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Arran 1: the Barren Hill

Arran 1: the Barren Hill


Postby 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: 976m

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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.

Image
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.

Image
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.

Image
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.

Image
043 Beinn Bharrain ridges by prwild, on Flickr

The initial ascent was steep and rocky.

Image
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.

Image
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.

Image
045 Beinn Bharrain Panorama by prwild, on Flickr

But immediately before us the castles barred our way to the summit ridge.

Image046 The Castles by prwild, on Flickr

There was a good path in places on the approach to the castles.

Image
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.

Image
048 Keith takes the high road by prwild, on Flickr

Whilst I took the low road.

Image
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.

Image
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.

Image
051 On a tor near the summit by prwild, on Flickr

We soon reached the summit, which had quite a crowd of picnickers.

Image
054 Summit group by prwild, on Flickr

The summit trig was a bit eroded.

Image
052 Summit trig by prwild, on Flickr

From here there was a fine view across to the Arran Corbetts.

Image
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.

Image
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.

Image
056 Along the main ridge to Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr

But there were great views all the way.

Image
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.

Image
058 Paps of Jura from Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr

Image
059 Phil on Beinn Breac summit by prwild, on Flickr

Image
060 Keith on Beinn Breac summit by prwild, on Flickr

From here we headed West, intending to descend direct towards Pirnmill.

Image
061 Mullach Buidhe from Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr

Image
062 Main Arran hills from Beinn Breac by prwild, on Flickr

Image
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.

Image
064 Keith looks across the Kilbrannan Sound by prwild, on Flickr

Image
065 Looking back from Meall Biorach by prwild, on Flickr

Image
066 Mullach Buidhe and Beinn Bharrain from Meall Biorach by prwild, on Flickr

The path descended to Fhion Lochan.

Image
068 Fhion Lochan by prwild, on Flickr

Time for a refreshing paddle after a hot day's walking.

Image
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.

Image
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.

Image
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.
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Phil the Hill
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Re: Arran 1: the Barren Hill

Postby hills » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:08 pm

Great report, good to see this hill again, enjoyed this walk. :D
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hills
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Re: Arran 1: the Barren Hill

Postby fergie » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:51 am

came across this whilst looking for a walk on arran that was a wee bit different from my usual. great report and brilliant pics too. one small point, beinn bharrain doesnt mean barren hill, it most probably refers to the shape of its summit. :)
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Re: Arran 1: the Barren Hill

Postby malky_c » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:58 pm

Brilliant! Missed this at the time - some of the best photos I've seen of the ridge you went up. Looking forward to going to Arran again someday :)
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Re: Arran 1: the Barren Hill

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:06 pm

Missed out doing this walk when i visited Arran a couple of years ago, good reason to return. Photos are superb :D
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Johnny Corbett
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Re: Arran 1: the Barren Hill

Postby Phil the Hill » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:04 pm

Thanks for the recent positive comments everyone.

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.
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Phil the Hill
Walker
 
Posts: 343
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Re: Arran 1: the Barren Hill

Postby fergie » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:47 pm

no worries mate! :) guide books and particularly the OS were famous for murdering gaelic place names! things are getting better, see 'ainmean aite na h-alba' : www.gaelicplacenames.org if you have an interest. really looking forward to doing this walk once the weather improves a wee bit. would really love to gat as good a day as you did! :)
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Re: Arran 1: the Barren Hill

Postby Cuillin » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:51 pm

What a fantastic report, if I get a day as half as good as yours I would be over the moon!. Great shots of the pinnacle ridge which looks good fun. :D
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