Travel

6 Jess and her dog Toby hike Cadair Idris in Wales

More than halfway through her quest to tackle 10 UK mountains in 10 months to raise awareness for the prevention of young suicide, the amazing duo of twenty-something dog-lover Jess and her Border terrier, Toby, had this peak at the southern end of Snowdonia in their sights. Jess reports

For part six of #10Mountains10months we tackled Cadair Idris in Wales. The weather was kind to us – it was a really clear day so the views were amazing. When preparing for this hike, I had read that even on good days some clouds can linger at the top, so we were very fortunate. If you are planning on doing this walk, I suggest that you pack for all weathers and make sure you check the weather report for the day you are planning to visit.

The mountain goat on his sixth climb this year

Chasing waterfalls

On the day of our hike, it was warm but breezy in some sections. A few small streams along the way and a few mini waterfalls, which Toby really enjoyed paddling in, were very handy for helping to keep him cool and refreshed throughout the walk.

We did some research on the different routes as there are four main routes up Cadair Idris. We opted for the Pony Path, which is the longest and includes a 727m-climb (2,384 feet), and parked in the Ty Nant car park (£5 for the full-day parking). The route was fairly easy to follow, even though it wasn’t well signposted. The track was supposed to be 6 miles long, but both my fitness tracker and Toby’s PitPat clocked 9 miles (Toby did 9.7 miles), because he was off lead for a few little sections and we might have done a detour or two. We walked for a total of 5-and-a-quarter hours – we didn’t really rush and stopped for plenty of photos and a nice sit-down in the sun for a picnic.

Tough but fair

It was a tough walk – mostly because it was warm, but there were also a few sections that were harder underfoot with lots of loose rock and scree, which was difficult to negotiate. Our friend Sophie, who has joined us for the entire challenge, has knee- and I have foot-problems (Plantar fasciitis), which made walking on the loose and jagged rocks a smidge painful – but it’s for two amazing causes, so whatever little niggles or pains we have aren’t as important as why we are doing this challenge.

My little dog Toby managed admirably as always – he is a little mountain goat after all. The last section to get up to the trig point was a scramble (which I love!) and Toby was a complete trooper. I had to help him down a few of the steeper scramble sections on the descent, but he was more than happy to have a lift.

Spreading the word

I believe fit dogs would find this walk exciting and fun, even if the last section to the top is a scramble. It may be worth looking into some paw-care for afterwards as the rocks and scree could cause problems, if your dog is not used to this kind of terrain.

Toby’s backpack has a message for you

Even though we hadn’t timed our walk, our outing coincided with the Welsh Three Peaks Walk, which meant fewer people were inclined to stop and talk to us, either because they assumed we were with the other challenge walkers or because they were on the challenge and rushing to climb other mountains. The point of our walks is to speak to fellow hikers about the prevention of young suicide. Both Sophie and I have experience with young men taking their own lives. My brother Phil, who would be 28 now, committed suicide, and Sophie lost a good friend. We wear charity T-shirts and have a laminated flyer with us to introduce the two charities we support: PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide) and CALM (Campaign against living miserably).

We did manage to speak to a few people, however, who stopped us to ask a few questions. Toby’s backpack is always a great conversation starter, and on this day, he wore his “Let’s talk prevention” labels. The couple we spoke to had personal experience of mental health problems in their family so were interested to hear about the work of Papyrus and CALM. They were very kind about what we were doing which gave us a nice morale boost before the scramble to the top.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed today’s walk and it is one I would definitely do again – I’d be interested to see it in more moody weather some time.

To donate to the charities Jess, Sophie and Toby are supporting, please go to papyrus-uk.org and thecalmzone.net

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