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Cir Mhor

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To continue the island theme, this week we venture over to the Island of Arran, to take in a classic ridge walk. I'm making the assumption that you may wish to begin and end at the same place, in this instance Brodick, where the boat lands. With a knowledge of public transport the walk can be extended to take in a third Corbett but here we'll curb our greed and stick to two. To stick rigidly to the ridge walk requires rock-climbing ability but the path safely and fairly obviously avoids all difficulties, particularly those on the A'Chir Ridge.

It's confession time; when I was a lad of 16, on a family holiday, I walked solo over all the hills on Arran, including the A'Chir Ridge. Amazing how daft you can be when young! I also attempted to solo one of the infamous Beinn Nuis gullies but this was really ignorant and I was probably lucky to reverse back down to safe ground in one piece…

The boat service to Arran runs several times daily from Ardrossan, connecting to a coach service from Edinburgh or a train service from Glasgow. (Te: Ardrossan 01294 463 470; Brodick 01770 302 166).

The walk takes in two Corbetts - Beinn Tarsuinn and Cir Mhor. Starting from Brodick (distance is calculated pier to pier) take the main road north through the village then the road to Blackwaterfoot for a short distance before turning into the narrow road up Glen Rosa. Follow the road then the continuing track (there are camping facilities by the river) which leads in 2 km to the confluence of the Glenrosa Water with the Garbh Allt. Just before this, a path will be seen on the left, rising diagonally up towards the Garbh Allt.

The burn is reached at a small dam, which provides a crossing point, to continue up a muddy path on the north flank of the burn. About 700m further on, cross a tributary burn which joins the Garbh Allt and go up its west bank for about 500m to reach a cairn marking the start of the path up the south-east ridge of Beinn Nuis. Great climbing cliffs are in view in several directions but we avoid these by crossing the coire to gain the shoulder and so wind our way up to the first summit of the day with Beinn Nuis (792m).

From Beinn Nuis summit, the north ridge leads easily in 1.5 km to the first Corbett, Beinn Tarsuinn (826m). The path now descends steeply down rocky ground, mainly on the west flank of the ridge and care is needed in poor visibility to keep to the path. This leads to the finely named Bealach an Fhir-bhogha (pass of the bowmen). Coire Daingean drops down to the east, with a good view over to Goatfell.

The next section of the route is the A'Chir Ridge and unless you can solo easy but exposed rock it's best to avoid the ridge by taking to the lower path on the west flank of the ridge. This makes a gradual descent of about 100m in all, passing under the slabby rocks of the ridge, to lead to the ridge again at the col between A'Chir and Cir Mhor.

From the col the SW ridge of Cir Mhor leads to its summit at 799m, with fine views over to the Rosa Pinnacle. To descend, it's possible to go back down the SW ridge to descend into the Fionn Choire from the col but better is to descend the east ridge of Cir Mhor to gain The Saddle. From there a path goes south to cross the Glenrosa Water in about 1.5 km and so on down the west bank to regain the outward path.


Maps: OS Sheet 69 'Isle of Arran'
Distance: 23 km
Ascent: 1200 m
Time: 5 hours
Food & Drink: Brodick has several hotels and a good range of accommodation if desired. There is of course the fish & chip shop at the pier.


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