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Report on Arran Weekend
Friday 23 - Sunday 25th April 2004

Cioch na h-Oighe - Suidhe Fhearghas Circuit

As is becoming traditional we met for lunch at the Hip Flask before boarding the 3.15 ferry. A few beers on journey over which presumably led to Kathryn's exclamation of "sharks!" as we travelled on the bus to Sannox.

After some discussion on Friday evening a few of us decided that the A'Chir ridge was not for us - a wise decision as Alan's account of that particular adventure will testify! So we decided to do a circuit of Cioch na h-Oighe, North Goatfell, Chir Mhor, Caisteal Abhail and Suidhe Fhearghas. Quite an ambitious route, but the weather forecast was OK, at least according to Kathryn!

We made good progress up Glen Sannox before heading south on to Cioch na h-Oighe, pausing only to watch our A'Chir bound colleagues negotiating their way up the glen below. Some good scrambling and eventually we made the summit. Any improvement in the weather looked unlikely as the mist swirled in and the wind was surprisingly strong. On we went to North Goatfell, and below us we think we spotted Pat, Gillian and Julie. A quick lunch before we descended to the Saddle at which point Linda decided to head down Glen Rosa to Brodick. Kenny also considered this option as it dawned on him just how long the circuit was, but he persevered, although I'm sure he said something about never listening to anything Kathryn and Steve said again! (Note to Kenny: it could have been worse, you could have been with Alan on the A'Chir!)

Up on to Chir Mhor and the long promised sunshine eventually materialised giving us the chance of another short break before setting off for the Castles, bringing back memories of Kenny's last walk when he took a more direct route up Caisteal Abhail from Glen Sannox! From here we made our way towards the Witch's Step. A good scramble down and then we skirted round Ceum na Caillich and headed for Suidhe Fhearghas, the last summit of the day. From here we could see the whole of our route around us as well as the long descent back to Sannox. A not dissimilar feeling to looking at the Ring of Steall, and on checking later, almost identical in terms of distance (10 miles) and height ascended (5,500 feet).

Off we strolled (OK, staggered!) down the steep east side of Suidhe Fearghas back into Glen Sannox. At the main road we naturally turned right towards the Sannox Bay Hotel meeting Irene and crowd as we walked up the road. It didn't take much persuasion to convince Michael to join us (temporarily forgetting his earlier advice over the radio to Kathryn about getting back in time to make dinner!).

The next day a few of us did the short ridge around Coire Fhion Lochain in excellent weather. After the exertions of the previous day it was a real struggle initially but once on the ridge the views were superb and we made good progress and finished up in Catacol (Linda - thanks for the lift!) in plenty of time for a couple of pints and a bite to eat.

Once again a really good weekend and thanks must go again to Irene for her organising it, and to all those who provided food. Roll on October for the next trip!

Steve Morley

Pregnant ?

Photos:  Steve Morley

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Mountaineering Council of Scotland
Scottish Youth Hostels Association

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