Report on Arran Weekend
12 September 2009
Saturday 12th September
Craggy Crew: - Dorothy, Maureen, Lydia, Gail, Jacqui, Gillian, Irene, Mark, Kevin, Michael, Craig and Kenny.
The club were staying at the house in Sannox but I just went over on the Saturday morning on the 7am ferry with Maureen. It was a beautiful clear morning and the blue sky promised a sunny day. We joined the others and had a quick coffee, then changed into our boots and were off quite early.
We walked up Glen Sannox and crossed the bridge at 010454 and followed the path up the glen before heading up the grassy slopes towards Cnocan Donna and the foot of Suidhe Fearghlas. From here we picked up the path that zig zagged round to the north side of the hill eventually bringing us up to a wee flat bit. We sat here and had a wee snack while we took some photos of the excellent views. We then continued up the steep path to the summit of our first hill of the day. We took some more photos here and then continued on the path to (Ceum na Cailich) Witch?s Step. This looked quite fearsome from here. Some of us decided to take the path round the huge rocks to the gap but some of the more adventurous thought they would try to go over. We made our way round the by pass which was quite long and steep in places. When we reached the gap before the step, we sat down in glorious sunshine to wait for the others. They briefly popped their heads out near the top but there was no way down without ropes, so they had to retreat and pick up the path we had used. We then began the scary climb over the Witch?s Step. This required a fair bit of scrambling on hands and knees and a wee bit of help from Craig. It certainly was easier than it looked.
Once over that part, we continued along the path to Casteal Abhail, stopping on the way for lunch and to take in the cracking views. All too soon it was time to continue our journey and head over to the summit. We left our rucksacks and climbed onto the rocky summit to pose for some photos. We got some really good ones of Cir Mhor, Goatfell and North Goatfell. Eventually we scrambled back to our sacks and headed along the track to Carn Mhor and Creag Dubh. This was fairly easy going as it was downhill all the way from Sail an Im to the glen. We then continued through the glen, this was quite hard going through long, overgrown grass, bracken and heather. Maureen had a wee accident here when she fell down a hole, but luckily Kenny was on hand to pull her out, after he had stopped laughing, of course. Thankfully we reached the burn and we could see a good path on the other side. Craig and Kenny filled their water bottles here before we continued along this excellent path through North Glen Sannox till we reached the road.
It was a long 3 km along the tarmac road till we reached the cottage and a well earned, long, cold drink. The weather had been fantastic all day. We had our usual meal booked at the Sannox Bay Hotel, and were joined by Mike from Scottish Hills who was staying nearby in Corrie. Mike took a fantastic photo of us on the Witches Step from Cir Mhor.
Sunday 13th September
Today's Craggys:- Mark, Gail and Irene
This weekend's weather was the best we've had all summer. Everyone else decided to head for the early ferry home leaving the usual 3 Amigos behind who are never in a hurry to go anywhere!! So after pondering over my Walking on the Isle of Arran book by Paddy Dillon we settled for an easy day exploring the King's Caves at Blackwaterfoot.
So as we were taking it easy, we stopped for coffee at the local hotel before we set off, heading along the road to Shiskine Golf Club. Isn't it strange that Shiskine Golf Club is in Blackwaterfoot just like Corrie Golf Club is in Sannox.....confused?? Once we reached the club house we continued along the track ajacent to the first hole. It is worth watching out for stray balls as on the way back we saw someone slice a shot which bounced on the path and landed on the beach. The path then crossed the course and through a field full of the tamest sheep who totally ignored our presence.
The path descended down steeply to the beach beside a rockface which had a similar appearance to the columns of the Giants Causeway. The book suggests an optional route by going along a very narrow overgrown path directly below the cliffs. Well this is where there were plenty of expletives as we were getting stung all over by nettles and torn apart by brambles......not good when wearing shorts!!! If Paddy Dillon the author was with us I sure we would have told him a thing or two!!!
Anyway back on the path and eventually reached the caves....15 in total! The 6th cave in the series is the King's Cave and has a set of railings but the gate was open so we could explore. There we spent time looking at the ancient grafitti on the walls..... must have been vandals around hundreds of years ago.
After a well earned rest in the sun we headed back. We passed many piles of stones similar to what we remember seeing on the Holy Isle from a previous trip. Don't know why people do that??
Another good day and the King's Caves are worth a visit but remember DON'T take the optional route!
Dorothy McGhee and Irene Cahill