bed, looking terribly inviting every step of the way. Leaving the stream at the head of the valley, we ascended to "the saddle" - the col overlooking Glen Sannox to the north-east - a superb spot for lunch. The climb now is steep, and a little exposed too, and the rotting granite makes for some exciting moments. The final ridge is formed of a line of fine rocky tors; the summit, the highest point of the island, is marked by a cairn and toposcope - which sadly was of little use, the heat having caused a dense haze, so that we could barely make out any of the interesting features displayed.
springboard for a short walk onto the hill, and our short excursion to the summit of Green Lowther, at 2403ft, proved little more than a very pleasant stroll. Sadly, once again a heat haze limited the more distant views somewhat, as the sun beat down from a deep blue sky. And that was it - an excellent little outing completed an excellent five day trip - all that remained was the long drive home again.
miles around the shore to the King's Cave, an interesting sea cave - but not really a suitable subject for photography, unlike the orchids which grew in profusion along the path. We drove on down to the southern tip of the island at Kildonan, where we had just sufficient energy to explore the rocks on the shore, catching crabs in the pools whose water was becoming warm in the baking heat. The tiny islet of Fladda lies just to the south, and further away can be seen (just) the remarkable dome of "Paddy's milestone" - Ailsa Craig.
Well, it was just too hot for anything else! We drove around the island, stopping first at Lochranza, where we watched the ferry depart for Claonaig on the Kintyre peninsular. I had followed the Ardrossan - Arran - Kintyre route some years earlier, when I took the family around the Western Isles, using a Cal-mac "Island Hopscotch" ferry rover ticket - great fun! Next stop was Blackwaterfoot on the western coast, where we walked the 2
Five very hot days in South-West Scotland and Arran - July 1996
Arran Walks with a Camera
We drove up the M6, taking the Stranraer road from Gretna, and headed for Newton Stewart, where we would be staying the night. In the meantime our objective was Cairnsmore of Fleet, at 2329 ft. a significant height to the north-east of the Cree estuary.
We parked by the remains of the somewhat stunted viaduct and walked through Cairnsmore and out onto the fell, which is somewhat afforested in its lower reaches. The fairly level, stony summit provided a warm resting place for a few pleasant minutes, before we began our descent via Eastman's Cairn and the wilderness to the west. I have to admit that our route finding went somewhat awry here, and it was more by good luck than good judgement that we found out way back to the car
Day 1: Cairnsmore of Fleet
Cairnsmore of Fleet - the stony summit Eastman's Cairn - view to the Merrick "Scots Bluebells" Some remains of the "Port Line" at the start of the walk
Day 2: The Merrick
We took our leave of Newton Stewart, and headed for Glen Trool. The path to the Merrick, at 2675 ft. the highest point in south- west Scotland, is clearly signposted, following the attractive cascades of the Buchan Burn, then heading off into the forest past Culsharg and out onto the open fell. The ascent to the subsidiary
summit of Benyellary is a steady pull, rewarded with fine views and a good stroll to the main summit of the Merrick. We descended to the east, to the fine sandy shores of Loch Enoch, and could have spent several idyllic hours there cooling our feet - until we began to consider how long it would take to drive to Ardrossan, where we were booked on the day's last crossing to Brodick. "Come on, we're going"... ...and our lazy afternoon turned into a route march back to the car followed by a frantic drive north to the ferry. We arrived at the tail of the queue, and were called forward onto the "Caledonian Isles" before we had time to put on the handbrake...
Merrick - the view north Merrick - Loch Enoch and the Rhinns of Kells
Day 3: Arran - Goat Fell
Glen Rosa The Saddle - view to Caisteal Abhail Rocky tors on the summit ridge, Goat Fell in the distance Goat Fell - the summit
Day 4: Lazing
Crabby pools at Kildonan. Fladda and (faintly) Ailsa Craig The Lochranza ferry departs for Kintyre Orchid near Blackwaterfoot
Day 5: Homeward - via Wanlockhead and Green Lowther
Taking the first sailing from Brodick, we crossed once more to Ardrossan and headed towards Kilmarnock and the Nith valley. At Mennock we took the twisting hill road to Wanlockhead. The village, at around 1500ft above sea level, provides an ideal
Leaving Arran on the MV Caledonian Isles Lowther hill - the road to the "WT station" Green Lowther - sheep and a hazy view Wanlockhead and the path to the Lowther Hills
The highest point of Arran's northern hills is Goat Fell, 2866ft. - not a Munro, but every bit a mountain, with high craggy outcrops of crumbly pink granite. We set off up Glen Rosa on a day even hotter than the past few days. The stream here runs clear along its salmon-pink granite
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