgellau and got the Arriva bus back to the end of Talyllyn. But an amazing day and one we will remember.”
Guests, Julie and Chris and Angela and Trev from the West Midlands, are the latest to grace our Cadair Conquerors page – and what an adventure they had! We are grateful to them for this great account of their epic day.
“As we left the cover of the Rectory the patter of rain began! Not deterred we zipped our kagouls and set out at a jaunty pace. The walk to the carpark was great but then the ascent began! A piece of advice: the best training for this section of the walk is a few hundred trips up your stairs – tough on the thighs, but manageable. Having chosen to tackle the mountain anticlockwise, we met the odd climber coming down the next stretch of boulders. They looked a little windblown and more than a little wet, reporting low visibility and high winds on the top and advising us to keep going north. We were in our stride by now! So where did we go wrong you ask. Not really sure: was it the dodgy compass, was it the unreliable I phone signal or was it just that we couldn’t see five feet ahead of us? Fast forward an hour and there we were stumbling around in ever decreasing circles, last of the Kendal mint cake distributed, a definite air of worry beginning to set in. Just at our lowest point, it happened. Staring desperately around for signs of a path two figures emerged, sauntering towards us. “Yow awright, our kid,” rang across the mountain as the Brummies in the mist appeared. Never was there a more welcome sight! Turns out we were about twenty feet from the refuge on the summit and thirty from a nasty drop!! A brief, shivery lunch with a gang of professional looking walkers in the refuge exchanging tales of camaraderie and it was time to get back down the hill. Our waterproofs, tested to destruction, had proved why they were only £5.99 at ALDI, and we knew we had to get the next leg over with asap. But nothing could have prepared us though for what happened next. As we emerged from the refuge, we were greeted with spectacular, wall to wall views, bathed in Spring sun. A quick souvenir picture on the top taken by Adam, the fit bloke who had just sprinted, yes sprinted, to the summit and would do it again on Wednesday, and it was time to get back down while the sun shone. The descent down the steep bit by the farm was like a walk in the park after the morning’s exertion. Truly a walk of two halves, Gary!”
With a combined age of over 150 years Kath and Alan Price of Newcastle-under-Lyme, are the latest of our guests to tackle Cadair. We were amazed and well impressed that they chose one of the hardest and most exhausting ways up – leaving from our front door, walking along the lake and then up the Minffordd Path. They returned nearly eight hours later asking for large Welsh gin and tonics and the use of the hot tub! Although they did not get to the summit they were very near it when forced to turn back so we think they really deserve to be included on this page. “We had to return then otherwise we would have missed the start of Ricky’s delicious four course evening meal,” said Kath. This was the Price’s second visit to The Old Rectory on the lake and they then amazed us even more by seriously considering tackling the mountain the next day from the Dolgellau side. We suspect this very fit and active couple will return again and we look forward to seeing them pictured at the top. In the meantime we are more than happy to use their images taken during their epic walk.
Our guests have many a reason to walk up Cadair but what better way to celebrate two 50th birthdays than by getting to the top! Rupert and Jov Marchington from Cirencester walked up from the Dolgellau side parking in the car park at the start of the Pony Path.
“The weather was absolutely superb and me and my wife Joc managed to walk up in just over two hours. At the top I donned my birthday badge and opened a birthday card as we both just enjoyed the incredible view. I would have like to have reported that the way down was just as easy but those steep steps really played havoc with our knees! But overall a fantastic experience ending up with a well deserved soak in The Old Rectory on the lake hot tub which was magical.”
We too wish Rupert and Joc ‘Happy Birthday’ and are pleased that the amazing weather they enjoyed – as their pictures show below – added to such a pivotal day.
Last March 333 walkers went up Cadair Idris via the Mynydd Moel path – the one accessible at the top of the bwlch by the car park. We have only recently been up it and were blown away by the views – for no apparent reason it’s the least popular of the ways up but nevertheless 7132 enthusiastis tramped it last year. Encouraged by two other of our guests who walked up that way the previous day Ned and Sophie gave it a go.
“After lengthy discussions over breakfast on which way to go up Cadair, John laid down the challenge to follow a route he’d tried recently. Inspired by the views across the lake, the beautiful weather and keen to try a different trail we set off for the top! After an initial steep climb it was great to get up high and spend most of the remaining walk taking in the great views. John’s handy directions meant we didn’t get lost and made it to Penygadair for the obligatory photo, ironically at the same time as our fellow b&b’rs who’d approached on a different path! Taking a different route down,we made it back in time for tea and footage of the local resident otters! Thanks for a great weekend!” Ned and Sophie from Bristol.
It seems more and more of our discerning guests do their homework before they book to stay at The Old Rectory on the lake and look at candid reviews that others have written about us on Trip Advisor. Mercifully most say kind things as did Sally and Marcell who posted our 50th review! They wrote:-
“We have just returned from a 2 night stay at The Old Rectory and can’t stop telling people what an amazing time we had. My fiancé was over from Germany for the weekend, so for us we were looking for a perfect weekend, and that is exactly what we got – the room was lovely – the bathroom out of this world! After our hike up Cader Idris we could wallow in the hot tub for a couple of hours, drinking Champagne and eating chocolates whilst enjoying the splendid view over the lake. Dinner was a culinary treat.” Sally and Marcel from Manchester and Germany.
They went on to write some other kind comments which you can read elsewhere! However despite the appalling weather they managed to get to the top of Cadair Idris – hence their inclusion on this page – and its our pleasure to reproduce below their picture taken at the top. We wish them well with their forthcomming wedding in Greece where we suspect the weather will not be so cold or misty!
Next conquerors are Sacha and Tom, who reached the top despite the Siberian winter:
Let’s just say attempting to climb Cadair Idris during the snow in running travers is probably not the best idea ever but it was still enjoyable and the scenes were amazing. It took us approx one and a half hours to get to the lake and where we were greeted by a beautiful site of reflections in the water of the snow toled mountains. After a little break and a chat to some experienced walkers we decided it was best not to attemp to climb to the top as it was too foggy and impossible to see therefore making it extremely dangerous. So we decided to hed through the snow back down, which took us again about one and a half hours as it was so slippery and neither of us had the best of footwear. Although a little disheartened we still had a great day and an amazing climb and as a walker said to us ‘the mountain is not going to move, just come back and try again’. We are going to do just that so thanks for a great stay and see you next year!!!
Sacha and Tom.
As reported in our News Post guests, David West-Watson and his wife Anne from Rhosneigr, decided to walk up via The Pony Path a few days after an eight foot wooden chair had been left near the summit. It had taken fifteen people more than four hours to carry it up and it had been donated by craftsman, Nick Bullen, from the nearby Corris Craft Centre as a farewell gift before he returned to his native South Africa. However Nick was told later he had flouted planning laws and it was agreed that the oak chair will be placed at The CCW’s exhibition centre at Ystradlyn cottage which is at the foot of the mountain by the Minffordd carpark. “As I neared the top I met a couple from Swansea who very kindly agreed to take my picture sitting in it. Little did I know that very soon the chair would be off on its travels again!” said David. “So I am probably the first – and last – of your guests to sit so near the clouds! Thanks for a great stay at The Old Rectory on the lake – we will spread the word! In the meantime I send you some images taken on such a memorable day.”
This is a bit of a cheat! But John managed to get to the top of Cadair – and indeed higher! – within two minutes of leaving The Old Rectory on the lake! It was all thanks to enthusiastic pilot, Roy Murphy, who owns a Robinson helicopter and who has a kindly agreed to assist with our year long video project which aims to record the lake in its many moods and weathers. When Roy and John took to the skies the autumnal colours were amazing and when they reached the summit there was even a dusting of snow on the top. Below is an image from that memorable flight.
Ross and Kathryn came to visit us from Buckinghamshire. They wrote:
Thanks again for your hospitality, we have a lovely time and hope to come back at some point to spend a slightly longer time enjoying the area. We did manage to get to the top of Cadair Idris but as the weather wasn’t that great there isn’t too much to see in the picture taken at the top by the trig point! But here is the image anyway! I’ve included another picture taken of Kathryn on the small lane from the The Old Rectory on the lake to the main road – we’d just come out on the lane and as we walked that last little bit the sun just lit up the hills in the distance and provied my favourite photo of our trip. Hope you can use it!
Rachel and Phil Morgan from Swansea wrote this:
“Just thought we’d write and thank you for the wonderful couple of days we had at The Old Rectory on the lake, and to send you a few pictures of our walk up Cadair Idris as promised. Though I had walked up the mountain from the North side a number of years ago, it was Rachel’s first time up Cadair Idris and found the Old Rectory to be the perfect place for an assault from the southern end. We were fortunately blessed with some wonderful weather for October and were rewarded with some fantastic views from the summit across to Barmouth and further afield to big sister Snowdon. Though the wind was fairly strong at altitude, it was still warm enough to walk in shirt sleeves as our pictures show. The perfect part of the walk was being able to walk out and back to the Old Rectory in a nice circular route without having to drive to a starting point. We took John’s recommendation of walking along the northern shore of the lake to the Minffordd car park and then a nice “gentle” ascent up the obvious path. At the path junction we were tempted to take a left up to Llyn Cau but decided to proceed right up towards Mynydd Moel and across to the summit. The walk and views along the top were fantastic, and after a leisurely lunch stop we headed back around via Craig Cwm Amarch and down the southerly ridge towards Rhiwogof Farm. I can honestly say that my preference for tackling Cadair would certainly be from this end of the range and hope that others are rewarded with the views that we had. Thanks again for a great stay!”
Sandra Linford (pictured below) is a regular guest who knows the mountain well. She writes:- “Thank you for offering such wonderful hospitality. We love coming to see you and what goes with it. I have used Cadair as my training ground in preparation for an ascent on Mount Kilimanjaro which I am climbing soon in aid of the charity MAG… Mines Action Group… it supports the welfare of victims of exploded and unexploded potential land mines. Your wonderful bathrooms and nutritious food have sustained me through the training. I have decided to attempt this five day epic climb at the tender age of 60!” We wish Sandra well and – if like us – you want to sponsor her go to http://www.justgiving.com/SandraStella-Kilimanjaro
Honza Lexa gets the distinction of being the first in this gallery of those who have got to the summit. He walked up from the carpark at the top of the pass to Mynydd Moel and then to the summit. He came down the steep way via the farm above us and then through the woodland to join the bridle path at the bottom of the drive of The Old Rectory on the lake. Although Honza had a great walk sadly the mountain was shrouded in mist from about halfway up.
David Zeman came to Wales to stay with his cousin from The Czech Republic – he was enjoying a well earned break before he continued with his engineering studies. He said he really enjoyed his trip up the mountain but like Honza was a tad disappointed that when he got to the summit there was no view! We say this is a good excuse to come and visit us again!