Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Southern Highlands- early season Winter walking

It's been a bit quiet on the blog recently, as we've been in that wet and stormy "lull" between Summer and Winter that passes for Autumn on Arran.  This one has been particularly wild and windy.  However, last week Autumn took a little break and winter moved in. Wally and I grabbed the opportunity to head to the mainland for a few days to enjoy some early season snow.  We didn't need to head far, exploring parts of the Southern Highlands that regrettably we've overlooked until now.

Friday: We had a wander over Beinn Vorlich (Lochearnhead) towards Stuc a' Chroin, where we found the scramble on the northeast ridge to be in fine condition, with frozen turf and good snow. The high point of my day was finding weasel tracks in the snow at 900m.

Northeast ridge of Stuc a Chroin
Looking back at Beinn Vorlich from Stuc a' Chroin
Arran is just visible if you look hard to the right of the sun!

Weasel tracks high on Stuc a' Chroin.

Saturday: We traversed An Caisteal from the Glen Falloch side. With a day in the legs already we took it easy and omitted the second munro Beinn a Chroin, (normally included in the circuit), and instead descended from the bealach to the south back to the car. An Caisteal has a surprisingly awkward but fun little step just below the summit on the north side.

Scrambling up towards the summit.
Seemingly endless arching ridges away to the southeast.
An Caisteal summit from the bealach.

Sunday: We took it easy and headed to Ardrossan to help out the Arran Mountain Rescue Team with a bit of fundraising.

Monday: It was back to the hills and an early start from Inverlochlarig in Rob Roy's Glen saw us climbing the steep flanks of Beinn Tulaichean.  From there it was on to the lovely summit of Cruach Ardrain.

Beinn Tulaichean rising out of the mist on a frosty morning.
The mist lingered in the valley long after the sun hit the slopes.
Beinn Tulaichean behind, on the way up to Cruach Ardrain
Looking over to Beinn Mor and Stob Binnein

Today there is a thaw in the air and it looks like a return to Autumn for a few more days yet.  Hopefully Winter proper is not long around the corner!  Finally, a big thanks to Wally for taking these great photos.

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