This horseshoe takes in Suidhe Fhearghas (Fergus’s Seat), Ceum na Caillich (Witch’s Step), Caisteal Abhail (Castles) and the sweeping ridge of Sail an Im.
The crux of this route is the Witch’s Step scramble. Visible from many miles away this deep ‘V’ in the ridgeline is one of the most distinctive features of the Arran hills. Up close it is an exhilarating and exposed place!
Distance - 13.5km
Highest Point Gained - 859m (Caisteal Abhail)
Total Ascent - 1165m
Walk Duration - 9hrs
Terrain - Rough mountain paths, some pathless moorland, some steep sections, hands-on scrambling and exposed ridge. Head for heights and sure-footedness required.
Technical Rating - Challenging
Endurance Rating - 4
Cost - £35
Dates - Friday 17th & Sunday 19th May 2024
Meeting Time - 08:00
Meeting Place - Festival Hub at Auchrannie Resort Playbarn
The route starts from Glen Sannox with a steep walk over open moorland up to the summit of Suidhe Fhearghas, with dramatic views along the ridge over the Clyde and Glen Sannox. The crux of the route is Ceum na Caillich, the Witch’s Step. The north side of the step is rock climbing territory, this route avoids this, coming round to the bottom of the step on safer ground. The steep scramble up from the bottom of the step and the gnarled ridge that follows are the most demanding part of the route, requiring a head for heights and hands-on rock clambering.
After traversing the ridge, the plateau-like top of the Castles is reached. A final clamber onto the large summit tor is rewarded with unsurpassable panoramic views, taking in the whole island and beyond. North beyond Lochranza stretches Loch Fyne, west lie Kintyre and Jura, south-west down the grand Glen Iorsa with Ireland in the distance, and to the south-east are the high tops and steep-sided ridges in the heart of Arran’s northern hills. To the south stands Cir Mhor with the high rocky ridge of A’Chir beyond.
The descent route follows the sweeping ridge of Sail an Im, down into North Glen Sannox towards the plantation and finish of the walk, with more spectacular views to take in along the way.
This circular walk can be tackled in either direction depending on the leader’s preference.
This walk is organised by the Arran Mountain Festival, a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation SC 052229, supported by Auchrannie Leisure Ltd.