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Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur


Postby Riverman » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Route description: Goatfell, from Brodick Castle

Munros included on this walk: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stuc a'Chroin

Corbetts included on this walk: Cir Mhor, Goat Fell

Date walked: 07/08/2018

Distance: 47.65 km

Ascent: 3202m

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It’s been over a year since I left the UK to settle in Belgium. While I’ve managed a couple of trips to the Alps with the Belgian Alpine Club, visits back to Scotland are a rare treat these days and my munro bagging has definitely slowed down. In 2017 I didn’t set foot in Scotland. In February 2018 I made it up to the north west for some fantastic winter days on An Teallach and Liathach though and was lucky enough to get another week in the Scottish hills in August. My wife and I had been invited to a family wedding at Luss and we decided to spend a week’s holiday on Arran afterwards where I would enjoy my first experience of leading a rock climb without the presence of a guide or more experienced climber.

Ben Vorlich & Stuc a’Chroin // 3 August 2018 // 16.2km // 1228m ascent // 5hr 25min

The day before the wedding at Luss I’d promised to climb the Cobbler with Mrs Riverman. However, our plans changed at the last minute after learning of the new rip-off parking charges at Arrochar and we drove over to Loch Earn to climb Ben Vorlich instead. This was Mrs Riverman’s first ever munro and while she enjoyed the walk up she had no interest in joining me on the easy scramble over to Stuc a’ Chroin so headed back downhill while I went over to the second munro. Stuc a’ Chroin definitely adds some interest to the day and I was pleased to paint this little corner of Perthshire blue.

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Stuc a' Chroin

Glenashdale Falls Arran // 6 August 2018 // 4.75km // 152m ascent // 2hr

After the wedding of my wife’s cousin at Luss we headed over to Arran where we had booked a cottage for a week with my sister in law and her partner. They planned to spend a couple of days cycling and to join me on a scramble / rock climb later in the week. But on our first day on the island all four of us took a leisurely stroll up to Glenashdale falls together. A great little walk.

Cir Mhor via Cubic Gully Spur // 7 August 2018 // 14.6km // 918m ascent // 7 hr

Since setting my sights on alpine objectives and spending more and more time in the Alps I’ve begun to do a little more rock climbing. While I harbour no ambitions at all to climb at an advanced level I do want to become a sufficiently good rock climber to be able to lead the odd pitches that might be encountered on PD or AD alpine routes.

I’ve now climbed as a second up to Hard Severe (HS) but still have only very limited experience as a leader. Back in May I spent a weekend in Snowdonia practising leading with a guide and also managed to get out on some crags in Belgium in June climbing second on some slightly harder single pitch routes. By August, on Arran, I felt ready to put my leading skills to the test on a harder scramble / easier rock climb. Mrs Riverman is an (occasional) walker and certainly not a scrambler or climber but her sister and her partner have both done some scrambling and were happy for me to lead them on an easy route.

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Cubic Gully Spur is the rubble strewn line to the right above the gully

I had initially planned for us to do the A Chir ridge traverse together but since neither Nicola or Joe had abseiled before and knowing that the bad step on that ridge would likely need to be abseiled, I settled instead for Cubic Gully Spur on the south face of Chir Mor. An easy rock climb, graded moderate (M) and eminently escapable, we accessed the start of the route by the very beautiful walk through Glen Rosa. The climb itself was pretty straightforward and large sections would have been easy enough to solo. However, the point of today’s exercise was for me to use the rope, practice gear placement and take responsibility for leading other climbers.

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Nicola and Joe

The first pitch was certainly the hardest (not so much difficult as awkward) and I fumbled about for a while at the top of the pitch looking for decent gear placements with which to build a belay. I found no decent cracks for nut placements but I was able to use a direct belay around a large rock to bring up Nicola and Joe. Indeed on nearly all the subsequent pitches I used direct belays (round rocks, or body belays from a sitting stance) rather than indirect belays due to the sparsity of decent cracks for nuts.

As I moved up the route I tried to place as much gear as possible simply for the practice. I carried a mixture of nuts and hexes. Most of the gear I placed stuck and the big hexes were certainly more useful than the nuts. I did manage to pull a couple of pieces of gear out as a climbed above them though. Obviously not ideal but if you’re going to make mistakes as a novice in trad leading then better to make them on this sort of (relatively) unserious ground than on some ridiculous vertical cliff.

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Cir Mhor

The sensation of climbing above the protection as the lead climber is radically different from climbing as the second. I was constantly aware of the seriousness of the undertaking and while at no point did I panic I felt a weight of responsibility that I have not felt before as the second person on the rope (invariably with a far more experienced leader ahead of me). Reaching the heathery section at the top we packed up the rope and strolled over to the summit where we encountered the first other hill-goers we had met all day. Certainly reaching this summit required more mental effort than any other I’ve stood on and I had a different sense of achievement. The climb had gone well, if rather slowly, and I had kept my seconds safe.

I am still a very, very long way from the level I want to be at in terms of my lead climbing but this was a first, small step in the right direction.

Goatfell // 8 August 2018 // 12.1km // 904m ascent // 5 hr

The day before while I was on Cir Mhor with Nic and Joe, Mrs Riverman had made a visit to Brodick castle. While climbing is definitely not her thing she was keen to do the walk up Goatfell and I was happy to join her. Setting out from our accommodation near the co-op in Brodick we crossed the beach on our way to the trailhead and I realised that this was the first time in my life that I had made a true sea level start in Scotland in that sea water actually wet my boots at the start of the walk. The weather was fair and there were plenty of walkers on the path. Views from the summit were impressive and it was great to get a different perspective on the previous day’s summit.

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Goatfell

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Goatfell summit panorama

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Goatfell summit panorama

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Goatfell summit panorama
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Riverman
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby Chris Mac » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:11 am

Nice report and you took some cracking photos, especially Cìr Mhòr from Glen Rosa. :clap:

I'm very interested in the Cubic Gulley Spur, do you have a GPX route of your walk you could send me or can you let me know the line of ascent on a map or website? Are ropes required or could the whole route be scrambled? Cheers.
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Chris Mac
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby gaffr » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:01 am

I guess that your route is to the left of the very classical line of Souwester slabs? I have not been further to the left of the slabs route in the terrain as show in your image. It was fifty two years ago when I was drawn to the line of the South Ridge of the Rosa Pinnacle a route that we enjoyed so much that a couple of return visits to the climb were made. For me the hill of Chir Mhor is one of the finest in Scotland when approached from Glen Rosa. There are several other classical climbs on Chir Mhor that are well worth spending time on. On a day of sunshine and the southerly aspect of the Ridge it is a joy to be on the rocks.
I do recall a route description in the guidebook for Cubic Ridge....we didn't reach that one.
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gaffr
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby prog99 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:55 am

Theres cubic ridge (diff) which is further left of Calibans Creep. Don't see a Cubic Guly spur but could be the same thing.
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby Riverman » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:08 pm

Chris Mac wrote:Nice report and you took some cracking photos, especially Cìr Mhòr from Glen Rosa. :clap:

I'm very interested in the Cubic Gulley Spur, do you have a GPX route of your walk you could send me or can you let me know the line of ascent on a map or website? Are ropes required or could the whole route be scrambled? Cheers.


Thanks. I think I do have a GPX track. Will dig it out and post. I found the route in the new edition of SMC scrambles Highlands South. To be honest, better climbers than me would waltz up this without ropes and I would say it was more of a scramble than a true rock climb.

Cir Mhor is a really stunning mountain and I'd love to return to climb some of the other routes on its south face.
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:18 pm

Great stuff, and good to see that you haven't forgotten the "lowlands" of Scotland, now you're in the heights of Belgium!

Arran is just such a wonderful place, and an hour or two of scrambling or climbing can only add icing to the already delicious cake.
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby Chris Mac » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:04 pm

Riverman wrote:
Chris Mac wrote:Nice report and you took some cracking photos, especially Cìr Mhòr from Glen Rosa. :clap:

I'm very interested in the Cubic Gulley Spur, do you have a GPX route of your walk you could send me or can you let me know the line of ascent on a map or website? Are ropes required or could the whole route be scrambled? Cheers.


Thanks. I think I do have a GPX track. Will dig it out and post. I found the route in the new edition of SMC scrambles Highlands South. To be honest, better climbers than me would waltz up this without ropes and I would say it was more of a scramble than a true rock climb.

Cir Mhor is a really stunning mountain and I'd love to return to climb some of the other routes on its south face.

Thanks very much that would be great if you could send it on, I can pm you my email address.

I've got my eye on a scrambling book so will be sure to pick it up soon, good to know the route can be scrambled the whole way it looks like a great line, cheers! :D
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby prog99 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:26 pm

A gpx track isn’t really needed. Follow the good path up Glen Rosa and branch off right to the bottom of the big pointy hill. Believe me you can’t miss it!
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby Chris Mac » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:37 pm

prog99 wrote:A gpx track isn’t really needed. Follow the good path up Glen Rosa and branch off right to the bottom of the big pointy hill. Believe me you can’t miss it!

Haha, I just fancy a good nosey at the route so I can get excited about it since i'm not heading back home for a good few weeks or more. It looks pretty obvious from the photo so that's my main reference but a GPX will be useful for my first time doing it.

I'm planning on heading up A'Chir when i'm back but i'm definitely checking out this route too and may start with it then do the A'Chir ridge from north to south instead now. :D
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Re: Cir Mhor (Arran) via Cubic Gully Spur

Postby Riverman » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:54 pm


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

Now with GPX file
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