I was surprised when the group had said they wanted to climb Goatfell as part of their training as that made it convenient for me to pop back home for the weekend of the walk.
What I wasn't prepared for was them choosing a date for the walk that coincided with the Goatfell Race and Arran Mountain Festival!
With low cloud on the tops forecast for the day it would turn out to be a blessing in disguise and provide some more entertainment for the standard walk up the tourist route from Brodick. The group made the early ferry and met me along the road in Brodick and we set off, heading down the beach via Fisherman's Walk to Cladach, the scenic route, since the hills were in clouds and there was none of them to see yet.
Cutting through Brodick golf course and crossing the Rosa Burn it was surprisingly scenic with a high tide and still water creating reflections:
IMG_20190518_111821 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Rosa Burn and Brodick:
IMG_20190518_111826 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As we were cutting through the golf course this of course led to lots of golf related puns from Craig, par for the course for him!
Brodick, normally the Sub-Marilyn Clauchland Hills can be seen behind it here but even it's 260m bulk was invisible, not great for walking!
IMG_20190518_111910 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It was a bit drizzly but as we reached the Wine Port we were all feeling the heat and lost a layer or two.
At Cladach we followed the main path up past the brewery, Beinn Nuis up Glen Rosa hiding in the clouds today:
IMG_20190518_114001 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We passed a few other walkers who in turn passed us and the switching would continue with a few of the groups that started around the same time. Goatfell was now coming into view but shrouded in clouds:
IMG_20190518_121213 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Janice and Craig ahead on the path, luckily as we ascended the clouds were lifting a little:
IMG_20190518_121543 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
After continuing up the excellent path alongside Concan Burn we reached the bridge at the deer fence. A friend and their dog were there to meet me and I introduced them to the group as we had a quick snack and water break.
Looking down to Brodick, not the best visibility for a walk today:
IMG_20190518_122007 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Just after the deer fence the first of the runners appeared, they had set off at 12pm from Ormidale Park and just 20-30 minutes later were already around the 340m mark on the map:
IMG_20190518_122957 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The Arran Mountain Rescue Team were out in force today assisting the runners with the event, here they are ahead of us:
IMG_20190518_123005 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The clouds were still lifting slightly as runners continued to fly past us and we walked at the sides of the path to give them room:
IMG_20190518_123243 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
IMG_20190518_123649 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Goatfell, officially Windy Hill in Gaelic (Gaoithe Bheinn) but corrupted to the more Norse 'Goat' over the centuries. Anyone that has been up it will surely agree that HIll of the Wind is more appropriate than hill of the goat, i've never seen on on it!
IMG_20190518_123654 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meanwhile the runners were continuing on their way uphill:
IMG_20190518_123708 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The steady stream:
IMG_20190518_124126 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Janice and Craig enjoying a break further up the path where a group of school kids descending were shouting all kinds of encouragement to the passing runners:]
IMG_20190518_124219 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A few stragglers left now at the back of the pack as we pass a couple of guys coming down the path on their mountain bikes, everyone is out on the hill today!
IMG_20190518_125919 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As the cyclists flew downhill and stopped roughly where we were I overheard them saying what a thrill ride the cycle down had been so far but I don't think they expected quite so many obstacles today:
IMG_20190518_130006 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The first few runners were now passing us on the way back down which was impressive. We approached the shoulder where the cloud wasn't budging:
IMG_20190518_130041 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We were now also going at a similar pace to some of the stragglers at the end!
IMG_20190518_130220 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As the path steepens and gets more rocky it veers left and a cairn marks the path to Meall Breac and the route up from Corrie:
IMG_20190518_131709 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On the way back down now:
IMG_20190518_131720 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A fair few skint knees had passed us by now and we also heard a guy come a cropper not long after passing us but he was ok to continue.
Passing another AMRT checkpoint shown here, I stop to chat and we overheard them say on the radio that the first runner was already approaching the finish in Brodick, good going!
IMG_20190518_132238 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Oot the way! Fell runners are very thankful when you give them right of way on the path but on the way down a nod is sufficient as it sounded like even saying thanks as they ran past was quite an effort!
IMG_20190518_132501 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Craig as runners continue on their descent:
IMG_20190518_132607 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We decided to stop just before the minimal view vanished so we could enjoy an early lunch snack (I've noticed this is a trend now! ) in amongst the large boulders and just after the cairn to Meall Breac on the final ascent path.
We sat off the main path and enjoyed a break with sandwiches, soup, tea the whole works. A passing dog became our best friend quite quickly!
After a quick-ish break we set off uphill again and I said to the gang to follow the main path as I was going to detour to attempt to find the rucksack Detrimentalist had lost up there a few weeks back, to no avail unfortunately, the visibility certainly didn't help!
IMG_20190518_134217 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I followed an older, more exposed path up the ridge, quite exciting in the mist when you suddenly see a massive cliff dropping off not far away from you:
IMG_20190518_134221 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The path then heads left and starts to rejoin the newer path:
IMG_20190518_134419 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Janice and the others, in visibility like this a bright yellow jacket is great for identification:
IMG_20190518_134517 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I love the steep final section to the summit of Goatfell, it gets really bouldery and you can make the ascent as easy as difficult as you want so of course I got to enjoy some minor scrambling up large slabs just to make things interesting. The others never joined in though!
IMG_20190518_135421 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
You're doing well gang, not long to go now and in this visibility you'll just have to trust me!
IMG_20190518_135628 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Slab hopping time!
IMG_20190518_135632 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Now at the final ascent to the summit:
IMG_20190518_140004 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Here comes Janice:
IMG_20190518_140202 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Goatfell summit ahead and there's a tent on the far right, summit camping today?!
IMG_20190518_140715 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It turned out the tent was the final AMRT checkpoint. We reach the trig point at the summit where the view is...
IMG_20190518_141152 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Tent getting packed up now and here comes Rosie for her first summit of Goatfell!
IMG_20190518_141208 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
IMG_20190518_141213 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
IMG_20190518_141225 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Success, well done everyone!
IMG_20190518_141325 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We assure Rosie that the view is incredible from here but as there is no chance of even a brief clearing we hang around for a few minutes then set off down the path again. As we do I bump into the AMRT members that were in the tent and I finally meet Caileag, one of Arran's SARDA dogs, a wee cracker!
Rosie scrambling her way down now:
IMG_20190518_142829 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The descent was fairly fast but not quite fell runner pace!
IMG_20190518_143139 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking down the shoulder into the mist:
IMG_20190518_143155 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A bit lower down and the cloud base is lifting just to tease us:
IMG_20190518_143310 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The last of the runners were long gone now so it was a much quieter walk back down:
IMG_20190518_144930 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
To the south west Ard Bheinn is now in view as visibility improves:
IMG_20190518_145053 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The Mull of Kintyre can also be seen so Rosie at least got a glimpse of what could be seen from this high up:
IMG_20190518_145056 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Brodick Bay, Clauchland Hills and Mullach Mor (Holy Isle) can now be seen to the south:
IMG_20190518_145323 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
IMG_20190518_145330 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As almost everyone else descends the hill a group of three guys all wearing jeans and inappropriate footwear pass us, you always get some!
IMG_20190518_150712 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Cloud base lifting but it was just toying with us and wouldn't clear at all today:
IMG_20190518_151511 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A' Chruach now in view back right:
IMG_20190518_151531 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking over to Beinn Nuis and Beinn a' Chliabhain, both still refusing to say hello:
IMG_20190518_151852 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Goatfell and the path up to the shoulder:
IMG_20190518_151904 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Brodick edging ever closer:
IMG_20190518_152203 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
AMRT making sure everyone gets home safely:
IMG_20190518_152232 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Right everyone, home time!
IMG_20190518_152244 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We approach the bridge just after the deer fence and settle down for a final break:
IMG_20190518_152428 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I surprise the group with some cakes supplied by Mr Kipling which go down very well, the least I could do after a birthday cake surprise on our last walk!
IMG_20190518_152438 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Dun Fionn and Holy Isle:
IMG_20190518_152445 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Cheerio big yin, until next time:
IMG_20190518_153535 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It's now an easy descent back the way we came, stopping off to take a photo and measure this giant tree for the Woodland Trust, it's a beauty!
IMG_20190518_155949 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We reach the Castle Drive and I take us down it so I can show the standing stones to the group. Before that Janice and Rosie decide to sing a song to some Highland Cows who didn't bat an eyelid at the screeching!
IMG_20190518_160918 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking back at Goatfell from the Castle Drive:
IMG_20190518_162419 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We reach the main road and take a left then right to cut through the golf course then across the Rosa Burn:
IMG_20190518_163801 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We arrive back in Brodick and I say cheerio to the group who are now heading along the village for a drink and to wait for the 6pm ferry, while I head home to stay another night. Despite not having any summit views everyone loved their day out on Arran and climbing Goatfell during the Goatfell Race definitely made things interesting.
Next time we all have a personal best of 5 and a half hours to beat, a fair bit off the record time of 1:12:11!!
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