Sunday, 29 April 2012

Arran hills, some of the best in Scotland!

Here's a few pics taken yesterday of the Arran mountains seen from across Brodick Bay. Breathtaking! Definitely up there with the best of Scottish hillwalking!

Bookings are going well for this year's Arran Mountain Festival, some of the walks are fully booked, and a couple are over subscribed! Don't delay - check out and book your walk!

The Three Beinns Horseshoe, a classic ridge walk, sponsored by Merrell. So popular that we're running it twice, and currently there are just a couple of places left on the Friday and Monday walks. Tempting isn't it - go on, get booking!

From right to left Am Binnein, Mullach Buidhe, North Goatfell (not in view) and Goatfell.  This walk, sponsored by the Friends of Brodick Castle is being led on the Monday of the Festival, and currently there are only 5 spaces left.  Don't miss out on this wonderful, but little walked, walk.


Friday, 27 April 2012

NEWSFLASH - there are still a couple of spaces left on the Sunday A'Chir walk, don't miss out, get booking! Have a look at the posts below written by participants in 2011, which I've just refreshed so it's easy to find!!  Please be tempted - just call 01770 302244 to book :-)


2011 Arran Mountain Festival A'Chir Ridge Walk

I had never set foot on Arran before, which is shameful considering I live in Glasgow, but I have always heard it is good for walking and climbing. My friend, who has been on Arran several times, heard about the mountain festival and saw there was a guided walk along the A'Chir ridge which he had bypassed on previous walks and thought it would be a great chance to walk it.

We just made it to the outdoor centre in time to get a quick instruction on how to put our slings on, which is when I thought it was going to be more extreme than any scrambling I had done before.

The walk started in Glen Rosa and the weather was perfect, warm morning sun and blue skies. The group walked up Glen Rosa at an easy pace giving the group the chance to get to know one another and hear the guides point out places of interest and tell some stories about the area. We stopped for some lunch just below Cir Mhor where we were told that if we didn't fancy the ridge we could turn back.

A short climb took us to the the start of the rock climbing section where the guides set about putting a safety rope up. It was just as well they did, I was the second person to go along the section and had a wee slip but managed to get to the end of the section safely. There were plenty of other moments where the ropes were in use and I think the group was thankful for that especially at the bad step on the ridge. This was only a gap of half a metre which had to be jumped, but with vertical drops on each side the exposure was something else.

By the time we had reached the top I was a lot more tired out than what I would have expected, mostly from using muscles that aren't usually put to the test. But the wonderful views from the top made it worthwhile and I quickly forgot about my aches and pains. We could see Jura and even all the way over to the Antrim coast.

After the top it there was one more section which required the rope then it was a steady walk back down to Glen Rosa to catch our lift.

Having lacked any previous rock climbing experience i knew this was going to be an exhilarating, challenging and at times apprehensive walk. But with the guides always there to reassure you and advise you along the way everyone got passed the trickiest sections with no problems. I will certainly be back to Arran to walk the rest of the hills and ridges after this.

I must say a big thanks to the guides, Ali and Mick. They were full of knowledge and stories of the area and their times on the hills and you felt in very safe hands with them helping you along the hardest sections of the walk.


2011 Arran Mountain Festival A'Chir Ridge Walk Take 2

By David Lang, Lamlash

As a result of the great care taken by local mountain rescue guide Alistair and visiting guide Mick Tighe, our intrepid group thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of walking on Arran’s potentially dangerous A’chir Ridge last weekend. Many of us had travelled a long way to be part of this year’s Mountain Festival, including one from Australia! A few manoeuvres necessitated the indignity of an odd push from behind, however it was all worth it as we were able to ‘boldly go where none of us had dared go before’.

I also attended the excellent film show and illustrated talks on the two previous nights, both effectively building up the excitement, while showing the fun and challenges to be had when exploring mountain areas.
Arran is blessed with superb and extensive hill walking routes that many visitors sadly miss, and the festival celebrated these, while also enabling a wide range of abilities to access them in a safe way. The views from the top can best be described as ‘awesome’!
All those involved in its organisation should be very proud of this year’s success and if I find out they are ever organising a trip up Everest then you can count me in, as I am confident it would be equally well planned! To be honest I would still rather continue exploring Arran and am already looking forward to next year’s festival.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Girls' night out on Arran!

A Friday in January, four girls headed out on a girlie night out.  It was very wild, wet and windy .....
..... but we didn't head to the pub ....
..... no, we chose a nasty night to go out on a night navigation exercise ....
..... and got home safe and sound!


Monday, 16 April 2012

So, what do some of your mountain leaders do in their spare time!  Obviously we spend a lot of time on the Arran hills, but we do occassionally like to travel a little further afield!! 

Here are some wonderful snowy shots taken in February as I wandered some of our fabulous Scottish hills :-)  I was up in the Glenshee area, a bit of battle at the start through the ski lifts and runs, but once off the beaten track the peace and tranquility was so well worth the effort. 

Another 'hill day' to add to my Mountain Leader log book, and another 3 munro ticks, if you're into that sort of thing ;-)


Saturday, 14 April 2012

Arran Mountain Festival ceilidh

Saturday 7 April was the first of the Arran Mountain Festival events - the Easter family ceilidh. A brilliant evening at Lochranza village hall, with fabulous live music from the Arranach ceilidh band. There was an Easter bonnet parade, which was won by Hannah for the children, and by me for the adults - very very special yummy Easter egg prizes donated by James of Arran, Arran's Chocolate Factory! The Lucky Dip was particularly popular with the children, and the shove ha'penny (pound) to win a bottle of whisky was good entertainment for the interval! See!/ArranMountainFestival for some video clips and some photos - the evening was great fun, and went by in a bit of a blur ;-)