by CurlyWurly » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:03 am
Route description: Goatfell, from Brodick Castle
Corbetts included on this walk: Goat Fell
Date walked: 30/10/2010
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 19.7 km
Ascent: 972m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It was gone 5pm and the summit was deserted. The last people had wandered down the path more than an hour ago. From the luxury of my tent, pitched just off the top, I had watched the cloud slowly come in from the west. Undeterred, we went back up to the top and waiting for darkness to succumb. As the light faded, the cloud parted and the sun appeared. First a small crack of light and then larger until the whole sky was awash with a red glow. Wisps of cloud drifting across the ridge added an eerie effect and Beinn Tarsuinn was crimson like a volcano erupting. But then it was over and the clouds closed, sucking the sun in and darkness was amongst us.
24 Hours Earlier
The rain swept across the platform at Corrour Station. Fortunately we were inside the Café waiting for the 6:30 train back to Tyndrum. We had arrived at Corrour late the previous evening. As we disembarked, we where greeted with gales – the full experience. The thought of camping did not exactly ‘float my boat’ so we enquired at the Corrour YHA if they had room for the night. Unfortunately they were full and the Loch Ossian YHA had a private party on so there was no hope their either. Camping it was then! We headed down the decent track and settled for a pitch on a ‘flatish’ piece of ground on the south side of the Loch. The wind battered the tent but my trusty Terra Nova Laser Competition had suffered worse so I was not concerned that there was going to be any issues during the night.
I stepped outside for the call of nature at about 4am and there was clear patches of sky. Maybe we were going to get a good day after all? My optimism was short founded and by the time we had packed up at daybreak, the sky was overcast once again. At least it was not raining yet. We decided to head up past the Loch and follow the Uisge Labhair into the Glen. This would leave us with some decent options; Beinn Eibhinn, Aonach Beag and Geal-Charn or maybe Ben Alder. The walk around the loch was pleasant but by the time we reached the Shooting Lodge, the cloud had dropped and it was raining again. We pushed on and followed the distinct path that runs parallel with the Uisge Labhair. After 3km we stopped for a chat, the weather was not good and there did not look like any signs of improvement. We could push on and nail some of the peaks but it would be cutting it fine for the last train back to Tyndrum at 6:30pm. I am not really into ticking off peaks just for the sake of it so we decided to head back to the Corrour YHA for a brew and sit out the rain until the train arrived.
We headed back along the north side of the loch and stopped off in the forest for some lunch. Our decision to turn back was a wise one. The weather did not improve and if anything it just got worse and I was happy to get inside the YHA for a brew and to dry-off. The day had not been a total waste, however. We had covered a decent amount of distance, 21 km and I had clocked a couple of potential wild camping locations.
We had a good four hour wait until the train but there was plenty of tea to drink and it would give us time to decide on a plan for the next day. The long range weather forecast predicted better weather on the east and with availability at the Aviemore YHA, the Cairngorms seemed a good option. The only problem was that it was a good 2 hour drive and with Mike travelling back down south from Glasgow, it would mean another big drive back across to the west to get to the station. I had no ‘service’ on my phone but Mike had a couple of bars on his Vodafone so at 5pm I phoned Emma so she could get a weather update. The good news was that there was going to be a break from the rain for a couple of days with an 80% chance of cloud free Munro’s in the west.
We loaded up Memory Map on my iPhone and discussed our options. There was a YHA at Loch Lomond that was only a 50 minute drive from Tyndrum, We could stay there, dry our kit out then do another wild camp on the Sunday night. But where could we go? I still had some decent peaks to climb in the west including ‘The Cobbler’ so there were plenty of options but with Mike coming all the way up from Sussex and enduring three days of rain already, I wanted something to be extra memorable. How about the Isle of Arran? I was sure that there was a decent ferry service and it would be a short journey back to Glasgow afterwards. A quick phone call to Mike’s wife Jenny and she confirmed that there was several crossings a day and it was only £8.50 return. With renewed optimism, we headed out to the platform and waited for the train. At 6.30pm we the train arrived and we headed back south to Tyndrum where we collected the car, had the obligatory fish supper and drove down towards Loch Lomond and the YHA.
Loch Lomond YHA is a pretty impressive building and we were glad to get our tents and other gear in the drying room. The next day we were greeted with mist but this soon disappeared as we drove across the Erskine Bridge and by the time we arrived at Ardrossan there was blue skies to the west. Great news!
I had read other reports that there was a bus service to the start of the walk but the sun was shining so we decided to follow the path through the golf course instead. We reached Cnocan Wood and followed the well-marked path that leads up the hillside. The path climbed gradually and when I looked back it offered amazing views of the Brodick Bay.
We skirted over Meall Breac and headed up the shoulder towards the summit. Although it was still sunny, the wind had picked up so it was coats and hats again. We passed a couple of people on the way down but we were fortunate to have the summit to ourselves. The views where amazing and the sharp pointed ridge leading off over North Goatfell and over the other Corbett's was really impressive.
By this time it was 3pm and we headed off south from the summit to find somewhere to pitch the tents. There was plenty of reasonable places and within 30 minutes, I was settled down with a brew, looking south-west towards the Mull of Kintyre. After chilling out for a while and grabbing some food we headed back up to the summit. Unfortunately the cloud had drawn in but luck was on our side and just before darkness, the sun appeared and I witnessed an amazing sunset.
We dropped back down and with nothing else to do we retired to our tents at 6pm. There was plenty of time to kill so I watched a film on my iPhone and read a magazine. At 8pm I drifted off to sleep and although I woke up a few times, I had a pretty decent nights sleep. With the plan to set off at daybreak and try and do some more of the ridge we were up early.
It was really cold and there was pockets of mist hugging the mountain below us. As the sun rose, it casted an orange shadow over the mountain side. The sunrise was equally impressive as the sunset the night before but as the day got lighter the clouds appeared and by the time we had packed up and hiked back up to the summit we were totally engulfed.
Pushing on we heading down from Goatfell and followed the path that leads over the top to North Goatfell. With heavy packs on our backs, the scrambling was cumbersome but also exhilarating. We dropped off the top and headed down towards The Saddle.
By this time the wind had picked back up and dark clouds were gathering nearby. It would have been good to climb Cir Mhor and maybe complete the ridge but with time short and a ferry to catch back we decided to head back down the path through Glen Rosa instead. We walked back leisurely and headed for a café to grab lunch and chat about the weekend. There is no doubt that the sunrise and sunset was amazing but I think the best thing about the weekend was the way we had ended up on Arran in the first place.
by Alastair S » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:11 am
[others] see what I mean about wild campers nabbing all the brilliant sunset/sunrise photos?
by Stretch » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:57 am
Love the "24" twist, makes for an excellent captivating read. Picture 11 is just superb.
by magicdin » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:19 am
One of the good things about Scotland is that it is a wee country and you can chase the weather if you are not set on a particular goal
And of course Arran is "Scotland in Minature"
by rockhopper » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:08 pm
by Merry-walker » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:16 pm
made me very happy
by Craiging619 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:29 pm
Magicdin - I often do a 'chase the weather' when coming up to Scotland - if it's in the week and not a time of year you have to book accommodation, it works pretty well to do that. Of course, in our more local Lake District, you can just pick an area to stay and still do a chase the weather as all the valleys are so close together
- mountain coward
by Lottie » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:21 pm
by Graeme D » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:48 pm
by malky_c » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:59 pm