What was the first time you saw climbers on a big cliff. Cir Mhor Arran.

My friend in Arran Kirsty Smith @KirstieSArran put up a great black and white photo of Cir Mhor in Arran it is so thought provoking . It brought back great memories I was only about 10 and had a day out with my Dad on our holiday in Arran. We walked into Glen Rosa a place I love and when I saw the huge Granite cliffs of Cir Mhor I was hooked. To see climbers on the cliff and speak to them was beyond my wildest dreams that folk could climb on such a cliff. I was fascinated by their gear the rope and slings. We watched for a while and scrambled up a loose gully stopping to watch them when we could. My Dad had a big voice like mine (he was a minister) and he continued speaking to them as they climbed up the slabs. I was so lucky to climb on this great cliff so varied and enjoyable over the years. It became an annual pilgrimage for me. I love Arran.

Cir Mhor

South Ridge Direct – Quite simply one of the finest climbs in the country. Not sustained but long and interesting J.F.Hamilton, D. Paterson 1941. UKC Climbing.

South Ridge Direct

I did not know that 45 years later this would be my final rock climb with RAF Kinloss MRT in 2007. I had climbed the route often it was a classic to me and few will understand how I felt on that last time. The various other adventures were mainly in poor weather were always classic days.

South Ridge Direct

The weather had been poor and the day previously we had helped 3 young “cocky” climbers who had an epic as it was very wet. They had come with little gear, limited clothing for this route as it was to them a easy route. there were three on one rope and when the rain came they struggled it was a full blown storm. They were frozen when we caught them up. Kenny being Kenny was persuaded to help them off. So we helped them abseil off they were not so cocky . A day wasted but not to me.

Next day my mate Kenny and me were of early they had left lots of gear on the crux. Kenny a typical Yorkshire man was after it. We had a great day and we’re up the route quickly. I loved it the rough granite that tore your hands, padding up the slabs and the huge expanse of granite slabs. It was still damp but no problem to Kenny. The views down Glen Rosa where we often swim in after a hot day long before the term “wild swimming” became so popular. We sat at the top Kenny happy with his loot and me with my memories. It’s amazing what a picture can bring back in your memory?

In 2017 I was asked to speak at the Arran mountain Festival it was a grand evening at Corrie Village Hall. I must get back and feel the Granite the crystal clear water of Glen Rosa and the midges that stopped me and Dan climbing in 2017

Arran on my last visit.

References – Hard Rock Ken Wilson

SMC – Inner Hebrides & Arran Guide.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Islands, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Recomended books and Guides, Rock Climbing, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What was the first time you saw climbers on a big cliff. Cir Mhor Arran.

  1. Jim higgins says:

    Souwester slabs and calibans creep my first big leads. Later in the summer of 82 we went back to sowester slabs and did the link onto south ridge. Superlative granite a joy to climb on

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John McFadyen says:

    That’s a great story and pictures Heavy. My last Munro before Lockdown was a grand tour on the Ben Cruachan Horseshoe. We got a great view of Colonsay, Mull, Isla, Jura & all the wee Islands. All the best, John.


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