It’s cool, here in the mountains. Not quite chilly enough for a sweater, but sufficient to raise an odd goose-bump on an unclad arm. Cader Idris – the “Seat of Idris” – still slumbers invisible under a cloudy nightcap slow to be doffed. Welsh legend tells us it was the great giant, Idris, who raised the mountains to form his seat, so he could sit and look out over the estuary and Irish Sea
I sip my early morning tea and think he must have been a wise and appreciative giant, to choose such a magnificent view. Idly, I allow curious eyes to drift around the vista on display beyond the open patio door.
The view across the valley is spectacular.
The only man-made objects in sight are the gray-slated, pebble-dash house of the nurseries lower down the slope, with its cluster of growing tunnels, and an old stone farmhouse nestled deep into the valley floor. But the eye scarcely perceives them, all vision dominated by the specter of Idris rising, almost casually from its green foothills, to fool the unwary. For those emerald foothills, dotted by copses of Welsh oak and laurel, and interspersed with slopes kept clear of all but short-cropped grass by ever-nibbling sheep, are but a prelude to the mountain beyond.
Cader Idris is no mere mountain; it’s a mountain range consisting of three main peaks. They rise parallel to the estuary that channels Mawddach’s waters to the Irish Sea at Barmouth – once a tiny, Welsh fishing community, transformed to seaside mecca when hordes of exultant Victorians regurgitated from an early 20th century steam railway station that quickly lost Barmouth its geographical virginity.
Few of those early Victorians ever stared, transfixed with awe, at the Welsh landscape spread out carpet-like beneath their feet, from atop Pen y Gadair, Cyfrwy, or Tyrau Mawr, the three peaks that form Idris’ seat. Most were content to sun themselves on the sand, or make a nuisance down the harbor, pestering the fishermen with inane questions and comments on the “quaintness” of it all.
Cader Idris, meanwhile, remains unmoved by this latest and most enduring incursion of the English, and continues to majestically dominant the Mawddach Estuary over which he reigns.
I take a last sip of tea gone cold, and watch as shafts of sunlight pierce, Excalibur-like, his nightcap of cumulus. Cader Idris awakes from slumber, revealing three mighty peaks to those mere mortals who dare drink cold tea in his presence.
I stare in awe.
Idris opens one eye, stares back at me………
Filed under: Vacation time