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Isle of Arran: scrambling advice

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 waterfall 11 Sep 2021

Looking for some advice

Just landed on Arran, here till Thurs with the Mrs.  

The boss has allowed me two day of hikes, with one Goatfell.  I want to get a scramble in on one day, which would you recommend?  I read that A Chir ridge is grade 2, I am a little wary and wondering if it's outside of comfort zone.  Done a few on mainland (Jacks rake, tryffan, bristly ridge, etc etc) but not done the likes of crib goch yet - its exposure that does me, but don't want to go home and miss out

any thoughts , comments , advice, appreciated as always

Adam

Post edited at 20:30
 Jon Stewart 11 Sep 2021
In reply to waterfall:

I'd do either the horseshoe of Glen Rosa, or of Glen Sannox, depending on which is more convenient. Both involve some great bits of scrambling - Glen Rosa more so because it includes the A'Chir ridge. I thought that might be a bit harder than grade 2 - it's got a cruxy bit. I did it both in directions before I had any climbing experience so it can't be particularly difficult. Great mountain days whichever you do.

Edit: these are pretty ambitious mountain days - you can cut either one short, but if you only do half of the Sannox round, you might find the walk down the Glen a bit boggy. 

Post edited at 20:59
 Jmacquarrie 11 Sep 2021
In reply to waterfall:

If you're not that keen on exposure I'd leave A'Chir for another time. I've done it a fair few times over the years and it's a definite step up from the scrambles you mention, I'd say Grade 3 not Grade 2. Also there's no bypass option for the bad step unless you abseil it going South - North.

From Goatfell if you head north along the ridge the towers provide some good scrambling, then from North Goatfell you can head down towards the Saddle and back down Glen Rosa or keep going towards Cioch na h-Oighe and down (it's steep!) bringing you out at Glen Sannox.

There's also the Witches Step heading north east along the ridge from Casteal Abhail which is good fun and does have a bypass option if you get to it and don't fancy it (or it starts tipping it like the last time I was there).

Edit: have been reminded further down the thread the Witches Step is fairly tough so probably not one to do either.

Post edited at 21:26
 DaveHK 11 Sep 2021
In reply to Jmacquarrie:

> There's also the Witches Step heading north east along the ridge from Casteal Abhail which is good fun and does have a bypass option if you get to it and don't fancy it (or it starts tipping it like the last time I was there). 

I thought it was diff to go over the Witches Step? I remember it being awkward too so I'd definitely recommend the bypass for someone who was concerned about grade 2 scrambling being outwith their comfort zone.

Post edited at 21:17
 Jon Stewart 11 Sep 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

> I thought it was diff to go over the Witches Step? Only short but I'd definitely recommend the bypass for someone who was concerned about grade 2 scrambling being outwith their comfort zone.

I bum-slid down it with no climbing experience (this is a while ago). Could be diff going up I guess? Either way it would be better to skip it if not wanting more than grade 1.

 Jmacquarrie 11 Sep 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Fair point, it's been a few years so I probably have glossed over the hard bits in my mind! I didn't find it that bad but you're right it's not really a good suggestion for the OP.

The crux is right at the bottom at least, I remember that bit. I'm back on Arran for a week in October so time for another go I think.

Edit: and hopefully that helpful sling someone had left at the crux is still there.

Post edited at 21:24
 olddirtydoggy 11 Sep 2021
In reply to waterfall:

Do the extended horseshoe starting at North Sannox bridge, getting onto the ridge and scrambling over the witches step. Head south at Caisteal Abhail down to Cir Mhor and smash Beinn Tarsuinn. Turn SE towards Glen Rosa and follow the river back to the road where you can thumb a lift back to the car.

Fast and light I found worked well for me. Great long day out.

Post edited at 21:30
 gravy 11 Sep 2021
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

A'Chir definitely has a few highly exposed moments which are fall off-able and not easily protectable. 

Plus there is the chance of needing to ab off at one point (if you don't know the way to climb the bad step down which is quite tricky if you're not familiar with it because you can't see the holds - maybe a selfie stick and a mirror helps!).

The ab is around the corner and not 100% obvious and I think you need a 40m rope although maybe a 30 will do (the ab isn't down the bad step it's around to the right and back as you go in NE way round). 

I've never done it backwards (SW) but my gut feeling is the bad step is a lot easier this way because you can see the holds but the other airy bits I don't know if they get easier or harder.

It's fab though (but not somewhere I'd recommend unless you felt confident with grade 3 and a bit of climbing).

 Jmacquarrie 11 Sep 2021

> I've never done it backwards (SW) but my gut feeling is the bad step is a lot easier this way because you can see the holds but the other airy bits I don't know if they get easier or harder.

For the bad step as you're climbing up the short wall at the end of the rib rather than down it's easier going North - South but getting onto the rib from the notch at the bottom is a right pain especially with a rucksack on, nearly got wedged against the overhang above last time (ended up slinging the bag into th groove in front of me and clambering after it). It is only a metre or 2 above the ground at least at that point.

 waterfall 11 Sep 2021

Thanks for all the comments, I think it's above my pay grade currently based on above, good to get everyones feedback - thank you

in terms of alternatives, the saddle has been recommended and is also in the book I have.  is this the general consensus or are the others I should consider?

Post edited at 22:19
 olddirtydoggy 11 Sep 2021
In reply to gravy:

Actually you're probably right, it was some time back but so damn good.

What about a hike up the bastion from Sannox over to Goat fell and back down again?

 waterfall 12 Sep 2021

after further research, tomorrow we are going to do:

Coire na ciche, cioch na h oighe, mullach buidhe, north goatfell, goatfell , meall breac

in that order

book 41 (Sannox, Goatfell and Corrie) from walking on Arran, Cicerone

I think this should be do able, please shout up if you think not!  yes there are some exposed bit's but it doesn't look too technical

thanks

 Jmacquarrie 12 Sep 2021
In reply to waterfall:

That sounds good, if you want some scrambling you can go over the towers between N Goatfell and Goatfell or you can bypass them to the east side.

There's a bit from cioch na h oighe onwards that's a bit scrambly but nothing serious, it's a good day with fabulous views if the weather is kind.

Post edited at 10:07
 fmck 12 Sep 2021
In reply to waterfall:

Mullach Buidhe via Barnacle ridge is an often missed ridge walk on Arran. It is a scramble with some exposed sections up a narrow ridge. Its a lot more accessible than the others and should be reached in  less than an hour. The lower walk in is nice but if short for time the new hydro track will get you up there quick. It's also easy to bypass any pinnacles on the right if you feel a bit intimidated of some which are a tad scary  

 fmck 12 Sep 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

> I thought it was diff to go over the Witches Step? I remember it being awkward too so I'd definitely recommend the bypass for someone who was concerned about grade 2 scrambling being outwith their comfort zone.

It was the first recorded rock climb on Arran. There's a picture showing Victorians down climbing it and the woman in full length Victorian attire.


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