A couple of weeks ago, myself and Cameron got our first hillwalk of the year in. We decided to head to the Isle of Arran and climb Goatfell. This time we chose the route from Corrie up to North Goatfell, then the ascent along the Stacach Ridge and finally up to Goatfell itself.
Goatfell is 874m or 2867ft for us oldies. The last time we climbed Goatfell was later on in the year, so this would be our first time with some snow at the top.
The mountain forecast was for some low lying cloud with a chance of cloud inversion at the top and light winds. Perfect conditions. We got the first ferry at 7am and the day looked very cloudy and dull. The first glimpse of Goatfell as the boat was heading into Brodick didn’t look good, totally covered in cloud but we hoped that we would climb above it once we reached the summit. We got the bus round to Corrie and started the climb. Once we made Coire lan, the cloud started to move in and we encountered our first pockets of snow. From there on, up to North Goatfell we climbed in plunging temperatures and poor visibility.
This image is of Cameron on North Goatfell. What the picture can’t convey is the wind that had started to pick up and we had to seek shelter between the rocks for a bite to eat. The wind was so bitingly cold that ice crystals started to form on my jacket and waterproof trousers. Suitably refreshed and after heating up my cold hands with a handwarmer, it was time to head along Stacach ridge and continue the climb.
The higher we got, we saw gaps in the cloud every now and then, with tantalising glimpses of blue sky.
We sat down here and waited for the cloud to lift.
The wait was worth it! In front of us the clouds parted and started rolling over the hills behind the Stacach Ridge. The wind also died away and it turned into a lovely afternoon.
Looking to my left, I could now see Cir Mhor and the Witches Step above the clouds too.
I then decided to head for the summit. By the time I reached the top, the clouds had moved on even more and there was some cloud inversion. Looking South-West from the trig point all you could see was a big blanket of cloud.
The next image is looking across Glen Rosa to Beinn Tarsuinn.
We then started our descent along the tourist route which was a bit tricky in places with hardened snow being a bit slippy. Luckily some other hardy soul had been up here and left footprints on the way down which we followed and used. Once we got to the top of Meall Breac we veered left and followed the path down to rejoin the original path back to Corrie. We managed our timings not too badly too, with only a 30 minute wait for the bus back to Brodick. I took one last picture of the ferry bathed in the late afternoon sun with Goatfell behind, before embarking and heading for home.
A very enjoyable day. The total length was just about 6 miles due to us going back to Corrie for the return instead of following the tourist route back down towards Brodick castle. The tourist route can be a bit of a slog so we were happy to try this alternate return route.