Welsh 3 Peaks – Snowdon, Cadair Idris & Pen y Fan in a day

The Welsh 3 peaks of Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen Y Fan are becoming a popular charity challenge and can be completed during daylight hours in the summer months.

I took on the challenge in July with a wild camp high on Snowdon and a dawn start giving plenty of time to climb all three peaks at a leisurely pace and enjoy the adventure.

Llyn Ffynnon y gwas

Wild camp above Llyn Ffynnon y gwas

We climbed Snowdon from the west on the Ranger path, this is more picturesque although less dramatic than the shorter route from Pen Y Pas . We walked up on Friday evening and camped in the dark just above Llyn Ffynnon y  gwas. Leaving  our tent at 5.20 am we were surprised and a little disappointed when three mountain bikers appeared through the mist as they descended from the summit, at that time in the morning we thought we had the mountain all to ourselves. After reaching the summit at 6.30 we initially descended down the Rhyd Ddu Path before dropping into Cwm Clogwyn to return to our tent. This is not a route for the inexperienced particularly with low cloud as it requires careful navigation to avoid the steep crags.

A quick change at the car park near the Ranger YHA and we were on our way to climb Cadair Idris starting from Dol y Cae car park near Minfordd.

Llyn Cae

Llyn Cae and Craig Cwm Amarch

The cloud had now lifted and after a coffee at the National trust cafe near the car park we climbed the steep path alongside a series of waterfalls and on to beautiful Llyn Cae. Our route followed the edge of the Llyn before climbing steeply to the ridgeline and a short pull to the summit. There were stunning views across Barmouth Estuary and into Snowdonia, on a clear day it’s possible to see the top of Snowdon and Pen Y Fan.

We continued along the ridge before dropping down to the Minffordd path taking in the beautiful views over Tal Y Llyn. The next stage of our adventure was a road trip through mid Wales to the Brecon Beacons. I would recommend that you plan the route in advance, we relied on sat nav and had a very nice tour of the farm tracks and C roads as we meandered our way south.

Pen y Fan

Path from Storey arms to Pen y Fan

Pen Y Fan is a straightforward and very popular walk from Storey Arms with fine views over south Wales. As we climbed the wide path to the summit a paraglider was souring over the ridge playing in the evening thermals. We reached the top as the sun set and soaked up the final rays before heading down for a curry in Brecon. Mission accomplished


Photo gallery

The peaks are chosen for their location rather than height, Snowdon stands at 3560 feet, Cadair Idris is the highest mountain in Mid wales at 2930ft, while Pen Y Fan is the highest mountain in S Wales at 2907 ft. There is aprox 135 miles of driving between them on some of the most picturesque roads in Wales.

Snowdon route

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Cadair Idris route

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