West Glen Rosa including A Chir and Cir Mhor

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The mountains in the north of Arran are a magnet for walkers and mountaineers and rightly so. Arran is often described as 'Scotland in miniature' and at first glance the mountains look a bit on the miniature side as well, with only half a dozen peaks topping 800 metres. Remember though, that most walks start at sea level and that there are often long descents and ascents between peaks. As if this wasn't enough, the classic ridge routes often have technical difficulties requiring scrambling or even rock-climbing skills.

This route takes in much of the rocky ridge that forms the west side of Glen Rosa. Starting from near Brodick Castle, the route heads into lower Glen Rosa before starting to gain height. The summit of Cnoc Breac is followed by Beinn a' Chliabhain. The route then heads towards Beinn Tarsuinn, but turns away from this peak to head towards A Chir.

The traverse of the A Chir ridge is one of the finest ridge routes on the island, if not the whole of the UK. It is mostly at the upper end of scrambling grades and the descent of the famous 'Bad Step' is difficult enough to consider abseiling, especially if the weather and rock is wet. Fortunately the ridge can be avoided by a neat path that avoids the technical difficulties, allowing further progress to Cir Mhor.

Cir Mhor is one of the peaks that just fail to reach 800 metres. As always, size isn't everything and not only is the hill more interesting than some of its higher neighbours, but it also attracts fewer people, unlike its big brother, Goatfell. The ascent by the South-West Ridge is straightforward, giving easy access to the summit. However, the descent of the East Ridge to The Saddle is anything but straightforward and a safer and easier alternative is given in the route description.

There are several options that could be considered. Part of Route 4836 could be used, to include Beinn Nuis and Beinn Tarsuinn, before joining the A Chir section. A Chir can be traversed or avoided and the Cir Mhor section can be continued over The Saddle to join Route 519, including Goatfell, making a horseshoe route and a big mountain day.

Many however, will be glad to stick to the route given in the description, allowing a trip into some of the finest mountain scenery in the UK, without any serious technical difficulty; a fine day out, whichever way you choose.

Scotland - South Scotland - Ayrshire and Arran - Countryside


Great Views, Hills or Fells, Woodland