Sunday, 27 November 2016

Am Binnein - Goatfell Sky Run

Goatfell, Stacach Ridge, N Goatfell, and Binnein Tor from Am Binnein.  This is a rarely-seen view indeed.

Am Binnein - Goatfell Sky Run is a stunning high-level route for experienced mountain runners.

Am Binnein - first peak of the day - is rarely ascended.  Very unfortunate; the NE ridge is a fine feature, as is the ascent to Mullach Buidhe.

The Stacach Ridge has a few technical points; proceed with care, as a fall could be fatal.

In winter conditions the route, despite being relatively short, is a serious undertaking. 



Bus to Coire Lan path, head up path to deer fence, turn R (i.e. N), keep above treeline to eventually reach Coire nan Larach burn, head uphill to join the NE ridge of Am Binnein, then:

Am Binnein (2182 ft)
Mullach Buidhe (2723 ft)
North Goatfell (2684 ft)
Goatfell (2866 ft)

Descend via tourist path, returning to Brodick via the Fisherman's Walk.



(Images are exported videocamera stills with slight alteration to contrast/highlights/saturation etc.)

If running the route outwith winter, I'd suggest running to the start point (Coire Lan path to Goatfell) from Brodick.

If doing so, wait 20 minutes or so after getting off the ferry to allow cars to clear from the road.  The road can be busy at times.  

You'll notice in the Route Video I'm running with quite a full pack on.  I had planned for a longer day, but had to change route to return home earlier.

If getting the bus to the start point, get the 324.  If you're unsure where to get off, just say to the driver and he'll let you know.

At the start of the Coire Lan path.  Am Binnein dominates
Follow the sign for Goatfell

Am Binnein, off to the R of Corrie Burn

Above the treeline you'll reach the deer fence.  Pass through this, and take a direct R.  

Going is tough & pathless.  Great if you're a fell-runner.  But watch the ankles.  

Forewarning: if you're a hillwalker, you probably won't have much fun here....

Follow the treeline all the way to the Coire nan Larach Burn.

The shorter route is to start further through Corrie, head up the N edge of the treeline from the church/school, then break L at the top of the treeline; but I opted for the included route for filming purposes as it's likely more obvious.  

There are a few other alternative starts; I'll mention them later.

Head for & over the gate

Tough & wet.  Brilliant.  You'll also likely see deer here

You'll eventually reach the Coire nan Larach Burn: obvious by the stile just beyond the opposite bank.  

Head uphill at this point (don't cross the burn).

PS when tabbing along the treeline, be sure not to head uphill too early.  There are a number of smaller streams coming down from the slopes of Am Binnein.  

If you don't see the stile, you're prematurely heading uphill. 

Heading all the way to the burn allows for an ascent of the entirety of the NE ridge.    

Turn L, heading uphill along the burn

Looking down to the forest from high up the Coire nan Larach Burn.  The firebreak seen here is an alternative ascent line, accessed from the N


Climbers: Coire nan Larach has potential.  

The bouldering has been explored, but only a little.  There are numerous boulders on the floor of the Coire.  Take a wire brush & toothbrush.  

The main likely issue for boulderers will be trekking in with a bouldering mat!

In terms of rock-climbing, there's a small crag on the N spur of the Coire:

Very broken ground.  But the wall on the L would likely yield a face route.  The edge to the R of the face would be very difficult.  The crag faces S.  Long way for a few single-pitch routes, but someone will surely go have a look one time

However, there's great winter potential on Am Binnein itself.  

Dropping down from the Binnein Tor is a large crag, similar in nature to the Nuis face (slightly smaller, but still substantial):

Exploratory winter climbers should be here.  There's at least 4 lines, plus a chimney

Steep enough to merit at least one exploratory visit.  And, as can be seen from the sunlight/shadow, the crag faces the right way


Back to the route:

Maol Donn, Brodick Bay, & Holy Island from the upper slopes of Am Binnein

Looking down again to the forest.  Note the clearance running diagonally R; this is a possible ascent line from the Quay.  As is the clearance to the R (i.e. above the boulder)

Am Binnein.  The cross may come as a surprise.  Have no fear, you haven't accidentally ran all the way to Chamonix

Now the skyrunning begins.  And it is fantastic.  The route runs across every piece of skyline seen here.  The Coire Lan path can be seen in this shot

Looking back to Am Binnein, with the NE ridge dropping down to the left

Looking back again, this time from the open slopes below Mullach Buidhe

Mullach Buidhe summit is rarely mentioned anymore than as a passing comment, but it's a fine feature indeed.

The summit is a granite boulder perched hundreds of feet above the dark & cold Coire nam Fuaran:

Very steep drop to Coire nam Fuaran from Mullach Buidhe.  The drop is very impressive

Goatfell & N goatfell from Mullach Buidhe.  If you look at the Ayrshire Distance Running FB cover image, you'll see it is from the same spot

A' Chir, Cir Mhor, and Caisteal Abhail.  The steepness of Cir Mhor is clearly obvious from its shadow in this shot

En route to N Goatfell.  There's quite a steep drop down to Coire Lan from here

The dark & imposing Coire Daingean, framed from N Goatfell

Stacach Ridge & Goatfell from N Goatfell.  As can be seen in this shot, the Stacach is steep on both flanks

Looking back to N Goatfell & Mullach Buidhe from the Stacach's centre pinnacle.  This could quite literally be the Alps!

Final pinnacle of the Stacach

Cloudbank adds drama to the already very dramatic A' Chir

Looking back to the Am Binnein - Mullach Buidhe ridge

No issues on the final slopes to Goatfell's summit

Classic view to Nuis, Chliabhain, Tarsuinn & A' Chir from Goatfell's summit trig

Looking down the upper section of the Goatfell tourist path.  Am Binnein is off to the L.  The Coire Lan path is clearly visible in this shot, just L of the Corrie Burn

Looking back to Goatfell's summit

Changing footwear at the deer fence

Great views to Brodick Bay from the tourist path

When you reach the road, cross it and head through the car park to join the Fisherman's Walk.  

It is - by far - the best return to Brodick.  

Many hill users still aren't aware of it, and head along the road before cutting through the golf course.  

The Fisherman's Walk is far superior.

Yip - into the car park

Great coastal views from the bridge over the Cnocan Burn

Beinn Nuis from the golf course

Fantastic structure over the marshland en route to Brodick

The Fisherman's Walk finishes at the small Co-Op.  

By all means run back to the ferry terminal for a 'complete' route.  

I stopped running at the Co-Op as I bought some gifts in Brodick for the family before the ferry arrived.  

Guilty as charged...!


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