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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 406409

Map Reference SH71SW

Grid Reference SH72681366

Unitary (Local) Authority Gwynedd

Old County Merioneth

Community Llanfihangel-y-pennant

Type of Site LANDSCAPE


Period General

Site Description The name 'Cadair Idris' is Welsh for 'the Chair of Idris'. According to Welsh folklore Idris was a giant, who was said to have used Llyn Cau (a lake near the summit) as an enormous armchair. Its highest point is Pen y Gadair at 893m.

RCAHMW, November 2010.

The mountain of Cader Idris is situated just south of the river Mawddwy near Dolgellau in Gwynedd and the highest point at 893 metres, is called Penygader. The name Cader Idris can be translated as ‘chair of Idris’ and a folktale recorded in the late sixteenth century has it that anyone who spent a night on the summit of the mountain would either wake up a poet or demented. Reverend Evan Evans, also known under his bardic names Ieuan Fardd or Ieuan Brydydd Hir, spent a night on the summit as an experiment in order to discover whether there was any truth to this legend. He did not go mad, but life’s happiness eluded him thereafter.

Ever since the Romantic period, tourists have flocked to the mountains of Snowdonia and as Cader Idris is accessible from both Dolgellau and Barmouth, it has long been a popular destination for day excursions. In the late 1880s, Friedrich Althaus from Germany described how tourists climbed the summit from nearby Barmouth with the help of a local guide and his donkeys. It remains highly popular with mountain walkers and offers paths of varying difficulty along its northern and southern flanks.

Record updated as part of the AHRC-funded project 'Journey to the Past: Wales in historic travel writing from France and Germany'.
R. Singer (Bangor University) and S. Fielding (RCAHMW), 2017.

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