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!

Whitebeams & Wildlife of the Western Hills

Arran is home to three species of tree which do not occur anywhere else in the world, the Arran Whitebeam (Sorbus arranensis), Cut-leaved Whitebeam (Sorbus pseudofennica) and Catacol Whitebeam (Sorbus pseudomeinichii). This walk gives an opportunity to learn about these trees, some of rarest in the world, as well as experiencing a range of mountain wildlife.

 | Overview


Highest Point Gained
527m - Beinn Tarsuinn

Total Ascent

Walk Duration

Some rough mountain paths and steep sections; no scrambling but potentially hard going on pathless, wet and tussocky moorland.

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

Meeting Place

 | Photo Gallery

 | Walk description

Starting at Catacol, this route follows the path up Glen Catacol and into Gleann Diomhan, looking out for wildlife along the way.

In Gleann Diomhan some time will be spent chatting about the Arran Whitebeams, Scotland’s rarest native trees. Whilst the Arran Whitebeam was first recorded in 1897, the Catacol Whitebeam was only found as recently as 2007. In global terms, these trees are classed as dangerously close to extinction.

From the head of Gleann Diomhan, the route heads off-path and steeply up onto Beinn Tarsuinn, the highest point of the walk at 527m, and haunt of golden plover, birds of prey and red deer in the wild and remote western heart of Arran’s hills.

Continuing across boggy pathless terrain, the walk then descends to Loch Tanna, nestled under the scree slopes of Beinn Bhreac. Some early sundew and wispy cotton grasses may be encountered on its boggy shores. The route then rises again to reach the coll between Meall Bhig and Meall Bhreac before the descent to Coire Fhionn Lochan, a great place for a paddle on a sunny day.

Heading down the path from the lochan, wonderful views over to Kintyre and beyond can be enjoyed before reaching civilisation again at Thundergay.

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!