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Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)


Postby smalltounboy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:27 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Caisteal Abhail

Date walked: 30/03/2013

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 25 km

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Caisteal Abhail was the only Corbett on Arran that had eluded me, I'd made a couple of attempts but had to retreat each time due to weather, The first attempt had been via Suidhe Fhearghas but very poor visibility and very high winds made the traverse of the Witch's step particularly treacherous, the second attempt was via Beinn Tarsuinn and Cir Mhor in torrential summer rain, being soaked to the skin I called it a day after Cir Mhor and headed back to Brodick for a pint and a fish supper.
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Caisteal Abhail from Ardrossan

The previous weekend Arran and Kintyre had been battered by a freak snowstorm which had left them without mains power for over a week, this had left perfect winter hillwalking conditions, the weather report indicated that conditions would be cold, crisp and clear.........this was my day to bag my final Arran Corbett
IMAG1035.jpg
North Glen Sannox burn

I boarded the bus and headed to the North of the island, the bus had four other walkers, I thought to myself that they were just the usual walkers heading for Goat Fell who just couldn't be bothered with walking from the ferry terminal (it doesn't count unless you do), to my surprise they all got off with me at North Glen Sannox, once suited and booted we headed off up the path together.
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Falls at North Sannox Burn with An Tunna in the background

By the time I reached the 200m contour the snow was already 15cm deep, it was then that I got my first good look at the conditions on Caisteal Abhail, I crossed the North Sannox burn and headed up Sail An In
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NW face of Caisteal Abhail and North Glen Sannox burn

Conditions on Sail An Im were still freezing with some gorgeous ice falls
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Ice fals on Sail An Im

The snow became thinner on the more exposed areas of Sail An Im which helped us gain altitude more quickly, soon we had a great view of North Glen Sannox
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North Glen Sannox from Sail An Im

.....and Lochranza (spot the castle)
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Lochranza from Sail An Im

From this point onwards the compact snow and underlying ice meant that it was time to put on my trusty crampons, it was a straightforward ascent along the ridge to Caisteal Abhail with some spectacular formations of rime ice on the boulders
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Rime iced boulders on Caisteal Abhail

The top of the mountain has several false summits, known at 'The Castles'
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West Tor on Caisteal Abhail

After a nervous travers of a snow covered steep slope I finally reached the true summit
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Caisteal Abhail Summit

The extent of the previous weekend's snow storm were more evident on Goat Fell's western side with the real danger of avalanche
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West face of Goat Fell and Cir Mhor

Even the western hills at Pirmilll still had a good covering of snow
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Pirmill Hills to the West

After leaving the summit we headed south towards Cir Mhor, giving us a great view of the Southern face of Caisteal Abhail
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South Eastern face of Caisteal Abhail

as we'd all climbed Cir Mhor previously it was agreed that we would by pass it and head into Glen Rosa via Fionn Choire
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Glen Rosa from Fionn Choire

this gave us a great view of A'Chir and Beinn Tarsuinn
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A' Chir and Beinn Tarsuinn

All in all it was the best days hillwalking I'd had in years, all that was left to do was head to the Ormidale for a refreshing bottle of Arran Blonde before catching the last ferry home
IMAG1042.jpg
Selfie at the Summit

Route taken
Route.jpg
Route Via North Glen Rosa and Sail An Im
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smalltounboy
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Re: Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Postby rockhopper » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:36 pm

well done on finishing your Arran corbetts :thumbup: looked challenging at times but rewarding with some cracking views - cheers :)
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Re: Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Postby litljortindan » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:39 pm

A great viewpoint I think. I expect those are relatively rare conditions you got there.
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litljortindan
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Re: Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Postby tomyboy73 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:58 pm

Hi, great pictures, looks like you got there at a good time to enjoy the rest of the snow, I`ve still got Cir Mhor to do, it looks pretty difficult ? whichever side you take it from ? What you think ?
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tomyboy73
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Re: Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Postby smalltounboy » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:14 pm

Thanks, Cir Mhor is a cracking hill, it's easiest from its Western side but I prefer climbing straight up from The Saddle after a walk-in via either Glen Sannox or Glen Rosa

Cheers
Mark
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smalltounboy
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Re: Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Postby tomyboy73 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:50 pm

smalltounboy wrote:Thanks, Cir Mhor is a cracking hill, it's easiest from its Western side but I prefer climbing straight up from The Saddle after a walk-in via either Glen Sannox or Glen Rosa

Cheers
Mark



cheers, was thinking of doing it from either glen rosa or goatfell
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tomyboy73
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Re: Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Postby Phil the Hill » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:57 pm

smalltounboy wrote:Thanks, Cir Mhor is a cracking hill, it's easiest from its Western side but I prefer climbing straight up from The Saddle after a walk-in via either Glen Sannox or Glen Rosa

Cheers
Mark


When I did Cir Mhor last summer I was expecting a steep descent to the Saddle (having ascended from Caisteal Abhail) but the NTS had built some steps most of the way up, which would make it a doddle going up from that side - especially if you avoid the adventurous chimney we descended by mistake (or you could go up this if you like a scramble!). I posted a report on WH. Enjoy - as Mark says, it's a cracking hill.
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Phil the Hill
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Re: Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Postby kevsbald » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:56 pm

I don't know what it is about the Arran corbetts but reports often get overlooked. Outstanding and well done on your mini compleation.

Kev
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kevsbald
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Re: Caisteal Abhail, Arran (a week after the snowstorm)

Postby Phil the Hill » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:04 pm

kevsbald wrote:I don't know what it is about the Arran corbetts but reports often get overlooked. Outstanding and well done on your mini compleation.

Kev


Yes, I was wondering about that after posting a few reports on them (one more to go to record my own mini compleation). I think maybe people don't realize how brilliant they are unless they've actually been on them - or got beyond the tourist path up Goatfell.
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Phil the Hill
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