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Goatfellas aka. Idiots abroad

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:37 pm
by Verylatestarter
This report seems like ancient history; not only is it (for me at least) pre-digital but it’s also pre-parenthood. My first Scottish mountain and very poignant for reasons that will become apparent.

I’m not sure about the exact dates so I guessed them, all I remember was that it was May and there was still snow in the hills.

Picture, if you will, a pair or English idiots and their wives on a touring holiday in Scotland. First stop Arran for a couple for days, then Mull of Kintyre, then up to Oban and then over to Loch Earn. On Arran we stayed in a lovely hotel in Glen Cloy on the West side of Brodick. On the second day our wives went off for a walk along the coast whilst Mark and myself decided to conquer the local mountain range (otherwise known as Goatfell – we didn’t know about the rest of the hills). So we kitted up as English adventures do, wax jackets (it must have been the fashion then) flat cap (one between two people) Doc Martins & Timberlands for footwear and two Mars bars (that’s who Mark worked for) for sustenance. Clearly an epic adventure was in the offing.

Goatfell e.jpg

Goatfell c.jpg



We set off from the shoreline near Brodick Castle and followed the crowds up the hill. The weather was glorious and the path good, we seemed to overtake a lot of people ambling up the hill. Mark was always good for conversation and time passed quickly. Coming to a spur (Meall Breac) we turned West up the hill and the numbers began to thin out. There were patches of snow which became more widespread as we got higher. The views were getting better with every step. We got amongst a few large boulders and I recall a little bit of easy scrambling as we approached the top. There was a flattening off and a small plateau with about a foot of snow. There was one person there, a small Scot who was an ex-soldier who regarded us with curiosity (at least that’s what I think it was) and suggested return routes and other options. He went off bounding along the North ridge and disappeared from view quickly; he looked so comfortable and purposeful in these hills. We looked like a pair of idiots, but we were enjoying ourselves. Most of the photos attached are from the summit.

Goatfell f.jpg

Goatfell g.jpg


Time to go; we were getting cold, we opted for the North ridge instead of returning by the same route. The ridge was fairly sharp with a couple of granite outcrops projecting from the spine. These looked tricky to get over but there was thick snow, and footprints, either side. So we decided to yomp down the snowfields almost running, no thought to the consequences if it went wrong. Somehow we got down to the arete (The Saddle) and decided to drop down to Glen Rosa and back into Brodick, nursing blisters from our inappropriate footwear. We could have carried on along the hills to the West side of the valley (Cir Mhor & Beinn Tarsuinn) and I now regret that we didn’t.

Goatfell b.jpg

Goatfell a.jpg

Goatfell d.jpg


The rest of our holiday was a joy, the scenery, the food, the weather stunning, until we got to Loch Earn, at which point it bucketed it down. We would have returned again and again but the next year Mark moved abroad for work and we had a son Ben, whose first holiday was on Skye. We used to visit Mark and Helen in Switzerland and we walked a few hills around Lake Lucerne, but Mark has a car accident which put paid to his walking days.

I suspect if he had written this report Mark would have been a lot funnier and a lot more scathing of our attempts at hillwalking. For myself I can say this was one of my most enjoyable days, not only for the glorious scenery but for the good company.

Re: Goatfellas aka. Idiots abroad

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:27 pm
by R1ggered
Great post. Enjoyed the the old photos and the humor. :clap: :clap: