Autumn Climb up Goatfell

(click on images for full screen version)

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!


Ben Lomond


A friend and I managed a walk up Ben Lomond a couple of weekends ago, one of the more popular peaks in the Scottish Highlands. We were not short of fellow travellers, with the mountain being quite busy.

I managed a couple of nice shots on the way up and on the way back down, but sadly the top was just cloud! Ah well, an excuse to do it again in better weather (although I’m not sure there is such a thing as ‘better weather’ in the Scottish highlands…) This shot was my favourite from the day, I think it captures the drama of being up there in the clouds pretty well.

Ben Arthur & Arthur’s Seat

Arthurs Seat Cobbler W

The weekend before last a friend and I climbed The Cobbler in the Western Scottish Highlands – believe it or not, this stunning view from the highest point on The cobbler – Ben Arthur and Arthur’s Seat – is only an hour and ten minute journey from Glasgow by train to Arrochar and Tarbet station (plus a few hours climb uphill).

The prominent rock in the picture is Arthur’s Seat, not to be confused with the peak of the same name in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh. Many places in the UK are named after the Mythical King Arthur, whose existence is the subject of debate, as most of the information we have about Arthur comes from folklore.

The loch on the right of the picture is Loch Long, a sea loch which filters out into the Firth of Clyde, south past the Ayrshire Bay and out into the Irish Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, depending on which direction it travels.

More photos from this trip to come!

As always, thanks for visiting ūüôā

Going through old photographs

Arran River

I was going through some old photographs and found this old shot from climbing Goatfell on the Isle of Arran a few years back. Didn’t like it so much at the the time but my tastes have obviously changed.

If you’ve¬†ever climbed Goatfell on a hot day I’m sure you’ve refilled a water bottle or two from this stream. I’ve personally stuck my head in it a few times to relieve the heat! Hoping to head over to Arran and camp in the next few weeks, a little break from PhD-land. Looking forward to climbing Goatfell for the umpteenth time and taking in the amazing views across the West Coast.

Loch Ard and Ben Lomond

Loch Ard & Ben Lomond

Last weekend me and my partner (also an academic, and a much better one that I) attended a writing retreat in Gartmore Village near Aberfoyle in the Trossachs. Most of the weekend was spent writing with the rest of the group, which was very productive, but I did manage to get a few pictures of the beautiful surroundings while I was there, despite the rubbish weather. This picture was taken from the east end of Loch Ard looking west towards the snow capped Ben Lomond in the distance. I’ll be taking a trip back here when the weather improves (and importantly it starts getting dark a bit later that 4pm) as it is a photographers paradise of beautiful woods, lochs and quiet little villages.

Glencoe Village

Glencoe Village from Loch Leven


Glencoe Village from the edge of Loch Leven in the Scottish Highlands

Last weekend me and my other half took a much needed trip out to the highlands for a break. We were originally meant to be going to London, but the plans got abandoned and so we ended up in Glencoe village, which is pretty much the exact opposite of London!

Glencoe Village sits on the edge of Loch Leven, and has some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland, even with the rubbish weather this time of year. It was my first visit, but I’ll definitely be back. For anyone thinking of going up I would recommend the Glencoe Hotel, it’s nothing fancy but the food is great and the staff were all really nice. There are a couple of negative reviews on Tripadviser, but we got the room for a cheap deal on and couldn’t have been happier. I think people who go to the highlands and moan about the size of their room or the view from their window are missing the point. Go outside and explore, stop sitting in the hotel!

Arran and Goatfell

Some pictures from a recent trip to the Isle of Arran off the West Coast of Scotland. We spent a couple of days on the Island, near my home town of Prestwick. Despite it being so close to where I grew up this was the first time I had properly climbed Goatfell, the highest peak on the Island. Admittedly, we got a little lost (twice) but eventually made it to the summit of North Goatfell. We were a bit late to climb the extra 100 metres to Goatfell proper, but as it turned out the delays meant we were at the summit only an hour or two before sunset, so were treated to a beautiful view.

This picture was taken from roughly 2,500 ft above sea level, looking North West. The ridge in the foreground is The Saddle. In the distance is Argyle, and on the right you can just see the Isle of Bute. I’m not great at reading maps, but as far as I can tell the mountain ridge in the very far distance about a third in from the right is the start of the mountain range at Glencoe.

The Saddle

Another shot of the top of The Saddle ridge with the sunset, looking slightly more west than the previous picture. We were very lucky to get this view I think, and we couldn’t hang about for long as we didn’t fancy doing the two hour trek down the mountain in the dark (probably more given that we’re amateurs at this).

Mountain tops sunset

And finally, the ascent to Goatfell from the path that leads up to the summit from the village of Corrie. On the left is Goatfell itself, and on the right is North Goatfell with the path leading up to it, where the previous two pictures were taken.