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Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Arran 4: West Glen Sannox


Postby Phil the Hill » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:36 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Caisteal Abhail, Cir Mhor

Date walked: 01/06/2012

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 13.2 km

Ascent: 1193m

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31 May 2012 started off with low cloud and drizzle, so we visited Brodick Castle rather than going up the hill. It brightened in the afternoon, so we did a short coastal walk from Lamlash Bay around Clauchlands Point, seeing seals, harbour porpoises and teal ducklings.

Image
124 Holy Island from Lamlash Bay by prwild, on Flickr

Image
123 Seal in Lamlash Bay by prwild, on Flickr

Image
127 Irises by prwild, on Flickr

Image
128 Ardrossan Ferry by prwild, on Flickr

1 June dawned dry though still with low cloud, so we set off to do the West Glen Sannox peaks. Andy did not feel up to a long walk, so he opted for a nature walk up Glen Rosa looking for adders, whilst Keith, Carol and I headed for Glen Sannox and the Witches Step.


West_Glen_Sannox.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Image
129 Into Glen Sannox by prwild, on Flickr

We started off up the Glen Sannox path and soon turned right over the footbridge.

Image
130 Down to the bridge by prwild, on Flickr

We lost the path immediately on the other side, probably because we headed uphill too soon. It eventually joined us again as we headed towards Suidhe Fhearghas.

Image
131 Suidhe Fhearghas by prwild, on Flickr

The path took us to the right of the crags, up through the heather. On the western flank of the hill we saw what might have been an eagle, though it was too distant to be sure.

Image
132 Up through the heather by prwild, on Flickr

We emerged at the beginning of the ridge, with Suidhe Fheargas ahead.

Image
133 Suidhe Fhearghas summit by prwild, on Flickr

From the top of Suidhe Fheargas we could see our intended route ahead as the clouds were beginning to lift. Next was Ceum na Caillich (the Witches Step) and beyond it Caisteal Abhail, with Cir Mhor to the left.

Image
134 West Glen Sannox ridge by prwild, on Flickr

An easy stroll along the bridge brought us to Ceum na Caillich, where we decided to take the bypass path to the right.

Image
135 Start of Witches Step bypass path by prwild, on Flickr

There was time for a few photos first.

Image
136 The Saddle and Glen Rosa by prwild, on Flickr

Image
137 View back to Suidhe Fhearghas by prwild, on Flickr

The bypass path was initially a ledge with a steep drop to the right.

Image
138 On the bypass by prwild, on Flickr

But it soon got quite tricky with some scrambly bits, and we stopped to put on helmets.

There was a final downclimb into a steep, wide gully leading up to the notch below the Witches Step.

Image
139 End of the bypass by prwild, on Flickr

We paused by the Witches Step.

Image
140 The Witches Step by prwild, on Flickr

Keith climbed back up the Witches Step to do the crux, whilst Carol and I looked on.

Image
141 Keith on The Witches Step by prwild, on Flickr

Image
142 Keith on top of The Witches Step by prwild, on Flickr

I had been exchanging texts with Andy on the way up. He claimed to have spotted 6 adders in Glen Rosa, including one he found by almost sitting on it. I gave him a call, as I could now see his distinctive orange fleece on the Saddle and he could see us at the Witches Step with my red helmet standing out.

The other way up from the Witches Step was a scramble in itself.

Image
143 The other way by prwild, on Flickr

Image
144 Scrambly rocks at the top by prwild, on Flickr

The stretch of ridge from here to Caisteal Abhail was excellent, with scrambly sections and great views opening up as the clouds had now lifted and the sun was coming out.

Image
145 Rocks and Goatfell by prwild, on Flickr

Image
146 The Saddle and Cir Mhor by prwild, on Flickr

There was a 'Fat Man's Agony' at one point - no difficulty for us, but we had to remove packs to squueze through.

Image
147 A tight squeeze by prwild, on Flickr

Image
148 Keith and Carol on the ridge by prwild, on Flickr

Image
149 Caisteal Abhail by prwild, on Flickr

There was a fine panorama of the Arran Corbetts from this point.

Image
150 Arran Corbetts Panorama by prwild, on Flickr

A final scramble up the summit castle took us up to the summit of Caisteal Abhail, where we finally encountered some other walkers. We were the only ones wearing helmets, but we thought it best to keep them on, as we knew there were some steep sections to come and you can't be too careful.

Image
151 Phil on Caisteal Abhail summit by prwild, on Flickr

Image
152 Goatfell and Cir Mhor by prwild, on Flickr

Image
153 Caisteal Abhail summit castle by prwild, on Flickr

We found a spring below the summit, marked by a cairn with the water strangely coming out of a pipe.

Image
154 Spring below Caisteal Abhail by prwild, on Flickr

Cir Mhor ahead looked a fine, pointy hill.

Image
155 Cir Mhor by prwild, on Flickr

Image
156 Looking back at Caisteal Abhail by prwild, on Flickr

Image
157 Approaching Cir Mhor summit by prwild, on Flickr

Another short scramble took us to its summit.

Image
158 Phil on Cir Mhor summit by prwild, on Flickr

Image
159 Goatfell from Cir Mhor by prwild, on Flickr

Image
160 Caisteal Abhail and Witches Step from Cir Mhor by prwild, on Flickr

We'd read that the descent from here to the Saddle was very steep. It soon became a very tricky climb down a chimney, which I did quickly before I had time to get scared. Looking back at Keith and Carol descending, I realized we'd missed the easy path down the gully to the left.

Image
161 The wrong way down by prwild, on Flickr

This would have been a good scramble on the ascent, but wasn't easy coming down. As Keith and Carol were now committed, I didn't mention the other path until they were down.

From shortly beyond this point we found the path down had been improved by steps, possibly quite recently laid by the National Trust for Scotland, judging by the sign at the bottom.

Image
162 A steep descent by prwild, on Flickr

The steps made the descent a doddle, though care still needed to be taken, and we were soon at the Saddle, where we had spotted Andy a few hours ago now.

Image
163 Snack break at the Saddle by prwild, on Flickr

Image
164 Glen Rosa from the Saddle by prwild, on Flickr

Image
165 Glen Sannox from the Saddle by prwild, on Flickr

We kept our helmets on for the final steep descent into Glen Sannox.

Image
166 Looking back at the Saddle by prwild, on Flickr

From here it was a pleasant walk back along a good path in the afternoon sunshine, with fine views back to the Glen Sannox peaks.

Image
167 In Glen Sannox by prwild, on Flickr

Image
168 The Cioch and Cir Mhor by prwild, on Flickr

Image
169 Leaving Glen Sannox by prwild, on Flickr

A fine end to a great day on the Arran hills.
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Phil the Hill
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Posts: 325
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby Phil the Hill » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:25 pm

RTC wrote:Beautiful photos. I've seen other photos of the Witch's Step but yours are the most detailed. I think I now understand what is involved. - A bit too tricky for me! Your report has confirmed my intended route for these two in the summer.- Taking the path from Glen Rosa to the low point between A'Chir and Cir Mhor. - And come off Caisteal Abhail by the NW ridge down to Lochranza.
Thanks for posting.


Thanks. That looks a good through route, but don't be put off this ridge by my report. The Witches Step was a bit too tricky for me too, but the bypass is perfectly doable.
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Phil the Hill
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby tomyboy73 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:57 pm

fantastic Phil, this is just what i`m looking for, cheers
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tomyboy73
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby Phil the Hill » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:57 pm

tomyboy73 wrote:fantastic Phil, this is just what i`m looking for, cheers


You're welcome. I see you found my report after our discussion on smalltounboy's report.

The way up Cir Mhor from the Saddle is seen from above in my photo 162 (steeper than it looks). When you get to my photo 161, the path takes you up the easy gully to the left. We came down the chimney in the middle of the big stone block. It was tricky descending but I reckon would make a good scramble ascending. Beyond this it's an easy walk up to the summit. Worth going on to Caisteal Abhail, as Cir Mhor looks nice and pointy from that side (my photo 157).
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Phil the Hill
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby kevsbald » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:26 pm

My previous post on the Arran hills applies - looks a fabulous ridge - still to do this - I'd like to go over the Witch's step - might have to have a day across in Arran this summer. Thanks for posting.
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kevsbald
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby smalltounboy » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:59 pm

Fantastic photo's, hope the midges didn't spoil your walk
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smalltounboy
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby DaveB1 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:16 pm

Best photo's of Arran I've seen in a while, Phil. I've been going there since I was 6, these just made be ache to back! Arran's grippy granite makes a great scrambly day :D :D
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby tomyboy73 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:40 am

Phil the Hill wrote:
tomyboy73 wrote:fantastic Phil, this is just what i`m looking for, cheers


You're welcome. I see you found my report after our discussion on smalltounboy's report.

The way up Cir Mhor from the Saddle is seen from above in my photo 162 (steeper than it looks). When you get to my photo 161, the path takes you up the easy gully to the left. We came down the chimney in the middle of the big stone block. It was tricky descending but I reckon would make a good scramble ascending. Beyond this it's an easy walk up to the summit. Worth going on to Caisteal Abhail, as Cir Mhor looks nice and pointy from that side (my photo 157).


cheers Phil, i was up the castles last month ans watched Cir Mhor shift in and out of the cloud, hopefully do it this summer, cheers again
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tomyboy73
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby shelbyandamonkey » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:22 pm

I love Arran and this is a great report....looked over to the Witches Step from the ridge off Goatfell towards the saddle last summer and it's been on my mind since then :D

Thanks for posting, great pics
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shelbyandamonkey
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby Hill-loving lady » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:54 pm

This has been really useful in my research before taking Bob the Dog to Arran in October...I reckon he'll be fine, but if any dog owners could advise me then I'd be really grateful.
Cracking pics of a "Scotland in Miniature" :clap: :clap: :clap: - a beautiful place, the snow on Goat Fell as seen when I was growing up on the farm in Ayrshire always seemed tantalising and it wasn't until I was at uni in the walking club that I eventually got there. Looking forward to my return!
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Re: Arran 4: West Glen Sannox

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:31 pm

Great report & some cracking photo's :clap: :clap:
Been to Arran umpteen times, sadly not many days spent in the hills though :(
Anyone who has never been, you really are missing a gem :wink:
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