The 2022 Festival is now over. Many thanks to everyone who took part and enabled it to happen. Hope to see you all next year!

Castles & Sail an Im

This circular route takes in Cuithe Mheadhonach, Caisteal Abhail (Castles) and the sweeping ridge of Sail an Im.

 | Overview


Highest Point Gained
859m – Castles (Caisteal Abhail)m

Total Ascent

Walk Duration

Rough mountain paths, some pathless moorland, some steep sections.

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

Endurance Rating
Sustained steep ascents and descents, long-distance, stamina required, suitable for fit walkers. Have you had recent experience of walking for 6-8 hours? Have you recently walked up (and down) a mountain of over 1000m (3000ft) in height without physical distress? Do you regularly play an aerobic sport pretty much every week? 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.


Monday 16 May 2022

Meeting Time

 | Photo Gallery

 | 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 looming 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 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 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 2022 Festival is now over. Many thanks to everyone who took part and enabled it to happen. Hope to see you all next year!