Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Arran's Best Kept Secret (until now)

Yesterday Wally and I headed up for a round of the Pirnmill Hills via the Northwest Ridge of Beinn Bharrain, that juts out from the top of Mullach Buidhe like a prow. Curiously, this ridge is hidden from the road and is invisible from many other directions. If this was not the case it would certainly be ranked as highly as Arran's more famous ridges. It is a wonderful secret place, with a fine crest, excellent scrambling that is in places very serious, and amazing views. I'm almost reluctant to reveal it in the blog, as currently the chances of meeting another party on route are nil. I've actually blogged about this route before, but been deliberately reticent about its quality... Enjoy.

 The route takes a path through the fantastic woods above the village of Pirnmill following the rim of a dramatic gorge.

The gorge continues upwards on to the open moor below Beinn Bharrain. Beyond the gorge, it is possible to cross the river.

The crest looms in to view as an incongruous knife edge that protudes from the whaleback of the Pirnmill Hills. 

Established on the lower slopes of the ridge, the scrambling here is easy and it is possible to pick your line. 

The ridge begins to narrow near the top.  Below the final tower there is the crux- a rotten and greasy slab before a deep notch- which can be (and on this occasion was!) avoided by a long descent to the right and up steep grassy slopes.

Gobsmacking views from the top of the Goatfell Range to the East!


Tom Phillips said...

Spoilers! I've wanted to believe since 1982 that I was the only person ever to have been on that ridge!

Lucy Wallace said...

I'm sure you must have been the first party up there, and we are only the second....