Cader Idris Fell Race
Three hardy souls braved the wild elements.
Clem, the wild man of Snowdonia and myself returned to North Wales, along with Graham Maynard, to totally different conditions than that of the previous weekend. Gone were the fine blue skies and gentle breeze of an early summer to be replaced by grey steel cloud and rain squalls.
In total contrast, although the weather was still mild, it was very wet. The morning of the race we awoke to heavy, almost persistent, rain, however thankfully and as if on cue the rain stopped and skies cleared before the race started.
The start was from the main square in the small market town of Dolgellau with the 10.5 mile race course following a steep metalled road, rough track and then wooded tree root infested forest trail, over waterlogged, boggy fields, steeply pitched stone stepped ‘Pony’ path and lastly a boulder field, climbs almost 3000ft to the summit of Pen y Gade, right up to the trig point on the very top of the mountain and then back all the way down again.
We were told at the race start that the weather was down to 30 yards visibility at the top and they weren’t wrong. Thankfully we didn’t encounter the predicted 30 mph gusting side winds and only had to contend with a light breeze.
Once we emerged from woodland behind Lake Gwernan, the mountain incline really hit us, and by the time we reached the Pony path, the earlier heavy rain and mist made the rocks very slippery, and temperatures somewhat chilly.
There was a degree of scrambling over scree to reach the last checkpoint at the trig before we had to turn around and descend all the way back down the way we had just came through the scree, along the Pony path, trail, track and road into the town again.
This is were the fun really began. You could tell who the local club runners were without having to refer to the colour of their vests by their complete lack of fear in hurling themselves down the mountain totally oblivious to the slippery rocks and extremely steep heather strewn mountain slopes.
We all agreed later on that evening during a debrief in the pub that it was disheartening to be overtaken by people we’d easily passed on the way up running faster than we would ever dare to on the steep rocky, paths that were partly covered in rivulets of running water.
Nevertheless, we all managed to make up ground with our experience gained from cross country and road running under our belts, even overtaking a quite a few runners, to finish with a final lung busting sprint finish back into the town square.
RESULTS: 17. Christian Poulton 1:39:56 55. Clem Dixon 1:53:29 99. Graham Maynard 2:04:39