Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Like the rest of Scotland it has been incredibly cold on Arran over the last few days, but unlike the mainland, the snow cover did not survive the weekend's thaw quite so well.  Wally and I headed in to Coire na Caillich today to see what was left.  There is one recorded route in the coire, the stunning line of White Magic (iv) that follows a shallow groove and chimney to the highpoint of the witches step on the East side.  This was almost dry and not going to go today, but we managed to tinker about on some grade 1 ground, with mostly continuous neve from bottom to top.  In fact, we followed a really nice line to the top of the Witches Step, decended to the coire again, and then followed another line, up to the top of the Castles.  Good fun.
The turf is bomber, what remains of the snow is good, and ice is starting to form. We saw lots of possible harder new lines that might have gone under fatter ice or with a bit more snow.  Sadly, more thawing is on the way by the end of the week.
See below for photos from today:

. A pre dawn start in Lamlash Bay. 

Heading up to Coire na Caillich, the profile of the "Sleeping Warrior" clearly visible.

Yours truly, in the first gully of the day.

Lovely light and views of Cir Mhor when we gained the ridge. 

Descending from the bealach between Caisteal Abhail (The Castles) and Ceum na Caillich (The witches Step)
Second snowy line of the day, a little to the right of the first.  (See below for topo). 

By the afternoon the sun was starting to soften the snow on the ridge. 

On descent down the north Ridge of the Castles,  a little look back, at where we had been.

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