Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Three Beinns Horseshoe

Thursday 25th April 2013 

An excellent day's hill walking on Beinn Nuis, Beinn Tarsuinn and Beinn a'Chliabhain 

Distance: 20km; Ascent: 1000m; Mainly dry with occasional sunshine; with Ian C

Ian had got in touch earlier in the week to see if I fancied meeting up for a day on the hills, and I jumped at the chance as it would be nice to have company for the day as I had originally planned to head into the hills on my own for a day.  So soon after 10:30 this morning I headed down to the ferry terminal in Brodick to meet Ian who had nipped over from the mainland for the day.

We set off walking at around quarter to eleven, along the pleasant shoreline path next to the golf course before walking out of town on the main road to pick up the minor road up Glen Rosa.  After passing the camp site we continued on a broad track up to the bridge over the Garbh Allt, passing a few people on route.

Heading up Glen Rosa
We started to gain height alongside the Garbh Allt burn to reach a flatter boggier area at a height of around 300m.  After crossing the burn near where it exited a small ravine, we crossed more damp ground to reach the lower slopes of Beinn Nuis where we stopped for an early lunch with good views over Brodick Bay.

Looking out over Brodick Bay from the lower slopes of Beinn Nuis
As we ascended on the improved path the low cloud gradually began to clear to reveal excellent views across Coire a'Bhradain to the hills beyond, which were covered with a light dusting of fresh snow.  There were also impressive views of the crags which form the upper eastern slopes of Beinn Nuis.

Beinn Tarsuinn and Cir Mhor across Coire a'Bhradain
The phantom path builders' spades
The path works were clearly an ongoing work in progress as every so often we spotted spades and other tools lying nearby, presumably to avoid having to carry them in each time work is done.  We continued to ascend, now back in the cloud, to reach the windy summit of Beinn Nuis (Corbett Top).

Summit of Beinn Nuis
We chose not to linger on the summit due to the bitter wind, but instead descended north for a few hundred metres to find some handy rocks for shelter where we stopped for a second lunch.

Granite crag between Beinn Nuis and Beinn Tarsuinn
The cloud began to clear the summits again and as we ascended the south ridge of Beinn Tarsuinn there were excellent views back south towards the impressive crags on Beinn Nuis.  The western hills of Mullach Bhuide and Beinn Bhreac also looked quite inviting across Glen Iorsa.

Looking back south towards Beinn Nuis
Mullach Bhuide and Beinn Bhreac
There were good views of our onward route along the south ridge of Beinn Tarsuinn and we soon came to the rock formation known as The Old Man of Beinn Tarsuinn, which looks out over Glen Rosa.

On the south ridge of Beinn Tarsiunn
The Old Man of Beinn Tarsuinn
At around quarter to two we reached our highest point of the day: the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn (Corbett).  There were excellent views across to all of Arran's northern hills from here and, as the wind had now dropped, we spent a while admiring them.

Caisteal Abhail and Cir Mhor from Beinn Tarsiunn
On the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn
Goatfell from the NE slopes of Beinn Tarsuinn
Caisteal Abhail and Cir Mhor from Beinn Tarsuinn
We carefully descended down to the north-east on a mixture of path, rock and snow to reach a fork in the path.  Here we forked right away from A'Chir to head towards Beinn a'Chliabhain and on route we passed through an impressive natural arch between two large rocks.

Natural Arch on the descent from Beinn Tarsuinn
There were good views ahead to our final peak of Beinn a'Chliabhain and, as we approached that peak, there were also good views back to Beinn Tarsuinn and the impressive ridge of A'Chir

Looking ahead to Beinn a'Chliabhain
Beinn Tarsuinn and A'Chir
Soon after 3pm we reached the summit of Beinn a'Chliabhain (Graham Top), where we didn't linger long due to the wind having picked up again.  We descended the south ridge on a good path, with excellent views down to Brodick Bay and also over to Holy Island.

Descending the S ridge of Beinn a'Chliabhain
Lower down we crossed more boggy ground to reach the path alongside the Garbh Allt, where we rejoined our outward route.  The wind had now picked up considerably and the weather was quite showery for the remainder of our walk; however this did result in an impressive rainbow above Glen Rosa.

Rainbow in Glen Rosa
We headed back down the minor road to reach our cottage on the outskirts of Brodick at around quarter to six, where we enjoyed a well earned beer before Ian headed back into Brodick to catch his ferry home.  It had been an excellent day's hill walking and I was grateful to Ian for his suggestion of walking this route.  I shall have to return some other day to climb the rest of Arran's northern hills as they all looked excellent!

See here for my Social Hiking map from the day's walk.

N.B. 11/06/13 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 25/04/13 (from 08/05/13).  Link to Social Hiking map also added.

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