Isle of Arran Walks
Date: 15th Sept 2006
Distance: 9.5 miles
Ascent: 3410 feet
Time: 6 hours 30 mins
Start Grid Ref: NS016454
Route Summary: Sannox Bay - Coire na Ciche - Cioch na h-Oighe - Mullach Buidhe - North Goatfell - Goatfell - Meall Breac - High Corrie - Corrie - Sannox Bay
Walk Summary: We had waited all week for good weather to climb Goatfell and just when it looked like we had run out of days this, our final day of the holiday, proved to be a glorious one.
The initial walk into Glen Sannox was pleasant but the moorland heading towards Coire na h-Oighe proved to be more awkard than anticipated as there were numerous paths criss crossing the moor. This made me a bit nervous because I had read how important it was that we got on to the correct path for the forthcoming climb. The climb itself proved to be very enjoyable even if there were a few adrenaline moments on some of the more exposed scrambles. I was particularly worried about Lisa and sometimes her scrambling technique made me even twitchier.
Rather surprisingly considering the steep gradients we saw some deer just as we approached the summit of Cioch na h-Oighe but they disappeared quickly. The summit, the first of three on Cioch na h-Oighe was an exhilarating place to be while the walk along the ridge was very exciting. It was a good job that it was not a windy day though because it would not have taken much to blow us off the ridge as it was exposed and narrow.
After the final top of Cioch na h-Oighe the ridge broadened out to begin the climb up on to Mullach Buidhe. The most notable feature of this top were the numerous rocky tors projecting over the steep fall into Glen Sannox. As we progressed the views of Goatfell, North Goatfell, Cir Mor and Caisteal Abhail improved all the time.
After stopping for a while we moved on to North Goatfell which was a short steep climb followed by a mini scramble to attain the top. It was a nice little summit but we did not linger too long before heading across the Stacach ridge to Goatfell, a prime target for me since Lisa and I had made a day trip to the island two years before.
After bypassing some of the tors on the ridge we began the climb up to Goatfell with Lisa proving to be fitter than me on this stage. While it might not be as impressive looking as say Cir Mor it is still a fine mountain and the summit did it full justice. We could see the whole of Arran, across to the Paps of Jura, the mountains around Loch Lomond, as well as the Ayrshire coast. We stayed up there a fair while and in truth I could have stayed much longer.
When we finally left the top we descended the long eastern ridge to Meall Breac where we descended down to Corrie Burn which we then followed for what seemed a long time to Corrie itself. In Corrie I bought us both a cold drink and we sat opposite the fake seal on the rock. Later, during the walk along the road back to Sannox we saw some some real seals.
While the start and end of the walk were nothing much to get excited about the section from the beginning of the ascent of Cioch na h-Oighe to the summit of Goatfell was undoubtedly amongst the very best sections of walking and climbing that I have yet done. The scenery was amazing and made the whole holiday worthwhile.
1. The entrance to Glen Sannox
2. Looking back down to Sannox Bay from the climb up Cioch na h-Oighe
3. Looking along the ridge to Mullach Buidhe
4. Lisa descending the first top on Cioch na h-Oighe
5. Looking back at the short but exciting Cioch na h-Oighe ridge
6. Cir Mhor
7. Approaching the top of Mullach Buidhe
8. Brodick Bay and Holy Island
9. Lisa on the top of Mullach Buidhe
10. Goatfell from Mullach Buidhe
11. Cir Mhor and Caisteal Abhail
12. Looking back at Mullach Buidhe
13. On North Goatfell
14. Coire Lan
15. North Goatfell
16. Me and Lisa on the summit of Goatfell
17. Brodick Bay and Holy Island from Goatfell
18. On the Meall Breac ridge
19. Looking back up at Goatfell
20. Looking south along the coast towards Holy Island