Sunday, 30 January 2011

Quick Scramble over The Saddle

Walking through the Glens from Sannox to Glen Rosa via the saddle is one of the great linear walks on the Isle of Arran, but it should not be underestimated.  Whilst the height gain is fairly minimal (less than 450m), there is a steep climb out of Glen Sannox, and a little scramble up a chimney known as the Whin Dyke to gain the saddle between the two glens.

We left the car at the bus stop opposite the Wineport on the outskirts of Brodick and hopped on a bus at about 1100 this morning.  Not long after we alighted at Sannox, and began the long walk up the glen. It was great to be traveling light for a change as the low altitude of the walk meant no need for axe, crampons, or lots of other heavy gear.

Approaching The Saddle (on the left of Cir Mhor) at the head of Glen Sannox. 

Beginning the steep climb up to the base of the chimney, which provides an exit on to the ridge. The alternative is heavily eroded hillside- unpleasant. 

The scramble up the Whin Dyke is on rocky steps on the left of the chimney, straightforward to climb when dry, a good bit more dodgy in descent, especially when wet. 

Yes that's me.

Beautiful light on the Saddle.  The peak in the middle is North Goatfell. Goatfell's main summit is on the right
partially obscured by the mist.

Descending in to Glen Rosa.  There is a burn to cross near the head of the glen which can be tricky after heavy rain. 
Looking back up Glen Rosa to Cir Mhor from the south.  It is about at this point that we were treated to views of a pair of golden eagles, flying over the hillside above. 


Nic Mac said...

Hey great advice, unfortunately reading after the event.

Glad we're still alive - thought we'd taken the wrong path off The Saddle but appears not. I have never been so wet. There was no way we were going down "the chimney" I was sure my hubbie was mad even thinking we could try - so we had to opt for a slide sideways.

Dumb, inexperienced climbers not doing enough research. However, got home without calling out Mountain Rescue. Have now learned why you always bring extra jumpers and snacks. Don't have keep you stoked up and warm when the chips are down.

Lucy Wallace said...

Ah yes- the saddle is miserable in descent to Glen Sannox- I always do it the other way. I'm not sure if the Whin Dyke is the best option from above, though probably the one I would choose, but the scree path is tempting if really unpleasant. The good thing about the Whin Dyke is its over pretty quickly, though hopefully not too quickly!

cyber_mark said...

Hi. I plan on doing Sannox to Glen Rosa with my 12 year old son this summer. Are you able to give me an idea as to how long this hike takes? Thank you in anticipation.

Lucy Wallace said...

Really depends a bit on you- its a fair distance but mostly on the flat. Fit parties will find it a breeze in half a day, but a 12 yer old may find the walk down Glen Rosa pretty tedius. You can shorten it if you have two vehicles, but walking out via Glen Rosa Campsite rather than back to the castle, which is the usual way to do it if using the buses. Bear in mind too that the Whin Dyke itself can be nasty especially when wet.