Midnight walk up Goatfell, then a day hiking the three Beins

Route: Goatfell, from Brodick Castle

Corbetts: Beinn Tarsuinn, Goat Fell

Date walked: 23/08/2019

I had bought myself a new rucksack. A Vango GR35:40 and headed over to Arran on the 20:30 ferry. Arrived at the foot of Goatfell around 10 PM and off I went, having the place to myself. I made good time, reaching the bridge quickly and started the gradual ascent up the tourist path, through the gate and on to the boulder steps.

On my way up Goatfell

An hour or so into my walk the dreaded clag came in and I was surrounded by the low clouds. It didn't take long until I was damp from head to toe. My head torch (200 lumens) was having a hard time penetrating the fog like air but still gave me enough visibility to press on. I had every intention of pitching my tent at or near the top and also had it in mind to enjoy the sunrise from the top.

Things steadily deteriorated and so the poles came out, I pushed on. I knew this path well, having climbed this Corbett many times. I had my Banshee 200 with me, a mat, pot, stove, a few other basics and some grub, but had forgotten my gloves. Pressing on, I finally made it to the steep part and 10 minutes later I was at the top, standing beside the trig point. I sat myself down and made a brew hoping that conditions would improve but inside I knew I wasn't going to be camping on Goatfell this night.

An hour (ish) later, I was on my way back down. I had it in mind to set up camp somewhere near the path to Corrie but while humming a tune to myself I missed the fork in the path and before I knew it, was on my way back down to the bridge. So I topped up my water from the burn and carried on towards the woods, thinking I might camp there, and head back up again before the sun rose. No deal, the terrain was too wet and for some daft reason I spooked myself and imagined all sorts of nonsense, lol. Maybe it was a mistake not bringing the dog after all, I always feel safer when she's around, as no one is getting within a hundred yards of our camp without her letting me know.

I carried on to the bottom and reached the carpark. Attached my poles to my pack, chewed on cereal bar and checked the time, it was almost 04:30. Maybe I would get away with pitching on or near the beach and a few hours kip. So off I went, still in the dark. After scooting around the back of Arran Aromatics, I was on the Fisherman's Walk and looking for a suitable spot. My spider senses where tingling so I pressed on and eventually found what I thought might be adequate. A raised bank of sand a few hundred feet from the waters edge. I've not pitched on sand before, but it was a calm night and it wasn't long before I had my tent up, my mat out and tucked up inside my sleeping bag. The flies and other bugs where a nuisance though and a few where inside the tent, hoping around.

It wasn't very comfortable underneath me even with the mat, the sand seemed to be hard as stone and I found myself tossing and turning for most of the time. I remembered sighting a couple of swans off near the waters edge as I was pitching. The gentle sound of the waves lapping on the shore at least helped me relax, even though I wasn't sure I'd get any sleep. I decided to strip off to my undies and get more comfortable, but something was niggling at me. I had the most dreadful thought. The waves sounded awfully close now even though I was up on a sand bank. I unzipped my inner then flysheet and stared like a stunned mullet at the sea, two feet from my tent while the swans stared back, an arms length away.

Jumping outside, frightening the swans, sticking my feet in my boots, I quickly pulled the five pegs I'd placed in the sand to hold up the tent. Then grabbed the tent poles and lifted everything, tent, contents, the lot, like a big handbag and sprinted for the golf course, up and over the grass verge about 20 metres away, dumping it all on the fairway before sprinting back to retrieve my walking poles and a couple of other bits I had left outside in the porch. By the time I had picked everything up, the patch where my tent had been was already claimed by the sea.

Sitting on the golf course in the dark, contemplating my navel and being slowly tormented by the midge I made a decision to pull the tent back up, stake a couple of pegs and jump inside. I have far too many memories of pacing round my camp cursing the midges under my breath. At least until the sun was due to rise then head back up the hill. Once inside though, with my mat and sleeping bag already set out, I got back inside (I was still only in my underpants mind) and pulled my midge net on and put my head inside the sleeping bags hood, pulled my pillow under it and moaned and bitched like a Jessie. Well what do you know, I fell asleep.

There was this strange whining noise that rudely awoke me at 05:45 and after a moment or two, when my head got around where I was and what it might be, I sneaked a peek outside and there was a greenkeeper in a ride along, cutting the fairway. He looked across and that look said it all, so I hastily packed up and moved on. The Co-Op opened at 06:00.

After a breakfast and a bleather with some of the (l)yocals I headed over to Glen Rosa to do the three Beins, starting from Beinn Nuis. It had been a year maybe more since I had been that way and it would give me a chance to see how the new rucksack felt climbing up and over some of the grey rock slabs and bigger boulders. The path up to Nuis was appalling. A bog fest. I was up to my ankles in it, having fun as the day got warmer and the sun rose higher in the sky. By mid afternoon, I was eating lunch on Tarsuinn while chatting with a fell runner, then a group of three hikers and there twa dogs. We got talking about the path back down to Glen Rosa and how badly marked it was. I had to laugh as I tried to justify that every time I had made this trek I never managed to stick to the same path twice, no matter if I was going up the way or coming back down.

Me, the dafty

They where quicker than me, so soon left me behind to pick my own way through the water logged ground. At least they weren't too far away that I couldn't at least follow their direction. Then slip, my foot went and my right leg was knee deep in the peat bog, while my left leg flayed behind and I fell backwards on my arse right in the muck, before sinking backward on to my bag. I got up, pulled my foot out and slipped on my front. My new rucksack was now well and truly christened. The bright red material was now a mixture of black...

I managed my way down to the kissing gate, having only slipped three more times and by now I was caked in muck up to my elbows too. At least the midges couldn't bite. The young couple coming up the way, had appeared genuine as they assured me the pack wasn't too bad. I didn't want to take it off, the water was running down my back and well, you can imagine the rest. It was a hot day, It was cooling me down.

The last part of the descent now and I was back on rocky ground. The steps where more worn than I remembered and gritty, so I was taking my time. It had been that sort of a day. Lack of enough sleep hadn't helped. I warily descended one step at a time for fear of going on my backside and so being careful not to slip I conceded and reached around the back of my rucksack to unhitch one of my hiking poles to help make my clumsiness appear more professional to any onlookers when directly under my foot, right where I was about to place my boot was an adder. Yep, lying there on the path shading in the long grass and giving me the dirtiest, you dare, look.

The snake

I don't normally have a peelly wally complexion, but I'm sure the colour drained out of my quicker than the peat water was running down my backpack. It started moving off, just as I took a photo of it. Slowly snaking its way off the path into the long grass. I switched to video mode and grabbed a few moments of footage. Spectacular. Off I headed, flicking a tick from my Craghoppers as I went. Meah, just a minor nuisance. I'd survived a snake.

Got to the bridge at the start of Glen Rosa and met a dude I'd came across several times on the island over the past couple of years and we chewed the fat for a bit, before I realised the ferry was due to leave Brodick in an hour and I had to get a wiggle on. It had been a fun adventure, I could say that now, reflecting on it as I supped on a cold can of alcohol, outside the ferry terminal, daring any young police officer to try and confiscate it from my mits.

My first walk report. I hope I haven't came across as a bit of an arse, a complete noob or one of those blokes that talks a good game. I do like a good story though and I hope you enjoyed reading mine....

All the best, safe and happy travels everyone.


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Comments: 2


Location: Troon
Occupation: Software Engineer
Interests: Multi day hiking, hill walking, wild camping and anything to do with Arran.
Activity: Wanderer
Pub: Cheeky Charlies
Mountain: Cir Mhor
Place: Arran and Glen Coe
Gear: Compass
Member: None, solo wanderer
Ideal day out: Epic ridge walk
Ambition: To be stress free

Munros: 43
Corbetts: 12
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 1
Sub 2000: 1
Islands: 14
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Ayrshire Coastal Path    Great Glen Way    John Muir Way    Kintyre Way    Southern Upland Way    Cape Wrath Trail    Rob Roy Way    East Highland Way    Arran Coastal Way   

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Trips: 1
Corbetts: 2

Joined: Feb 28, 2017
Last visited: Feb 27, 2020
Total posts: 50 | Search posts