Isle of Arran Walks
Date: 10th Sept 2006
Distance: 8.0 miles
Ascent: 3085 feet
Time: 4 hours 20 mins
Start Grid Ref: NR872441
Our first walk during our week on Arran was this exploration of the Pirnmill Hills which started from the front door of our cottage in Pirnmill.
Route Summary: Pirnmill - Meall Donn - Beinn Bhreac - Beinn Bharrain - Casteal na h-lolaire - Pirnmill
1. Beinn Bharrain
2. Lisa looking down to Coire Fhionn Lochan
3. Beinn Bhreac from Meall Donn
4. On the top of Beinn Bhreac
5. On Beinn Bhreac with Kilbrannan Sound behind me
6. Beinn Bharrain from Beinn Bhreac
7. Lisa climbing Beinn Bharrain
8. Lisa on the top of Beinn Bharrain
9. The top of Beinn Bharrain's spiney ridge
10. Beinn Bharrain from Casteal na h-lolaire
11. Lisa on Casteal na h-lolaire
12. Stood on the rocky tor on Casteal na h-lolaire
13. Pirnmill from Casteal na h-lolaire
14. Looking across Glas Choiren to Meall Donn
15. Beinn Bhreac from the Alt Gobhlach
Walk Detail: The first walk of our week on Arran started from the cottage we were staying in. After the initial lovely stroll through the woods above Pirnmill a gradual climb over pathless moorland took us to the foot of Meall Donn.
The rest of the day's walk gradually unfolded before us as we climbed up and the feature that most caught the eye was the spiny ridge on Beinn Bharrain. The steep climb up Meall Donn was accomplished over rocky and bouldery terrain. On the way up we spotted a couple of deer.
As the ground began to level out we walked across the strange slab like rocks to peer over at the attractive Coire Fhionn Lochan before heading up to the top of Meall Donn. This minor top was quite pleasant but with lower cloud moving over we decided to move on fairly quickly to Bheinn Bhreac.
The latter proved to be a fairly steady climb with little of interest to see as the cloud enveloped us. We took a break and ate some food in the shelter of the impressive summit cairn and as we did so the strong wind began to blow the cloud over the onward ridge.
As we descended down to Bealach an Fharaidh we got some nice views down to Loch Tanna and at the same time were able to see more of Beinn Bharrain and its impressive spiny ridge. Again the climb was fairly straightforward on grass but this time when we reached the top the sun had come out and the low cloud had finally move on. The following section of the walk was quite lovely.
We took some time to detour down to the top of the spiny ridge before continuing on to climb a rocky tor on the end of Casteal na h-lolaire. This short section featured the best climbing of the day and at the top of the tor we were met by the only other person we saw all day – a seventy-year-old woman out on her own.
We lingered a while on Casteal na h-lolaire basking in the lovely sun before heading down the north ridge in fairly easy stages. Back in the valley we had to cross another area of pathless moorland before fording the Allt Gobhlach that we then followed all the way back to the initial woods we had come up through at the beginning of the walk.
While I’m sure we would have enjoyed the walk even if the low cloud had not dispersed the sunshine and clearer skies undoubtedly made this a much more enjoyable experience while Beinn Bharrain and Casteal na h-lolaire were two very fine hills indeed. A good expedition which I would do again if the opportunity arose.