Caisteal Abhail,Isle of Arran.

18th September 2011

Although I`ve been to Arran many a time,most of the visits were for rock climbing purposes and I can omly remember two hillwalking days.This was the third 🙂 The morning dawned in a miserable fashion with the cloud and mist blanketing the small hill opposite my house.The cows looked fed up.The trawl of the forecasts the previous evening all agreed that it would be sunny in Arran though ,so,with fingers crossed, we set off. £10 return on the ferry to Brodick was worth it alone for the views.

Cioch na h-Oighe with the cloud hanging over Glen Sannox behind…

Cioch na h-Oighe and Glen Sannox.

Beinn Nuis along to Beinn Tarsuinn…

Beinn Nuis to Beinn Tarsuinn

The bus was full to the gunwales with hillwalkers,rucksacks and a variety of dogs but everyone got off at Corrie for Goat Fell leaving us to enjoy some peace and quiet before being dropped off at the end of North Glen Sannox.A brand new path here proved a godsend for a speedy walk up past the waterfalls to the end of the forest.The path deteriorated a bit here and became rather boggy for a stretch but nothing over my trainers.We cut up to drier ground on the craggy flank of Sail an Im and that was the hard work over for the day 🙂

Looking back down North Glen Sannox…

Looking back down North Glen Sannox.

On the ridge round to Carn Mor with Lochranza below…

Looking back down to Lochranza.

Further on with the Kyles of Bute in the distance…

Bob and the Kyles of Bute.

We hadn`t seen anybody else up to this point but as we were having another one of Bobs lunch stops we got talking to a guy on the way down.We mentioned that Beinn Bharrain across the glen was our friends last Graham in the next few months and from there got on to the subject of Marilyn bagging.Turned out he had almost finished the mainland ones ( heard last week that he had indeed finished them on a trip to Wales ) leaving him with only two left to do.Well,that`s the good news.The bad news is that his two remaining ones are Stac an Armin and Stac Lee on St.Kilda 🙂 I think there are about four people with just these two to go to finish.A bit of a logistical nightmare as you can only land on them before the gannets appear in April and so have to cope with all the weather throws at you out there.Also need to have a bit of rock climbing experience as well.Anyway,good luck Eric if you ever get to read this 🙂

While we were chatting away a group from the Arran Outdoor Festival passed us heading down our route of ascent..

Lochranza below the ridge of Carn Mor.

These were the only folk we met all day.From here on we wandered over the granite tors and spent so much time looking around that it was after three when we got to the summit.
Bob is a spec in the distance here with the Paps of Jura over to the right..

Paps of Jura from high up on the ridge.

Zoomed shot of the Paps of Jura….

Paps of Jura.

Nearing the summit and the southern end of the ridge appears…

South from Caisteal Abhail.

Cir Mhor and Holy island in the distance…

Cir Mhor.

A few other folk were still out on top of Cir Mhor…

Summit of Cir Mhor.

Summit view…

Summit view.

Bob out on a pinnacle..

Bob on a pinnacle.

The Kintyre peninsula…

Kintyre peninsula.

The poor camera and it`s owner have no idea how to cope with shooting into bright sunlight as you can see 🙂

According to the Met Office a small  weather front was due to pass late afternoon.It did.

Dark cloud passing overhead.

It passed over quickly without the promised shower 🙂

North Goat Fell.

And again…

Goat Fell.

We wandered down to the foot of the Witches Step but the chimney at the bottom looked a bit greasy, it was getting late and we had a bus to catch so took a rising scrambling route from lower down to bypass it.

View out from the Witches Step.

A final descent over Suidhe Fheargais saw us down to the road again.

Suidhe Fheargas.

As it turned out we managed to hitch a lift back to Brodick leaving us time for a visit to the chip shop before catching the ferry at 7.30pm or so.Thoroughly enjoyed myself again 🙂

Looked out some old climbing scans after writing this post. This is the Layback Crack pitch on South Ridge Direct on Cir Mhor.must be 20 years ago 🙂

South Ridge Direct,Cir Mhor.

 

 

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9 Responses to Caisteal Abhail,Isle of Arran.

  1. writesofway says:

    Fantastic! Some cracking pics. That’s some zoom you’ve got for the close up of the Paps. Does your camera have a ‘sunset’ mode? That’s a useful feature for shooting towards the sun. What sort of a camera is it, Alex?

    I’m not sure about the soft porn rock climbing yoga shot at the end mind…

  2. The bloody thing came without a paper manual,only a pdf one which is awkward to look up but I shall investigate and see Pete. It`s a Panasonic FZ45 which was all I could afford and even at that it was a shop return so got it for £180. To be honest,although the zoom looks good in the glossy adverts, it`s too grainy at anything approaching the maximum extension.
    Climbing in the 80`s was as much about jazzy tights as it was about hard grades 🙂
    Just booked another cheapo ticket for Spain next month so shall leave you,TBF and Bob to grow even soggier in the Scottish climate whilst I bask in the sun 🙂

    • writesofway says:

      Well have a great time in Spain. Too warm and dry for me. We’ll be down to dark, dank Dumfriesshire pour le weekend. Got a week long trip exploring the remote corners of Sutherland coming up – my first time in those parts, can’t wait.

      Just checked out the FZ45 manual and it does have a ‘sunset’ mode in its scene selection function. You could also try using intelligent auto. I usually just leave mine – which is also a Lumix – set to intelligent auto as default and fiddle around if there’s time/opportunity.

      Cheers

  3. Brilliant report and photos – coincidentally, I’m just putting some (archival) Arran reports out at the moment. That looks a great route. When I looked at the Witches Step with my friend Richard, we couldn’t figure out how to get down into it as the bottom section looked a bit steep. We must have another go I think. I wouldn’t touch the other side though. Like the shot of the guy doing the splits!
    Carol.

  4. Thank you Carol.
    It`s a fantastic little island,isn`t it ? The descent to the bottom of the step is indeed a bit steep.The granite is disintegrating though making the holds seem as if they are covered in broken digestive biscuits.

  5. an essential photographic accessory which would help you is an ND grad filter. I hope to do a post on this soon. Basically its a piece of glass which is transparent on one edge gradually fading to a darker grey. You position the glass with the grey part over the brightest part of your image – in this case the sky – leaving the transparent glass covering the foreground. This gives an equally exposed image.
    Hopefully I’ll make it more clear if I get time to write up a post.
    Arran looks great – a place I haven’t yet managed to get to.

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