The 2021 Festival is now over. Many thanks to everyone who took part and enabled it to happen in these difficult times. Hope to see you all next year!

Castles, Cir Mhor & Sail an Im

Two Corbett summits and dramatic sweeping ridges make this a memorable if strenuous outing.

 | Overview


Highest Point Gained
859 – Castles (Caisteal Abhail)m

Total Ascent

Walk Duration

Rough mountain paths, some pathless moorland, steep ascents and descents.

Technical Rating
Easy scrambling, elements of exposure, some rough terrain.

Endurance Rating
Sustained steep ascents and descents, stamina and perseverance essential to cover long distances. Have you recently walked up (and down) a mountain of over 1000m (3000ft) in height within 8 hours without physical distress! Are you generally fitter than the majority of your peers? If your answer is "No", we'd guess you'd be happier doing a walk rated a level lower than the one you’ve just read! As noted previously, we're into FUN so we don't want you to miss out by overdoing it.


Sunday 16 May 2021

Meeting Time

Meeting Place

North Glen Sannox (exact location will be confirmed upon booking)

 | Walk description

The route follows the dramatically tumbling North Sannox burn, initially on a well-made path through plantation forest, then onto open moorland and boggier ground, with the impressive rocky mass of Caisteal Abhail (the Castles) dominating the skyline. North Sannox burn and a tributary are eventually crossed to strike up Cuithe Mheadhonach, the Castles’ pathless north ridge, which affords dramatic views of the Witch’s Step ridge to the southeast.

After a final steep uphill pull through jumbles of giant granite tors, 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 the grand Glen Iorsa and 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 lies Coire na h-Uaimh beyond which are the rocky pinnacles of Cir Mhor, the next target.

Cir Mhor is reached by descending and then reascending the sweeping Hunter’s Ridge. The final uphill pull is a fine clamber to the airy summit, with wonderful views opening up down Glen Rosa to the south and Glen Sannox to the north-east.

Steps then must be retraced back down to the ridge and up to the Castles, maybe taking a little break to taste the refreshing mountain water flowing from the natural spring encountered along the climb back up Hunter’s Ridge.

The descent route follows the sweeping ridge of Sail an Im back down towards the plantation and start of the walk, with more spectacular views to take in along the way.

Route Profile

 | Advised Kit List

Essential hill gear

  • NO jeans – anyone wearing jeans will not be allowed to start the walk, and no refund will be possible
  • Stout hill walking boots
  • Appropriate walking trousers, top layers and fleece – preferably no cotton layers
  • Waterproof (not showerproof) trousers
  • Waterproof (not showerproof) jacket
  • Spare layers
  • Woollen or fleece hat
  • Gloves
  • Packed lunch and drink - please consider the use of re-useable water bottles and food wrapping.
  • Any personal medicines

Other recommended kit

  • Sun cream and insect repellent
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Spare socks
  • Blister plasters

The 2021 Festival is now over. Many thanks to everyone who took part and enabled it to happen in these difficult times. Hope to see you all next year!