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.

Glen Catacol, Gleann Diomhan, Beinn Bhreac & back

Glen Catacol, Gleann Diomhan, Beinn Bhreac & back


Postby Chris Mac » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:03 am

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Beinn Bhreac (Arran)

Date walked: 26/05/2018

Time taken: 3.27 hours

Distance: 11.7 km

Ascent: 657m

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


Beinn-Bhreac-Arran.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

For the bank holiday weekend at the end of May I took the dfriday off and with sunshine forecast we decided to take the cheap option and head back home to Arran for a long weekend to make up for the bad weather earlier in the month.

I had grand plans to climb Mullach Mor of Holy Isle and Tighvein along with Beinn Bhreac to finish the island' Marilyns, things wouldn't quite work out that way though... :roll:

We set off on Friday morning for the 11am boat again meaning another nostalgic journey on the old Isle of Arran ferry, almost everyone was sitting outside and the Corbetts looked fantastic on the way into Brodick Bay:
ImageDSC_7774 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Day 1 should have seen us heading for Tighvein but it was baking hot, we started pottering about in the back garden helping Mum and before you knew it we were eating and drinking while I redesigned some rockery steps! It's fine, we've got another 3 days here, we'll just do Tighvein on Monday before we get the last boat... :roll:

On Friday night it was looking better for Holy Isle on the Sunday with some fairly strong winds forecast on Saturday, so that settled it, Beinn Bhreac would be our walk for the following day!

A setback then occurred... as Y realised she had left her walking boots at home!! :crazy:

Mum had a pair I looked out but she was a size bigger, Y said she'd put on extra socks and give it a go and luckily the route I planned had a fairly decent path almost the whole way bar the final summit section.

The next morning saw no requirement for an early start so we enjoyed breakfast at island pace then set off in the car, arriving at Catacol just over half an hour later, parking at the decent sized car park at Fairhaven.

We left the poles in the car and went over the bridge and Abhainn Mór to the start of the path:
ImageDSC_7837 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It was sunny and warm but the start of the glen was like a wind tunnel and fairly gusty already. We passed the fenced off area with a few of the very rare and unique Arran trees including the Catacol Whitebeam which Y didn't know about until the day before:
ImageDSC_7839 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I last walked up Glen Catacol back in 2005 with Neil, Donny and Gav, who enjoyed an unexpected flume ride down the water further up the glen, then moaned and squelched the whole way to Loch Tanna! :lol:

We continued along the good path to the gate, up ahead showing the high route I wanted to take back but Y wasn't keen on heading back herself so I had to save that route up Meall Mor and co. for another day.:
ImageDSC_7841 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

There were white boulders everywhere, not how I remembered it, then a landslip appeared and the mystery was solved:
ImageDSC_7842 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Peeking out behind Meall nan Leac Sleimhuinn (L) and Creagan na Gobhar (R) is Meall nan Damh, a fine viewpoint I climbed earlier in the month:
ImageDSC_7848 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The path rises and turns to head further into the atmospheric Glen Catacol:
ImageDSC_7849 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we follow the meanders on the path Beinn Tarsuinn, the middle sized one of three on Arran and a top of Beinn Bhreac comes into view:
ImageDSC_7855 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Up on the left is the outcrop of Creag na h-lolaire, another top of our target hill:
ImageDSC_7863 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Mum had mentioned the crystal clear water of Abhainn Mór to Y the night before and she's not wrong as we look back down the glen:
ImageDSC_7880 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We pass the large slabs, it was on one of them that Gav enjoyed his flume ride! :clap:
ImageDSC_7890 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It's a similar quality of water that comes down off the east side of Beinn Bhreac that feeds the distillery in Lochranza from Loch na Davie:
ImageDSC_7894 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Cliff of the eagle:
ImageDSC_7897 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We head further up the glen to the fork in the path and head left, we can see Loch Tanna another day, i've got a hankering for some height and a view! A group of walkers heading down the path ahead:
ImageDSC_7900 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The path gains height steadily and turns to the left and into Gleann Diomhan. Over to the right we can see the path leading up to Loch Tanna:
ImageDSC_7906 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

At this point the path gets a bit more rocky and muddy but is still good but Y was now struggling a bit with bigger boots on her tiny feet as we have a breather and look back to Kilbrannan Sound:
ImageDSC_7911 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We reach the fence into the Gleann Diomhan National Nature Reserve:
ImageDSC_7912 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Up ahead on the right is a large gorge gashed out of the side of Beinn Tarsuinn:
ImageDSC_7913 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_7917 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_7925 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Bhreac's summit is now in view further up the glen:
ImageDSC_7926 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I veer off the path to get a better view of the waterfalls down below in the gorge:
ImageDSC_7930 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We're in the heart of the hills and continue up the path, we're about 200m up now as we head for the bealach at 408m (1338ft) further up inbetween Beinn Bhreac, Beinn Tarsuinn and Caisteal Abheail and at the very top of Glen Iorsa:
ImageDSC_7935 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

A lone walker can be seen up ahead having just gone through the gate out of the Nature Reserve:
ImageDSC_7940 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Behind us the view of Meall nan Damh is superb, unfortunately only one of us was still enjoying the walk and scenery at this point!
ImageDSC_7949 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We approach the gate now and the lone walker up ahead can be seen on the horizon:
ImageDSC_7951 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Further along is another smaller gorge where the cairn is on the OS map:
ImageDSC_7954 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Some impressive rock architecture below:
ImageDSC_7955 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Nature's building blocks:
ImageDSC_7958 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Just after the cairn Y decided she had had enough, she prefers sea routes and I had her high up a glen in the heart of the Arran hills! I said we weren't far from the 408m point and the view would be worthwhile, then it was just a quick final hike to the summit.

It wasn't to be though and she would wait for me to summit then join her again, a now familiar pattern! I set off along the path then decided i'd just cut a direct route straight towards the summit, I felt like I needed to expend some proper energy and there were plenty of boulders to scramble up on the way so off I went:
ImageDSC_7960 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back down at the waiting red dot...
ImageDSC_7962 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I gained height quickly and cut a slight diagonal which soon rewarded me with the west face of Beinn Tarsuinn and Beinn Nuis coming into view:
ImageDSC_7963 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Behind me Meall nan Damh, Kilbrannan Sound and Mull of Kintyre look grand:
ImageDSC_7968 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Meall nan Damh, I summit from left to right up the south east ridge a few weeks back but it wasn't as windy, by now it had picked up a bit:
ImageDSC_7969 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Still a wee bit to go...
ImageDSC_7971 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I enter a steeper boulder section and have to clamber up a few big ones which is great fun:
ImageDSC_7973 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I look back for the waiting red dot... except it's not waiting and has already started heading back down the glen!
ImageDSC_7978 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On my right the A'Chir Ridge is now in view, it looks superb when seen from the west:
ImageDSC_7986 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_7995 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Tarsuinn looks great from here too:
ImageDSC_7996 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I'm now high enough up to see over to the Paps of Jura:
ImageDSC_8000 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Eventually the gradient levels a bit and the boulders get smaller as I head up the large round summit plateau:
ImageDSC_8002 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Glen Iorsa and Iorsa water snaking down to the south, with the pointy peak being Sail Chalmadale, another great hill I was on back in February:
ImageDSC_8005 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

To the south west over middle Beinn Tarsuinn is Beinn Bharrain:
ImageDSC_8006 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Sail Chalmadale summit and the end of the Mull of Kintyre behind it
ImageDSC_8008 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Mullach Buidhe of Beinn Bharrain:
ImageDSC_8009 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Almost there but as it's a Meall I know the better view of the Corbetts will be further east from the summit cairn so I don't head straight for it:
ImageDSC_8013 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I'm quickly rewarded...
ImageDSC_8015 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Result, a grandstand view of the high Corbetts ridge, no Goatfell required today thanks, the view from left to right running from Caisteal Abhail to Cir Mhór's Matterhorn side, the A'Chir Ridge, Consolation Tor, Beinn Tarsuinn over to Beinn Nuis is more than enough for me! :D
ImageDSC_8019 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The view south isn't too shabby either...
ImageDSC_8021 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

South west and the full ridge of Beinn Bharrain provides the alternative to the rocky Corbett ridges with smooth Graham curves:
ImageDSC_8023 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It was fairly gusty now and chilly despite the sunshine due to the elevation, I take a few close ups of the Corbetts before heading for the cairn.

Caisteal Abhail:
ImageDSC_8027 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Cir Mhór... no more words needed:
ImageDSC_8029 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

A'Chir... I will be enjoying you sometime soon:
ImageDSC_8034 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Tarsuinn:
ImageDSC_8036 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Nuis, the small hill in the background far right is Ard Bheinn:
ImageDSC_8038 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the way to the summit cairn I spot that a large rock not far away looks to be higher, so head to that as it is clearly the highest point and hill-bagging would later confirm this. The view west to Islay, Meall nan Damh, Jura and the cairn:
ImageDSC_8039 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

To be fair it's such a large curved summit that any number of large stones could be higher than the other! :lol:

It's underrated and not popular but you know what, I like Beinn Bhreac...
ImageDSC_8048 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

South:
ImageDSC_8051 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The hills around Glen Catacol are fantastic for appreciating both sets of hills on the east and west of the island:
ImageDSC_8052 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

West:
ImageDSC_8053 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Corbetts and cairn, an epic exposed high level scrambling ridge walk:
ImageDSC_8055 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Graham and tops, a very enjoyable high level stroll but it even has a scrambling ridge on the other side:
ImageDSC_8059 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Continuing my look around clockwise:
ImageDSC_8061 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The three tops ahead, I decide i'll save them for another day and drop back doen into Gleann Diomhan to try and catch up with Y after i've enjoyed a little more time on this top notch viewing platform:
ImageDSC_8063 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Towards Lochranza to the north:
ImageDSC_8064 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The rounded hill to the north east is Creag Ghlas Laggan, another brilliant Marilyn viewpoint on the island:
ImageDSC_8066 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

East:
ImageDSC_8068 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

And that's us back to the big hills, Caisteal Abhail in full view from the west, showing it's bulky rounded north west face, Cir Mhór:
ImageDSC_8069 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I enjoy the view of the Corbetts and cairn before setting off down the easy going north west side from Beinn Bhreac's top. Bheinn Bhiorach and Meall Mór up ahead, i'll be back for you two another day...
ImageDSC_8086 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the right is a large square cairn or memorial but I decide to continue on:
ImageDSC_8087 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Bheinn Bhiorach and Meall Mór almost close enough to touch:
ImageDSC_8088 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

While heading along towards the steeper drop into the glen...
ImageDSC_8089 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Movement! Well camouflaged:
ImageDSC_8092 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I head down beside a burn coming down the hillside into Gleann Diomhan to rejoin the path again:
ImageDSC_8096 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The descent isn't that bad although I do wish I had one of the walking poles I left in the car, I resolve to always take one from now on regardless of the walk:
ImageDSC_8097 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I make fast progress:
ImageDSC_8100 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8102 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Into the reserve...
ImageDSC_8103 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Out of the reserve...
ImageDSC_8108 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

While heading along at a fairly brisk pace I keep expecting to find Y around the next corner and even stop to attach the zoom lens and still can't spot her, strange, I expect to have caught up with her by now... thoughts of me somehow overtaking her are now on my mind and I really hope I don't get back to the car only to have to head back for her! :crazy:
ImageDSC_8109 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I have no phone signal but text asking if she's on her way back to the car and wait for it to send when a signal appears as I continue along. Around about here I receive a text confirming she's on the way back, but i'm now at the final few turns before the bridge and she's still not in front of me... hmmm...
ImageDSC_8110 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the left I spot a camper van at the car park on the other side of the burn, but it's shallow and low enough that I decide to cross over there and then, giving the boots a clean in the process. I pass the campervan and arrive at the car, only to see Y sit down on the bench outside the car park, I had beaten her to it at the final stretch due to my last minute burn crossing!! :lol:

She's as surprised to see me as I am to see her and we laugh about it while both wondering how on earth we never saw each other as she was also looking back expecting to see me! :lol: :lol:

Glen Catacol definitely has something about it, well worth a visit and Beinn Bhreac is too, next time i'll be adding in some neighbours on a future visit.

Unfortunately the boots problem meant that was all the walking we'd get done so no Mullach Mor or Tighvein for me over the next two days but it wasn't all bad as we got to take full advantage of 20 plus degree heat down the beaches! 8) :D

ImageDSC_8114 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8472 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8479 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Next time... :wink:
ImageDSC_8480 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
User avatar
Chris Mac
 
Posts: 821
Munros:40   Corbetts:22
Grahams:10   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:50   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:10   
Joined: Sep 11, 2014

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free


Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: fionaedwards99, jameshardy, padraig1926 and 63 guests