Arran 1: the Barren Hill
by Phil the Hill » Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:05 pm
Route description: Pirnmill Hills: Mullach Buidhe of Beinn Bharrain
Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Bharrain
Date walked: 28/05/2012
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 13.2 km
Ascent: 976m3 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).
Beinn Bharrain (the Barren Hill) was my first hill on Arran. This was because half of our party were on a geology trip for the first half of the week. Keith and I were not interested in spending a lot of time looking at rocks and would rather go up hills, but were under instructions to save the Corbetts until the others joined us. I therefore picked this interesting-looking Graham with a scrambly ridge for our first ascent. I'd got a good view of it from the Claonaig ferry the day before, and it looked like it woud provide a good high-level ridge route with views across to the Arran Corbetts.
040 Beinn Bharrain from ferry by prwild, on Flickr
Fortunately, the weather held for today, so after dropping off the others for a geology walk from Lochranza to see some unconformity, Keith and I headed on to Pirnmill.
041 Lochranza by prwild, on Flickr
The rocks in the water in the above shot of Lochranza were in fact seals!
On reaching Pirnmill at 11:00 a.m., we parked by the bridge where the stream flowed into the sea and followed the path shown on the Harvey map up a narrow lane and over a stile into some trees, eventually emerging onto open moorland with Beinn Bharrain ahead.
042 Allt Gobhlach by prwild, on Flickr
We followed the Allt Goblach up to a suitable crossing point and headed for the middle ridge, which was definitely looking the most interesting from the approach.
043 Beinn Bharrain ridges by prwild, on Flickr
The initial ascent was steep and rocky.
044 Approaching the ridge by prwild, on Flickr
As we climbed, the Paps of Jura came into view beyond the Mull of Kintyre behind us.
044 Paps of Jura by prwild, on Flickr
On reaching the top, the whole of Beinn Bharrain was arrayed before us, with the Arran Corbetts visible beyond.
045 Beinn Bharrain Panorama by prwild, on Flickr
But immediately before us the castles barred our way to the summit ridge.
046 The Castles by prwild, on Flickr
There was a good path in places on the approach to the castles.
047 on the ridge by prwild, on Flickr
I scrambled over the first castle with Keith. I found the crix point of this tricky, and Keith had to offer me a hand to pull me up. I was wearing shorts in the heat, and grazed my legs on the rough granite as I tried to pull myself up. I decided I had reached my limit and bypassed the next castle. Keith now took the high road.
048 Keith takes the high road by prwild, on Flickr
Whilst I took the low road.
049 I take the low road by prwild, on Flickr
On climbing back up to meet Keith he merely commented that I had made the right choice. Apparently there were some trickier bits further along, which he had traversed without difficulty but I would have struggled on.
050 Looking back at the ridge by prwild, on Flickr
On the main ridge above where our ridge joined was a tor giving commanding views across Kilbrannan Sound to Kintyre, Jura and Islay. I could see further large hills to the South West beyond the Mull of Kintyre. Presumably these were the Mountains of Morne in Northern Ireland.
051 On a tor near the summit by prwild, on Flickr
We soon reached the summit, which had quite a crowd of picnickers.
054 Summit group by prwild, on Flickr
The summit trig was a bit eroded.
052 Summit trig by prwild, on Flickr
From here there was a fine view across to the Arran Corbetts.
053 Vertical Panorama of main Arran hills by prwild, on Flickr
We didn't bother to double back to the eponymous 717m point of Beinn Bharrain, but headed on East and North to the 711m top of Beinn Breac.
055 Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr
We'd assumed this would be a nice level traverse, but once on the main ridge it seemed always to be down or up.
056 Along the main ridge to Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr
But there were great views all the way.
057 The main Arran hills across Loch Tanna by prwild, on Flickr
The Paps of Jura were a bit clearer when we reached Beinn Breac.
058 Paps of Jura from Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr
059 Phil on Beinn Breac summit by prwild, on Flickr
060 Keith on Beinn Breac summit by prwild, on Flickr
From here we headed West, intending to descend direct towards Pirnmill.
061 Mullach Buidhe from Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr
062 Main Arran hills from Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr
063 Fhion Lochan and Meall nan Diamh by prwild, on Flickr
But the path was bearing round to the North over the 551m point of Meall Biorach, so we decided to stick with it, as the heathery moorland below didn't look much fun to cross.
064 Keith looks across the Kilbrannan Sound by prwild, on Flickr
065 Looking back from Meall Biorach by prwild, on Flickr
066 Mullach Buidhe and Beinn Bharrain from Meall Biorach by prwild, on Flickr
The path descended to Fhion Lochan.
068 Fhion Lochan by prwild, on Flickr
Time for a refreshing paddle after a hot day's walking.
067 Paddling in Fhion Lochan by prwild, on Flickr
This was clearly a popular spot, as there was a good path following the stream back down.
069 The path down from Fhion Lochan by prwild, on Flickr
It took us to Thundergay rather than Pirnmill, but a short walk back along the road by the coast seemed preferable to striking across the heather.
070 Thundergay by prwild, on Flickr
The last mile and a bit was therefore road walking, but it was pleasant enough by the shore.
This was my first mountain walk in my Inov8 running shoes. So far I had only used them for short walks around home and on the North Downs Way. They coped fine with this route and were great for scrambling on the granite with their studs, but we were fortunate with the weather and I would have got wet feet if it had been at all boggy rather than bone dry. I normally run downhill sections when suitable, and had got them with this in mind, but didn't do so today as I was with Keith.
by hills » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:08 pm
by fergie » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:51 am
- Posts: 2
- Joined: Jan 23, 2013
by malky_c » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:58 pm
by Johnny Corbett » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:06 pm
by Phil the Hill » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:04 pm
I took the photos with my (then) new Canon IXUS. Very pleased with the results - though it was hard to go wrong on a day like that. Paul even asked me if he could use a couple of the photos for the WH route on this hill.
Fergie, I'm sure I'd read in one of the guidebooks it meant "Barren Hill", but I stand corrected on the Gaelic. It was quite barren and rocky up there though.
I'm still working through all my photos from my Arran trip in June, and have a couple more reports still to do.
by fergie » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:47 pm
- Posts: 2
- Joined: Jan 23, 2013
by Cuillin » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:51 pm