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Nearly 9 years later, Goat Fell conquered!

Nearly 9 years later, Goat Fell conquered!

Postby KatTai » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:00 pm

Route description: Goatfell, from Brodick Castle

Corbetts included on this walk: Goat Fell

Date walked: 27/07/2016

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 10.5 km

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I can't believe I forgot to write this report! So, a bit late but here it is...first a bit of backstory...

I first tried to reach the summit of Goat Fell when camping on Arran around 10 years ago. It started off well, the weather was fantastic the views were great. I saw my first common lizards and slow worms basking on the path on the way up. There had been some buzzards circling around lower down, but as I went higher I seemed to have only one, very quiet, "buzzard" following me up. I reached a nice spot to have some lunch and I was quickly joined by a raven. I was by myself and dogless at that point, so the raven was a bit of company and I chatted away to him (or her) while sharing my picnic. It was at this point the "buzzard" must have started coming a bit too close to the picnic for the ravens comfort, and the raven took to the sky to chase off the "buzzard". As the raven got closer the "buzzard" got bigger and bigger and bigger in comparison...at some point a golden eagle had swapped places with what was definitely a buzzard lower down! In my defence, I found out later that year when learning to drive that I didn't have very good distance vision and needed glasses to drive (and see things at a distance). Of course, as soon as I realised it wasn't a buzzard the eagle decided it was time to make a hasty exit! As did my raven friend, so I decided to continue walking up keeping my eyes peeled for the eagle but it never made a reappearance. Then the problem started, on the ridge it was windy, very windy. I tried to keep going but reached a point where I couldn't even stand up and I peered out from behind a rock that provided shelter from the wind, the summit in sight. Some walkers came down, and asked if I was heading to the summit. Considering I was holding onto a rock to avoid being blown over, I did find that a bit amusing afterwards. Obviously, the answer from me was a no. I retreated back down, disappointed. My first Scottish hill attempt ended in failure and it would be a good few years before I returned to hill walking.

Fast forward nine years later, having had Goat Fell on my target list for a while, I decided it was time to go for it! I set off early from the east coast to catch the 8:20am ferry across to Brodick, and only just made it! But we got on the ferry and headed off towards Arran, which wasn't looking overly promising.

Cloudy Goat Fell from the ferry

But I was on a mission, and the views were secondary to the mission. I had failed once, I wasn't wanting to fail again and I'd already had a couple of walks in the rain and clag already that week (and had a another to come!). On the plus side, Moss' first ferry trip was going well. She used to get car sick and I was concerned she might get seasick, but she had no problem on the boat.


We arrived at Brodick at about 9:20am and set off towards the castle following the route that took us along the beach where the dogs could have a run off the lead and best of all, the sun came out! We reached the start of the Goat Fell track at around 10am and headed up. I wanted to make it back for the 4:40pm ferry to get home at a reasonable time, so we went at a fair pace. The track was busy so the dogs were kept on a lead on the way up, and they helped keep the pace going by pulling me along a bit and soon Goat Fell was in sight!


There is a clear path to follow all the way up, and soon the views were opening up around us across to the mainland, down to Holy Island and even Ailsa Craig could be seen in the distance.


We reached the boulder field with the summit so close, and I was sure I found the same spot where I had to retreat from around 9 years before. The summit was in sight and this time there was no problem with the wind, if anything there was too little of it!


We made our way through the boulders, and I noticed a big difference in Moss with her big sister Millie there to show her the way. The day before we'd done Schiehallion without Millie and Moss found the boulder field there a bit of a challenge without big sisters guiding paw. Here, though nowhere near as bad as the boulder field on Schiehallion, Moss watched and learned from her big sister and quickly gained confidence on tackling this sort of terrain.


This was the hardest part of the walk, some of the boulders stretched the legs a bit, but we soon reached the summit. Which was a bit busy! I think this is the busiest summit I've ever been on so far! The views across to the nearby ridges was amazing.


And Moss found something a bit more fun to pose with than the usual trig point.


With it being so busy, the "summit play" that usually happens between the dogs had to be replaced with something a bit calmer, so we wandered around a bit trying to find spots for photos without other people in! Which wasn't easy!


We didn't hang around too long and soon started our descent, dogs off lead this time as it is much easier going down without them on a lead, though because there were lots of other people coming up they spent most of the time walking behind me to start with. We had made good time in reaching the summit, and I was delighted to have reached the summit. It might not have been the most difficult or longest walk I've done (or did that week actually!) but because of being forced to retreat the first time, this was my big target for my holiday and I had ticked it off the list!

We reached the bottom of the track just after 2:30pm, much sooner than I had expected, and I realised that if we hurried we might actually be able to catch the 3:15pm ferry back to Ardrossan! So plans to let the dogs have a swim where cancelled as we hurried to try and catch the ferry, again! We made it with time to spare, and probably just as well we caught the early ferry because as we found somewhere to sit on the deck the weather turned and it started to drizzle. We found a seat on deck, the indoor bit that allowed dogs in full so we had no choice really but to sit outside in the drizzle but at least we were on our way home after a successful trip!

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Re: Nearly 9 years later, Goat Fell conquered!

Postby simon-b » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:16 pm

Nice one Kat. It's always good to come back and resolve unfinished business, especially when you get decent weather and views. Arran's on the agenda for friends and me next year; we're looking forward to it.
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