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Golden Eagles on Caisteal Abhail

Golden Eagles on Caisteal Abhail


Postby neilmckenzie » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:32 pm

Route description: Caisteal Abhail, via North Glen Sannox

Corbetts included on this walk: Caisteal Abhail

Date walked: 21/06/2014

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 820m

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Day 2 of my mini walking holiday in Arran took me to Caisteal Abhail at North Sannox. Of the peak-baggable hills in Arran that I've not done - Cir Mhor is the scariest, and Beinn Bharrain at Pirnmill puts my parents out a bit too much.

The walk starts less than 10 miles north of Brodick and it's accessible by bus or mountain bike. The road from Brodick is a lovely little coastal jaunt on a nice day. Eventually you get to a picturesque little parking spot north of Sannox and before the road climbs to Lochranza. The first 2km or so of the path follow a shallow incline along a lovely river(The North Sannox Burn). This is a great wee walk an accessible to just about anyone. Once you come out of the trees you are rewarded with a great view of the cliff faces of the ridge for the walk. Instead of continuing up the waterfall on the path, you cross over to the right and follow quite close to the deer fence.

I walk along this last bit talking to an older couple about the possibility of seeing golden eagles in this part of Arran.(I've never seen them). They told me they had seen a golden eagle on the south of the island near Kildonan but that it had been chased away by a falcon that was bigger than it. I can only assume it was a Millennium Falcon. :D

While talking , I miss the turning to the right and have to make my own crossing of the river. My Arran boulder clambering skills are still those of an 8 yr old in my head. Sadly my 34 yr old legs don't agree and I cut my knee. I give it a wee wipe and think nothing more of it.

The path is now quite minimal and it climbs through boggy heather. The incline is relentless and only gets worse. The soft ground underfoot doesn't help matters much. Until the path starts to move around some large boulder you can't really imagine how heather and sheep leavings result in the wonderful alpine like teeth that can be seen up ahead.

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There's eventual respite at a plateau on Sail an Im and you get some views and also get to see the path up ahead which climbs the ridge:

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The "where you've been" view is far more impressive than it felt when I was walking up it:

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Just like yesterday's Three Beinn's walk, once you gain height the walk is a pleasure. I'm bouncing up the ridge path feeling as if I'm in Lord of the Rings or in a country where they have weather to match their mountains. The top of Caisteal Abhail is a plateau with a few granite towers on it. I dump my pack and walking sticks and then wander around exploring.

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There's a certain pleasure in having the views of the peaks you were up the day before:

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You can see Schiehallion to the east(Possibly further if I knew what to look for) and I think you can see as far as Donegal to the west.

I talk to the guy on the highest for tor a wee while and he points out I've got some blood on my leg. The blood from the cut on my leg had run through the sweat while I was walking. It looks like I've been skinned from knee to ankle. It looks quite impressive!

I head back to the start of the plateau where my pack is, and clean up my leg and settle down for lunch on top of the world.

The trek back across the ridge seems longer than it did on the way up when it was exciting. The heather and sheep bit is a serious challenge to the ankles and knees - but the views were worth it! Once I'm back at the carpark and waiting for my chauffeur, I notice two raptors high above the hills:

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Without some serious binoculars, or a telephoto lens it's pretty difficult to tell, but since this is a known Golden Eagle stomping ground and buzzards don't hunt in pairs I'm ticking off Golden Eagle...
Last edited by neilmckenzie on Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
neilmckenzie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 40
Munros:34   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:5   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

Re: Golden Eagles on Caisteal Abhail

Postby neilmckenzie » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:33 pm

neilmckenzie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 40
Munros:34   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:5   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

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