Beinn a' Chliabhain - 675m
A' Chir - 745m

Wednesday 21st September 2016

Weather/Conditions: Misty and windy on Beinn a' Chliabhain, but essentially dry all day. Mist cleared on A' Chir, then overcast for the rest of the day.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 15.3km / 750m / 6h 45m
Accompanying: Tom

A final day on Arran. Our trip had been short but absolutely packed full. And for a final day it seemed appropriate that we should go for the A' Chir ridge traverse as we'd also to pack up camp, walk out to the ferry and get home.

The morning slog up the flank of Beinn a' Chliabhain was pretty hard going; thick, damp vegetation. Things improved on gaining the ridge, which slowly narrows into a real arete. I first came here into 2008 and spent a sunny afternoon blasting over the top of this nice hill. I was fond of it then and it was nice to be back.

Over the summit, we crossed to A' Chir by way of a narrow bypass, which prevents you gaining unnecessary altitude. In 2008 I would not have had the awareness of the ground to make this bypass, and I recall going a slight wrong way at this point.

At this point we were at the foot of A' Chir, a well known and classic ridge traverse - one of the 'big' Scottish traverses. It really is very good, and Tom used it for MIA training and short roping. So for the traverse I was to play the role of hapless client.

The summit of A' Chir is made of a large block, which was surprisingly difficult to get onto. I climbed onto it, and getting off wasn't so easy either - a kind of edgy jump back to terra firma.

And then the climax follows at the north of the ridge, a huge incision in the crest and an abseil. A good anchor was in place and the abseil was pretty short, and thus dispatched with quickly. The end of the ridge followed soon after.

I suggested to Tom at this point that if we really went for it now, we could make the earlier the earlier ferry. And this I was keen to do, with a 9pm music rehearsal to be back for. That had been on the back of my mind all day.

We packed climbing gear away, and flew down Glen Rosa. At camp, we packed up and started the walk back to the ferry: 7kms with two fully laden rucksacks, and this awkward travel sack which we traded between one another. Each time I took it I felt like I was being crushed by it. Hard work! But we made it in time, grabbed some fish and chips and with a little relief on my part, got on the ferry.

Driving through a grey, pebble-dashed, congested Ayrshire was some bump back to Earth. Arran is truly astounding, and the cultural contrasts are almost hard to reconcile.

360° Panorama

A' Chir
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 7.55am Glen Rosa campsite
(0.55) 8.50am Beinn a' Chliabhain
(2.55) 10.50am A' Chir
(4.45) 12.40pm Glen Rosa campsite (back)
(5.15) 1.10pm Glen Rosa campsite (left)
(6.45) 2.40pm Brodick Ferry Terminal

Written: 2017-08-18