Yesterday was Arran looking at its best with waking to the sun and a little breeze, the sea the boats and you could have been in the South of France. I am staying in Lamlash and with Holy Isle as a view with breakfast it was already some day. The breakfast was as always superb in the Ivy Bank at the Bed and Breakfast where we are so well looked after by Sherrie and Andrew. The drive to Brodick was easy and wonderful and the views as you come over the hill above Brodick superb. The ridge explodes in front of you and all the familiar peaks look so wonderful, especially today. There was a warm wind so the midges would be low key hopefully. We were away early at the car park for a short wander up to Goatfell that we were warned it would be busy. This is August in Arran and I was amazed at the folk on the hill already. It is many years since I went up the tourist route usually I went via the many fine ridges that offer more of a challenge and some peace but today we were with the crowds on a grand hill. It is a fine pyramidal peak and a magnificent viewpoint. From one of the guide books:
Goatfell is the highest of the mountains on Arran and the culminating point of some dramatic granite ridges. This is the most popular and straightforward route of ascent. Goatfell is the highest point on the Isle of Arran. At 874 metres, it is one of four Corbetts on the island. The mountain, along with nearby Brodick Castle, is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
The path starts near the Castle it is a superb and wynds its way up through the forestry,today thankfully it was in the shade and then on to the open moorland and the river. You start at sea level so it is a steady pull up on a great path. All the way now out of the forest you can see the ridge and the lovely shape of Goatfell. This is a fine looking mountain nad the views behind are as dramatic with the Ayrshire coast,the sea and Holy Island. It was still hot and great to refill the water at the burn s and enjoy the views and see how many were enjoying this superb mountain.
There were so many folk about one third were kids all wearing assorted gear but what a special day to be on the mountain it was a constant stream of people. Most walkers may moan about such a busy hill but to me it was great to see so many out and going so well. It took me back to our early days in this mountain many years ago as a family.
There was even a group taking a table chairs and the makings for cream teas on the summit from the National Trust. They were moving well and it was an impressive sight and we shared a few breaks when we caught up with them. It is still a steep walk and the views back wards to Holy Loch amazing and the weather perfect with the breeze. It was great see so many enjoying the hill and the effort was there to see and what a day to enjoy it.
We had a chat with so many as those already coming done from an early start on the final pull up to the summit. It at times made it a slow process as the path is tight in places but what views. As always the views the sea and the mountains, my memories and sharing so this day with many warm but happy folk this to me is what these hills are about. I had climbed these hills many times in the past but Goatfell by the tourist path was one of my first hills as a wee lad and what memories I have of Arran. As we neared the summit Dan my mate so patient wandered on and as I past the final rocks I had memories of my DAD and Mum telling me tales of the mountains, the Arran murder on this hill many years ago and the many aircraft crashes. What stories to a wee boy and the specail bit of chocolate on the summit that was a treat was a strong memory.
It was a short break on the busy summit so many happy people and the National Trust laying a table tea pot etc were surreal. We then head back as I had the talk that night in the Corrie Village Hall in aid of The Arran Mountain Festival and the Arran Mountain Rescue Team. It was a slow wander down the people coming up were constant streams of families but still great to see. I had time for a shower a power nap and then head to Corrie and set up for the evening. The Arran Mountain Rescue Team were running a Barbecue at the interval on the evening. The night was great fun and the first part was a wonderful talk by Lucy Wallace and Kirsty Smith of a huge undertaking of all the hills in Arran over 700 metres for charity a huge day and achievement.
There was a huge effort by so many setting up the hall organising the tea and cakes all for the Arran Mountain Festival, so many giving up their time this is some community all working together.
This is from the Arran MRT website www.arranmountainrescue.com/single-post/2017/03/31/Arran-700s-Challenge
Two of our team members are taking on the challenge of completing all of Arran’s 700m plus peaks(12 summits!!!) in one go on the 14th May to help raise funds for us and Mulanje MRT.
They will be starting at the crack of dawn on Sunday 14th May from Pirnmill and the intended route is as follows..
The first summit of the day Beinn Bharrain(717m) then along the ridge onto Mullach Buidhe(721m- the highest of our Western hills) then the final 700+ summit on the Pirnmill ridge – Beinn Bhreac(711m).
From there, they will descend to Loch Tanna and make their way across to the Leac an Tobair and up onto Caisteal Abhail(859m) before heading East on Ceum na Caillich(Witches step) to the highest point on the ridge(758m).
They will now descend slightly before heading up on to Cir Mhor(799m).
From Cir Mhor they will descend S/W and onto their biggest challenge of the day A’Chir (745m -which involves a bit of technical scrambling)
Once over A’chir they will descend onto Bealach an Fhir bhogha before climbing once again to reach the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn(826m)
After this summit, they will have a slight descent along the ridge to Beinn Nuis(792m) before returning back along the ridge to Beinn Tarsuinn and onto the North side of Beinn a Chliabhain for a decent into Coire Daingean and down into Glen Rosa.
The final part of the day will see them head up from Glen Rosa onto the saddle, up North Goatfell ridge to the summit of North Goatfell(818m) along the ridge N/E onto Mullach Buidhe(819m) then finally heading back along Stacach and onto the final and highest summit of the challenge – Goatfell(874m)
The girls did this huge walk along with Kirsty’s dog Caileag and what a great presentation they did. Their talk was amazing and took you through the highs and lows of a superb trip. The audience were enthralled and it was a hard act to follow.
The hall was busy and then we had the barbecue supplied by the Arran MRT team. This was followed by a raffle and some great prizes organised by the Arran Mountain Festival and all given by local suppliers and shops.
It was then my turn and it seemed to go well. I spoke hopefully about how specail Arran is to me from my early days with Mum and Dad to my adventures in the RAF Mountain Rescue Team with so many great people. Rowing in Brodick Bay in the big rowing boats, the beach and after long days on the hills collecting bottles from Glen Rosa for a bag of chips after a great day on the hills. The swims in the Rosa burn, the midges and the wonderful hills and the pull up to Corriegills at the end of the day. We had a great crowd and everyone seemed happy.
It was getting late but got back to Lamlash for a few drinks with friends. As we left Corrie the moon was out and it was special with it glinting on the sea.
My short few days in Arran were great what a place and incredible folk I have so much love and respect for this place. I have met so many kind folk who work so hard to make it such a place and a wonderful place to live. They seem to be working so hard to improve facilities and it is shocking to see that the so called “Austerity cuts” effect things like Public Toilets. The locals are not lying down and accepting things and are raising funds to re open wherever possible these basic amenities that in 2017 should be part of any community. There is some passion on this Island that we could all learn from? I have so many memories from past visits with my family and with so many companions in the RAF Mountain Rescue Teams. I was not disappointed with my visit.
A big thanks to all who attended and to all those who helped make the teas, cakes, the raffle, those who donated prizes and the Arran MRT for the Barbecue and my mate Dan Carrol for all his help and patience it was great to spend some time with you.
My Dad who loved Arran wrote these words many years ago and they are still so true
- Long after the other memories of the holidays in Arran have faded those spent of the days on the tops in the heart of the Island will remain – the heart of the Island, yes perhaps in the heart in more senses than one. “
- Rev W H Whalley” 1956 My Dad thanks to you and Mum for giving me a love of this wonderful place.