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On Sunday some friends and I decided to make the best of a beautiful clear (if cold!) November day and get one final climb in before the end of the year. We took an early ferry over to Arran from Glasgow, conscious of the fact sundown was around 4pm, for a quick climb up Goatfell – the second time I’ve climbed this mountain this year. I couldn’t share too many pictures from last time as I was there with work, so I’m glad to be able to share more of this trip. The weather was also much better this time round, despite the last trip being in July!
We took a walk along the fisherman’s walk and up the ‘tourist path’ to ascend Goatfell. This time of year is perfect for climbing if you can get a nice clear, cold day like we did. The colours in the forest on the first part of the ascent were an amazing mix of greens, browns, reds and gold. There was the added bonus of a bit of snow cover on the top of the mountain and the last part of the ascent, making the climb more difficult (think vertical scrambling on rocks with snow and occasional black ice…), but adding to the overall beauty of the scenery. This time of year is excellent for photographing Scottish mountains; you truly get the best of both worlds in terms of capturing the end of autumn and the beginning of winter.
The visibility and light were brilliant, and the views across Brodick Bay were excellent, with Ailsa Craig, the extinct volcano referred to as the ‘jewel of the Firth of Clyde’ is just visible in the distance to the south. the peak to the right is the Holy Isle, which is inhabited by Buddhist monks where you can go for spiritual retreats and meditation.
Despite the cold we made it to the top and back in 4 hours – including a slight detour along the wrong ridge on our descent (the ridge visible in the third photo above), before we realised our mistake and had to walk horizontally along the south-east face of the mountain, which was a bit scary in the snow with no path! The wind was so strong at the summit that we rushed to get back down out the gale, which is why we initially took the wrong ridge. Lesson learned; even in excellent visibility, and on a reasonably easy corbett, it’s easy to lose your bearings when your’re hundreds of metres above sea level in even slightly challenging weather. I know this mountain well, so noticed our mistake fairly quickly, but had we not noticed and continued down the western side of the mountain we could have been in serious trouble given the sun was setting and the temperature dropping quickly.
The view from the top was stunning as always, revealing the rest of Arran’s mountain ranges several of which were snow-peaked. Well worth the climb despite the cold! The trip was topped off by the amazing view of the stars on the ferry back to Ardrossan on the mainland; the silver lining to it being dark before 5pm in Scotland at this time of year. It was a bit choppy, so no pictures unfortunately!
As always, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and thanks for visiting!