walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

The mighty midget: Mullach Mor of Holy Island

The mighty midget: Mullach Mor of Holy Island


Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:36 pm

Route description: Holy Island (Arran)

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Mullach Mor (Holy Island)

Date walked: 07/08/2013

Time taken: 2.5 hours

Distance: 6.75 km

Ascent: 480m

3 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Having grown up in Ayrshire and now living in Glasgow, I've been a regular visitor to Arran for most of my life, and I can remember looking across longingly on many occasions at Holy Island, rising from Lamlash Bay like some Polynesian Bali-Hai :? (honestly, Arran can be quite sunny sometimes :lol: ). Well, the Tibetan Buddhist community who have owned the island for more than a decade actively encourage day-trippers, with a regular scheduled summer ferry service from Lamlash and everything, so there was no time like the present :D ... My parents, sister, niece and nephews had rented a house in Kildonan for a fortnight, and we decided to go across for a couple of days. Unfortunately, due to some on-call complications, I had to do it as two day trips from the mainland (yes, I know; don't ask :( !). While the rest of the family enjoyed a lie-in before a jaunt to the Arran Show, I spent a pleasant evening with my auntie in Saltcoats, catching up on family gossip and generally putting the world to rights, and then caught the first boat across from Ardrossan.
The weather wasn't looking too promising on the way over :( , but it was early yet: maybe it would improve...
WR1.jpg

The bus from Brodick got me into Lamlash with a lot of time to spare before the first Holy Island ferry at 10 a.m., so I took a walk along the shore road towards Clauchlands Point, enjoying fine views of my target. An odd cloudscape momentarily gave Holy Island an unexpectedly volcanic look: "Mullach Mor, East of Java" :shock: !
WR2.jpg

Lamlash Bay was looking very pretty, with a whole load of yachts in the harbour.
WR3.jpg

Ten o' clock at last, and it was time to catch the unfeasibly cute wee ferry over to Holy Island. It's currently £11.50 return which some might find a wee bit steep for the short crossing, but considering that it was only myself plus a Canadian couple on that first sailing, I doubt that they could break even if they charged any less. Anyway, it's a grand day out, and well worth the money, I'd say in retrospect :D .
WR4.jpg

The short crossing is great fun, giving good sea views of Mullach Mor.
WR5.jpg

At the pier, we were met by a representative of the Buddhist community, in full monk's robes, who gave us a brief chat about the island and about the community. Unexpected fact: the Holy Island community is nowadays officially Arran's second biggest hotel after the Auchrannie :shock: . He was a very friendly chap, but came bearing one bit of mildly bad news: the Boat House tearoom and restaurant was currently closed because the chief cook was away on a course on the mainland :( . I'd initially planned lunch on the island and a later boat back, but now revised my plans for a quick sprint to try to make the last boat back before lunch.
The route started up the left hand side of the field in front of the main community building, which was attractively festooned with stupas and Tibetan prayer flags.
WR6.jpg

A stile at the top left corner of the field led to a path through attractive scrubland, with some newly planted hardwood trees and a lot of wild flowers.
WR7.jpg

At the top of this section, another stile led onto the open hillside, with Mullach Mor's slightly smaller north top, logically enough known as Mullach Beag, rearing up quite steeply.
WR8.jpg

The path is very well maintained, however, with good waymarks, and it makes light work of any potential steepness. It wasn't long before I reached Mullach Beag's cute wee cairn :) :
WR9.jpg

From Mullach Beag, there is a brief but fairly steep dip, followed by an even steeper, mildly scrambly ascent to the main summit of Mullach Mor with its trig point.
WR10.jpg

Although the big Arran Corbetts were sadly invisible in the Clag, there were still spectacular views over Lamlash Bay and south Arran.
WR11.jpg
WR12.jpg

Good views east to the Ayrshire coast, too: it looked like they might be enjoying some sunshine across there!
WR13.jpg

The inevitable auto-timer summit shot: lovely shorts, what :lol: !
WR14.jpg

The continuing route down the south ridge of Mullach Mor was even steeper, with some easy, funsome scrambling. This is the view back up this section from the bottom:
WR15.jpg

This route would make a grand introduction to scrambling for older children, I'd say, with nothing too taxing under summer conditions, but just enough steepness to make things a wee bit exciting.
The continuing path gave nice views down to the big lighthouse on the southwest corner of the island:
WR16.jpg

As recommended by the website's route summary, however, I took the short detour east to have a look at the other lighthouse on the island's southeast corner: apparently known as "Wee Donald"; designed by the Lighthouse Stevensons and a wee beauty :D .
WR17.jpg

This is as close as it's possible to get, however, as it is used by Buddhist nuns on long-term retreat.
The path continued past some cute wee eco-huts: one of these is the heid Lama's hoose, apparently. (I doubt that "heid Lama" is his official title though, right enough.)
WR18.jpg

Next the path passed the west-coast lighthouse, also off-limits to day-trippers, but with some plants for sale in the garden outside.
WR19.jpg

A bit further round, there were some good views of Mullach Mor's impressive western crags.
WR20.jpg

And then a final treat: a series of eight rock paintings in Tibetan style, featuring major figures of the Tibetan Buddhist past.
WR21.jpg

Most impressive, to a lay-person like me anyway, were the last two, featuring female Bhoddissatvas (I think that's what they are, anyway :? ) known as the Green Tara and the White Tara. Although definitely a bit unexpected in this otherwise typically west-coast-Scottish landscape, these are beautifully serene images.
WR22.jpg
WR23.jpg

I made a mad sprint for the pier, and just caught the 12:30 ferry back to Lamlash. The cloud was descending on Mullach Mor's summit just as I was leaving...
WR24.jpg

I managed to meet up with the rest of the family at the Arran show, to enjoy a Kir Royale, marvel at more breeds of funny-looking sheep than I ever knew existed, and admire a coo approximately the size of a brontosaurus. Quality entertainment :D ! All in all, definitely another Grand Day Oot: Mullach Mor may be the smallest of Arran's seven S2K Marilyns, but it's probably the most fun.
Attachments

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

Last edited by bobble_hat_kenny on Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
bobble_hat_kenny
Walker
 
Posts: 324
Munros:183   Corbetts:33
Grahams:34   Donalds:19
Sub 2000:23   Hewitts:2
Joined: Sep 3, 2011

Re: The mighty midget: Mullach Mor of Holy Island

Postby davetherave » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:44 pm

Great info on Holy Island Kenny. Thanks for this timely posting.
We head over to Arran on 2nd Nov, we are staying in Corrie for 5 nights.

Not sure if we will make it over to Holy Island this trip but if the weather is pants , and keeps us from our objective then Holy island it is.

Thanks for posting Kenny.

Dave.
User avatar
davetherave
 
Posts: 717
Munros:220   Corbetts:88
Grahams:26   Donalds:5
Joined: Apr 25, 2009
Location: Brechin

Re: The mighty midget: Mullach Mor of Holy Island

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:21 pm

davetherave wrote:Great info on Holy Island Kenny. Thanks for this timely posting.
We head over to Arran on 2nd Nov, we are staying in Corrie for 5 nights.

Not sure if we will make it over to Holy Island this trip but if the weather is pants , and keeps us from our objective then Holy island it is.

Thanks for posting Kenny.

Dave.


Thanks! I'm not sure if the scheduled Holy Island ferry crossings are still running at this time of year; they might stop at the end of October. However, the ferryman's mobile phone number and Email are on the Holy Island community website (I think the webpage comes up if you google "Holy Island Arran"), and he seems to be willing to do unscheduled sailings off-season with a day or two's notice, if there are enough of you to make it worthwhile. Hope you have a good trip :) !
User avatar
bobble_hat_kenny
Walker
 
Posts: 324
Munros:183   Corbetts:33
Grahams:34   Donalds:19
Sub 2000:23   Hewitts:2
Joined: Sep 3, 2011

Re: The mighty midget: Mullach Mor of Holy Island

Postby hills » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:24 pm

Love thatm really enjoyed my day on Holy Island, great place, well worth the trip, when i was there, the trig was covered in coins, oh dear, they seem to have gone. :?
User avatar
hills
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 476
Munros:215   Corbetts:109
Grahams:109   Donalds:65
Sub 2000:157   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Sep 16, 2009
Location: Stirling

3 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: alwaysbog, Ezra and Freya and 44 guests