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Walk up Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox

By Ian Tupman   

on June 14, 2018    5/5 (1)

Posted as a walk in – Europe, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Walk up Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox

Further Details

Route Summary:

A walk up Glen Sannox to The Saddle followed by an ascent of Cir Mhor and return to Brodick via Glen Rosa

This walk includes the Corbett of Cir Mhor

Route Start Location: Sannox /Brodick ferry terminal

18.09 km 1045 m 5-7 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk, Scrambling, Scrambling Grade 1

Summits and Places on this Route


The usual facilities are to be found in Brodick but none en route.


Some loose and greasy rock on the ascent to The Saddle from Glen Sannox.

Between June and September, the Highland midge can really spoil your day if you are not well-protected. There are various products available but Smidge seems to be effective for most people

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : Not applicable

Not applicable

Public Transport:

Ferries to the Isle of Arran are operated all year (subject to weather) by Calmac

The bus timetable on Arran revolves around the ferries and if making a day visit from the mainland, be sure not to miss the last boat! (https://www.travelinescotland.com)

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Walk up Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox

An ascent of Cir Mhor (799m) on the Isle of Arran from Glen Sannox and return to Brodick via Glen Rosa.

Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox Route Description

From the ferry terminal, take the 324 (via north island) bus and ask for Glen Cottage at Sannox.

Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox
Glen Cottage and the start of the route

Pass through the gate to the left of the cottage. Continue on the good path passing the graveyard on the left and then pass through a further gate. Please make sure that dogs are kept on a lead as there are usually sheep at this end of the glen.

Continue on the track, turn right before a stand of trees and cross the Sannox burn via the footbridge. The path rises away from the burn and the glen opens up ahead. Red deer can often be seen on either side of the glen and golden eagles have been spotted as well.

Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox
Cir Mhor at the head of Glen Sannox

Cir Mhor dominates the head of the glen and after crossing the stream, the path begins to climb steeply beneath its east face. After scrambling up some loose rock, the route reaches the base of Winn Dyke, an igneous intrusion of volcanic rock. Erosion has left the harder rock standing proud and it forms a series of steps. In dry conditions it is an easy scramble up the middle of the gulley but if wet, it is probably safer (and easier) to keep to the left hand side.

Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox
Meg on the scramble up Winn Dyke

Do not climb all the way to the top of the gulley but look for an exit on the left which leads over worn, lighter rock and up a partly pitched path emerging onto less steep ground at The Saddle.

The Saddle is a good place for a refreshment stop as the large rocks provide shelter from the wind from all directions. There are good views back down Glen Sannox to the coast and down Glen Rosa.

From The Saddle walk due west and pick up the start of the path which climbs the east face of Cir Mhor. The path has been repaired over recent years and much of it is now pitched, avoiding some of the worn out gullies.

There are some short rock steps to negotiate but there is no exposure. The path eventually turns a corner onto an area of easier ground and heads towards the impressive granite blocks on the south side of the mountain.

Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox
The path climbs through the grassy area

Continue on the path and climb between the granite blocks to reach a small col. Follow the path round to the right as it gently rises under the west face. From the path it is only a short distance to the summit. There are several ways to reach it, all involving some easy scrambling so pick the one that suits you and you will emerge onto the narrow summit ridge.

Cir Mhor sits at the centre of Arran’s northern mountains and on a clear day the views in all directions are superb.

From the summit, scramble back down the west side and pick up the path again, this time heading north for a short while before dropping down a pitched section. Continue heading west and downwards and ignore a path on the right which heads towards Caisteal Abhail.

The gradient eases and the path passes a lochan on the left before crossing a short bouldery section. Continue to the col and the large stone cairn.

Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox
Cairn marking the descent into Glen Rosa

From here, turn south-east and head steeply down the pitched path into Glen Rosa. On your left, climbers can often be seen on the granite slabs on the south face of Cir Mhor.

After crossing a couple of streams continue along the glen and enter a fenced area which encloses an impressive waterfall and a wooded ravine.

Cir Mhor From Glen Sannox
Looking back up Glen Rosa to Cir Mhor

Exit the fenced area and continue until the bridge which crosses Garbh Alt. This is another good spot for a rest and in hot weather the chilly water may provide some relief for tired feet.

After crossing the bridge continue on the track, passing the camp site on the left. Stay on the surfaced road now until it joins the main B880. Turn left and then right at the junction with the A842. Pass the museum on the left and opposite the school, take the rough path and cross the golf course. The path passes through some trees and emerges onto the shore. Continue over the boardwalk and rejoin the main road at the Co-op store. Turn left and continue along the promenade to reach the ferry terminal.

Ian lives In Ardrossan and being only a fifty five minutes ferry crossing to Brodick, the Isle of Arran is his 'back yard'. He knows the mountains of the north of the island well and has walked every permutation of routes over the various summits. He is now spending more time further north exploring the Cairngorms, the far north-west and the mountains of the west of Scotland.
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