Limestone on Arran

From Sannox to Lochranza Coastal walk

There is precious little limestone climbing in Scotland - the huge massif in Assynt has some potential, but at least in terms of bouldering there is something closer to home. I checked the geology map of Arran, which looks like a dartboard of colours around a swollen granite bullseye, and on the outer rim on the north east is a long coastal strip of limestone between Sannox and Lochranza. This is a mini-wilderness, with no road and the trail leads far away from the tourist strip of the Arran loop road.

The 4 to 5 hour walk is fascinating in itself, the trail leading through old red sandstone to the Fallen Rocks which are a jumble of conglomerate boulders with maybe some potential, climbing the hill in a monolithic jumble to the giant crag of Creag a Chais (rock of cheese!). However, things change suddenly to limestone and just past the fallen rocks on the left is a sandstone/limestone sandwich forming a steep roof with some great looking problems once cleaned and out of winter dreep. A good spot for summer camping and bouldering.

At the picturesque Laggan cottage further along past Millstone Point there is another good clean roof of limestone beside the cottage, with a few boulders uphill of this providing some good sport.

From Sannox to Lochranza Coastal walk

Make sure you head along to the ruins of the old salt mine to check out the fossilised footprints of a giant centipede (300m years old from the Carboniferous age of monsters) - it was 2m long with a girth over a foot across: the tram trail of this beast is impressive, certainly not something you'd want to come eye to eye with on topping out...

Arthropleura Giant Centipede

At the Ossian's Cave area there is a good sandstone boulder on the turf by the shore with some nice straight-up problems and a roof or two.

The path meanders around the Cock of Arran and through the labyrinth of giant scree at An Sciodan, finally depositing you on the pleasant pebble beach of the Fairy Dell. One good conglomerate wall and a sea boulder provides a girdle DWS over aquamarine waters.

By the time you hit Lochranza, the long loop round to the bus-stop is a slog and there was no pub/shop open for refreshment... time your bus run back to Brodick carefully!

View Sannox to Lochranza Coastal Walk in a larger map

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