Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Three Beinns and a Short Eared Owl

The forecast today was for mizzly wetness and strong winds, and at first it looked like this promise would be fulfilled. I met Garry Fraser from Scots Magazine bright and early in Brodick, with a plan to get up high in the mountains and enjoy some of Arran's best hillwalking.  We picked the Three Beinns as our objective, one of my favourite ridge walks and I was sure that even in the damp weather, Gary would not be disappointed.

Looking down Glen Rosa from the path the climbs steeply alongside the Garbh Allt to Coire a Bhradain

The route takes an early escape from Glen Rosa alongside the Garbh Allt and climbs through a deer exclosure that protects native trees in the gorge from nibbling.  Higher up we crossed the bog, and then the Garbh Allt, to take a path that strikes out towards the toe of the first Beinn, Beinn Nuis. Our big wildlife sighting of the day appeared at this point, a short eared owl that reared up out of the heather in front of us. We had a wonderful view of this day flying bird of prey, as it flapped away over the moor. 

The wreckage of a B24D Liberator near the summit of Beinn Nuis.

It wasn't long before we were in the mist, high on the slopes of Beinn Nuis. Shortly before the summit we took a brief detour to visit the site of a crashed B24D Liberator, which met its end on the western flank of the mountain on route to Prestwick from Newfoundland in August 1943. Sadly all 10 of the American servicemen on board perished in the crash.

Beyond the summit, the ridge undulates, until a final pull up on to the second of the Beinns, Beinn Tarsuinn. From here there is a steep and badly eroded descent to the bealach by the bowmans pass, where it is possible to descend further towards Beinn a Chliabhain to the south. 

The mist began to clear as we neared the summit of Beinn a Chliabhainn

At last with the clearing weather we were able to look back towards Beinn Tarsuinn and the route we had traveled. 

Looking back towards Cir Mhor at the head of Glen Rosa. The summit of Beinn a Chliabhain is in the foreground and in the far distance the ridge of the Sleeping Warrior.

The cloud finally clears from the summit of Beinn Nuis as seen across Coire a Bhradain

Looking south towards Brodick Bay, with Holy Isle peeping out in the far distance. 

Finally, back down in Glen Rosa, the famous view of Cir Mhor at the top of the glen. 

With the lifting weather, our spirits lifted, and it is a brilliant ridge walk in all conditions. By the time we were back down in Glen Rosa it was positively balmy and springlike.

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