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An Arran Overnighter
by Christo1979 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:45 pm
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Tarsuinn, Cir Mhor
Date walked: 07/07/2018
Time taken: 9.5 hours
Distance: 25.3 km
Ascent: 1631m3 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).
NB. The time taken doesn't take into account an overnight bivvy - it is just the actual time spent walking
I caught an early afternoon ferry from Ardrossan Harbour to Brodick. The sunny weather showed no signs of leaving us, and the weather forecast was good - though whether or not that means good for for hillwalking is another question - no breeze and intense sun make for tiring walking! They say Arran is like the Highlands in miniature, and I could see what they mean as soon as the island came into view. The stunning peaks of the Goatfell range dominate the skyline even from a distance.
Approaching Arran by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Goatfell Range from Brodick by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
I set off mid-afternoon and followed the road out of Brodick, eventually turning off onto the track up to Glen Rosa campsite. It's at the campsite that the walk in my Cicerone guide begins properly. I planned to climb Beinn Nuis, then take in three of Arran's corbetts - Beinn Tarsuinn, Cir Mhòr, and Caisteal Abhail - and factor in an overnight bivvy somewhere along the way. The excellent path up Glen Rosa rises very gradually and soon the hills dominate the landscape around you.
Walking up Glen Rosa by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
After crossing a footbridge there is a fork in the path. The main route continues straight up Glen Rosa, and seems to be the more popular path. I turned immediately left, and followed the path up the steep valley, passing a couple of waterfalls. At Garbh Allt I crossed the burn and headed up to the stile that would set me on the path up to Beinn Nuis. I lost the actual path a couple of times but luckily you can't get lost - it's obvious which way is up to Beinn Nuis! This first ascent of the day took a lot longer than I imagined, due to the pretty intense heat. I drank more water than I think I've ever drunk in an afternoon in my life.
HIgh Stile from a Deep Hag by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Ascending Beinn Nuis by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
I found myself doing a bit of light scrambling on the way up Beinn Nuis, and there was a particularly steep drop on one side of the path as I neared the summit. Luckily, the paths on Arran are superb, and it is always clear where you need to be heading. Though Beinn Nuis isn't a corbett or indeed a hill to be 'ticked off', it was one of my favourite hills of the walk. Once I'd admired the views from the top, I took a little detour down the western slopes to locate the wreckage of a Boeing B-17 that crashed into the hillside in 1944.
Atop Beinn Nuis by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Wreckage of a Boeing B-17 on the slopes of Beinn Nuis by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
From Beinn Nuis the path took me up to the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn, my second ever corbett. Fantastic views, and by now a light breeze had picked-up, offering some welcome relief from the sun. I stayed a while at the summit, and by now it was early evening so I started giving thought to a place to spend the night. Since leaving the path in Glen Rosa, I hadn't seen another soul, and took a while longer to enjoy the solitude.
I veered from the path somewhat on the way down from Beinn Tarsuinn, which is through an unavoidably steep boulder field. this was because I needed to replenish my water supply, and the map showed a couple of streams down the western slopes. I decide to bivvy in the bealach between Beinn Tarsuinn and A' Chir. I found a small, level spot on the slopes and this meant I could lie and watch the sun go down in front of me, while being just metres from the ridge behind me where I could see the sun rise the next day. Perfect. In the morning I saw a herd of deer making their way down from Pagoda Ridge, but sadly the iphone camera wasn't up to capturing them!
Boulder Field on the way down Beinn Tarsuinn by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Bivvying at Bealach an Fhir-bhogha by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
I didn't fancy my chances on the A' Chir ridge, so took the lower path which traverses to the cairn at the northern end of the ridge. Even this walker's path was a little more difficult than I had thought, and involved a couple of steep sections with bits of scrambling. Taking into account my fitness levels, the heat, and the fact I had a long walk down Glen Rosa to make it back to Brodick, I took the sad decision not to press on to Caisteal Abhail. But I did push on up Cir Mhòr, where I met the first people since leaving Glen Rosa yesterday. Mainly climbers who were tackling the various faces of this 'Matterhorn of Arran'. The views from the tiny summit of Cir Mhòr were breathtaking.
Caisteal Abhail by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Glen Sannox from Cir Mhòr by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Retracing my steps down from Cir Mhòr, I left the saddle on the 'staircase' down to Fionn Choire. The views back up to Cir Mhòr were beautiful, and I felt a sense of pride that what was only my third corbett had been such an impressive peak. The long path back down Glen Rosa is excellent, and follows the Rosa Burn. The heat was still intense, and after stopping frequently to look back up at the Arran mountains, I decided to cool-off in one of many ice-cold pools in Rosa Burn. It was a perfect way to end a fantastic walk. A couple of hours later, I was back in Brodick and soon on the ferry back to the mainland. Arran is the finest place I have walked so far, and I can't wait to return.
The Mighty Cir Mhòr by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Cooling-off in Rosa Burn by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
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