Isle of Arran Walks
Meall Nan Damh
Date: 12th Sept 2006
Distance: 7.2 miles
Ascent: 1990 feet
Time: 3 hours 20 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NR910489
This walk up on to Meall nan Damh started brightly but soon turned into an interesting navigation across pathless moors in very poor visibility.
Route Summary: Fairhaven - Meall Nan Leac Sleamhuinn - Meall Nan Damh - Meall Bhig - Coire Fhionn Lochan - Thundergay - Pirnmill
1. Creag na h-lolaire
2. Approaching Meall nan Leac Sleamhuinn
3. Looking back down towards Catacol
4. Lochan a Mhill
5. This large boulder was the only object of note for sometime
6. Lochan Ruadh
7. Meall Biorach
8. Looking back up at Meall nan Damh
9. A section of the west Arran coastline between Thundergay and Pirnmill
Walk Detail: Lisa had decided she was going to have a day off from walking and wanted to relax in the cottage so I decided I would get the bus from Pirnmill up the coast to Catacol and walk back over the hills. During the course of the walk I hoped to get a good view of Coire Fhionn Lochan from below having seen it from above two days before.
I’d waited all morning for the cloud to blow over and when it began to look as if it would I headed out just after midday. The sky was beautiful when I got off the bus at Fairhaven by Catacol Bay and I was full of hope as I began my walk in the sunshine surrounded by the beautiful purple heather.
Once I left the valley floor I began to struggle a bit in the overgrown heather, bracken and bilberry. In fact I avoided a lot of the heather due to the massive spiders webs which were in abundance. Just as I was beginning to reach the lowly summit of Meall nan Leac Sleamhuinn the weather changed quite dramatically again and the cloud dropped right even to as low as I was. To top things off it also started to rain.
When I got to the top I made the decision to carry on regardless and what followed was a rather impressive feat of navigation (at least I thought so). By using my map, the altimeter on my watch and by reading what little I could actually see of my surroundings I managed to guide myself over a few miles of heathery, pathless, trackless, fenceless fell.
The climb up the ridge to Meall nan Damh over rock and heather was memorable for the utter solitude and quietness. I saw very little of my surroundings although the glimpse of Lochan Ruadh coming down from Meall nan Damh was very reassuring as it meant that I was still going the right way.
When I eventually reached Coire Fhionn Lochan it was barely visible due to the low cloud but at least I'd finally made it to a recognisable path. After leaving Coire Fhionn Lochan I finally came out below the cloud and surprisingly into some brighter weather. The descent to Thundergay was very pleasant alongside Uisge Soluis Mhoir though the trek back down the road to Pirnmill was longer than I had expected.
Usually I would have been bitterly disappointed about the weather but the sheer lack of paths and distinguishing features meant I found the walk mentally very stimulating in terms of navigation. Ultimately I may have been very lucky but regardless I was still extremely pleased with myself.