Walk: Castles of the Sleeping Warrior - North Glen Sannox horseshoe

[One of Caisteal Abhail's amazing granite tors]

Arran's array of dramatic peaks puts many on the mainland to shame. Caisteal Abhail (Castle of the ptarmigan) is one of the focal points of the range, also known as the Sleeping Warrior due to its profile when gazed upon from the mainland. The huge, granite summit tors (or "castles") are memorable landmarks in themselves, but they're eclipsed by the superb, jagged ridges spiralling out from the summit area on three sides. A horseshoe around the North Sannox Burn traverses two of them, with several short scrambles on descent amidst cliff-ridden surroundings including the legendary Witch's Step (luckily, you can bypass this). Leave the route for clear day with dry ground - the views are world-class and you wouldn't want to get lost on this type of ground.

[Stunning views over sawtooth ridges from Caisteal Abhail - this is looking south]

Name: Walk: Castles of the Sleeping Warrior - North Glen Sannox horseshoe ★★★
Length: 10 km / 6 miles
Ascent: 1020 metres
Main summits: Caisteal Abhail (859 metres, Corbett)
Points of interest: Caisteal Abhail ridges & castles; Witch's Step
Start / finish: Car park on A841 at North Sannox Bridge, G.R.: NR 993468 / longingly scared recovery

Route: Start - cross North Sannox Burn at NR 974464 - Sail an Im via north side - Caisteal Abhail - Witch's Step (descend briefly to left then bypass on left side) - Suidhe Fhearglas - start
Terrain: Excellent path in the glen, but very faint to gain ascent ridge. Good ridge path to Caisteal Abhail with an easy scramble to gain the summit tor. Descent ridge has a path but also lots of short scrambles, one is slightly trickier to reach the bottom of the Witch's Step. Final descent off ridge to car park is pathless but no difficulties.
Wildlife today: Dragonflies in the glen, ravens on the summit.
Weather today: Sunny at times with some cloudier periods; dry with light winds.

[The Witch's Step (right) has risky-looking paths up it, but it's much easier and safer to bypass down and round to the left]


Route credit: Scotland off the beaten track

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