From the parking area, I set off walking along the track with the sign advising, "Footpath".
Pirnmill Village Store and Post Office:
After several hundred metres, I left the main track to follow another Footpath sign heading into a wooded area.
Track through forest:
The track winding its way through the forest eventually led out onto open countryside. The path seemed to disappear a short distance beyond the wood. I therefore made my way through the short heather and grass towards Beinn Bharrain.
Looking across Kilbrannan Sound to Kintyre:
As I progressed towards the hill, I crossed an excellent new vehicle track which leads to a new Hydro scheme. This vehicle track looked like it was heading down to Pirnmill. I therefore decided that I would follow this vehicle track on my descent.
Allt Gobhlach Hydro scheme:
As I progressed towards Beinn Bharrain, I could see two ridges leading up towards the summit. One of the ridges looked a straight-forward walk, the other ridge looked like it would involve some hands-on.
I decided to head for the ridge with the scrambling, although I was a bit hesitant due to the forecasted 50mph winds. It was already fairly windy down in the glen.
Looking back towards hydro scheme track:
As I made my way across to the base of the scrambly ridge, I managed to step into bog up to my knees resulting in my boots filling with water.
On reaching the base of the ridge, I made my way up a series of granite slabs and then over and around numerous granite blocks.
Ascending Mullach Buidhe:
Looking down the ridge:
It didn't take long to reach the first rock tower. From a distance it looked tough. It was however very easy with two ramps leading up to just below its top.
The first rock tower:
Ramp leading up the rock tower:
On reaching the top of the tower, I was blasted by the wind. As I progressed along the
next section of ridge between the first and second rock tower, I was getting blown about so much that
I felt there was a risk of me being blown off the ridge. I decided not to progress further along the ridge as it was too dangerous in such windy conditions.
I therefore had two options, reverse my ascent back down to the base of the hill and go up the non-scrambly ridge instead or continue along the current ridge skirting just below the crags. I decided to attempt skirting below the crags to avoid having to lose height.
The ridge beyond the rock tower:
The second rock tower:
Skirting below the ridge:
After a couple of hundred metres of skirting below the ridgeline, I made my way back up onto the ridge via a steep grassy ramp. The wind was however still too strong and there was more narrow scrambling ahead so I went back down the ramp and skirted below the next rock tower too.
Skirting below the ridge:
I then again made my way back onto the ridge via a steep grass slope. With all the scrambling now behind me, and mostly avoided, I progressed
on up to the summit.
The bypass worked but I wouldn't recommend it as a route!
It was disappointing to bypass much of the scrambling which looked like it would be fairly straight-forward on a non-windy day.
Bypassing the crags due to the strong winds:
Back onto the ridge beyond the final tower:
Looking across to Caisteal na h Iolaire:
The wind was very strong at the summit, so much so that I was getting blown about.
Final ascent towards the summit of Beinn Bharrain:
Looking back along ridge:
After visiting the cairn and trig point, I continued on towards Caisteal na h Iolaire, the 711m top.
Summit of Beinn Bharrain:
The scrambly ridge:
Heading for Caisteal na h Iolaire (717m top):
No difficulties were encountered during the ascent and descent of Caisteal na h Iolaire. This route to the summit is much easier than the scrambly ridge.
About to ascend Caisteal na h Iolaire:
Looking back to Mullach Buidhe of Beinn Bharrain:
Ascending Caisteal na h Iolaire:
A short distance below the summit of Caisteal na h Iolaire, I met two other walkers who had seen me skirting below the crags on the opposite ridge.
At the summit of Caisteal na h Iolaire:
From the summit of Caisteal na h Iolaire, I made my way down the easy ridge following a good path much of the way. The path disappears lower down.
Looking across to the ascent ridge:
I then made my way across featureless terrain to reach the small Hydro scheme and track which I followed down to Pirnmill.
Descent via Hydro scheme track:
The Hydro scheme track eventually led to a gate and then through two fields before coming out just a few hundred metres away from the parking area. If ascending Beinn Bharrain again, I would make use of the Hydro scheme track both in ascent and descent.
As I write this up, the weather on Arran this morning is appalling.
Flooded roads, ferries cancelled and even stronger winds than yesterday.
Definitely a day to stay indoors.