Goat Fell Isle of Arran

Ayrshire Walking Goat Fell Isle of Arran
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Where: Goat Fell, Isle of Arran
When: June 2013
Who: I Parker
Why: Good weather so a day out
Weather: Sunny
Distance: about 7 miles

The image below is of the Arran ferry Caledonian Isles arriving at Ardrossan. This image was taken from the ferry car park at Ardrossan pier. It costs about £11 per person for a day return on the ferry, and about £70 per return for a car, so many people park here for a few pounds per day, rather than take the car. If you are taking a car at weekends or in the school holiday season, it is best to pre-book, as the ferry can be fully booked then.

Ardrossan Train Station is situated less than half of a mile south of the ferry terminal. You can normally buy train/ferry tickets together with a discount. Train/Ferry Map.

The first ferry normally departs Ardrossan at 07.00 and the next at 09.45. Afternoon ferries leaving Brodick are normally 16.40 and 19.20. In summer, there is also a smaller fery that runs so there will be more crossings available. Price checks and timetables for the ferry can be found at the ferry website:
www.calmac.co.uk/destinations/arran.

Arran Ferry at Ardrossan

The image below is of one of the restaurants on board the ferry. I was on the first ferry at 07.00, and it takes about 1 hour to cross to Brodick, so had to have the full breakfast.

Arran ferry restaurant

The image below is from the ferry looking at the 2,866 ft Goat Fell mountain sitting high above Brodick Castle. The line shows roughly the tourist trail to the top.

The tourist trail departs from the Wineport Bar & Bistro at Cladach, under 2 miles north of Brodick, follows a well marked woodland path up onto the side of the mountain, climbs steady up a path to the east ridge, then goes up the fairly steep and rocky east ridge.

Goat Fell from the Arran Ferry

The image below is from the ferry as it is approaching Brodick on the Isle of Arran. The bus station is situated right next to the ferry terminal. Bus times north to Cladach, Corrie, Sannox, Lochranza, round to Blackwaterfoot and back to Brodick via the road across the middle of the island are about 10:55 . 13:40 . 16:20 . 19:05. Check times Tel - 0141 332 6811. These buses are normally timed to depart about 5 minutes after the ferry has docked. There does not seem to be a bus for the first ferry though.

In summer, there is also an Open Top Bus that runs between Brodick Pier and Brodick Castle to the north, and Lamlash and Whiting Bay to the south, also a tour around the north of the island.
www.stagecoachbus.com/Arran2010.aspx

There is also the Bay Garage at the terminal that offers low cost car hire, phone 01770 302 839. If you do a loup round the mountains and end up at the Corrie Hotel, or Sannox Hotel, and the buses have not suited, you can get a taxi back to Brodick. Or if you are off the first ferry, a taxi may be the only way out to one of the trails, other than walking.

Bay Garrage also offer up to 8 seat mini buses for Hiking Parties, Golf Parties, or Island Tours. For more information, call George on Mob: 07967 587 481 or Day: 01770 700 345 or Evening: 01770 820 286.
Email: glammy1960@gmail.com

A.R.C. Private Hire are based in Brodick with a price guide for up to 4 people of about £5 between Brodick and Cladach, £10 between Brodick and Corrie, and £15 between Brodick and Sannox. Tel: 0777 608 2752.

Note the large brown building by the terminal, that is the Douglas Hotel with a popular beer garden, ideal for a refreshment when waiting on the ferry. The white building just to the right of the douglas, is another hotel with a popular beer garden and bouncy castle for kids.

Brodick from the Arran Ferry

The image below is of the Wineport Bar and Bistro at Cladach, under 2 mile north of Brodick. Behind the Bistro is the Arran Brewery. The well marked Goat Fell trail starts from next to the brewery shop, just behind the bistro. There is a car park in front of the bistro, and another car park across the road. Map.

This image was taken early in the morning. On my return in the afternoon, there were many hikers in the beer garden here enjoying cool beer made in the brewery next door.

The small sign next to this larger sign, stated it was three and a half miles to Goat Fell, so off I set up past the bistro and brewery shop to the start of the trail.

Websites: www.mackenzieleather.co.uk . www.arranbrewery.com .

www.arranactive.co.uk . arranpottery.co.uk . www.wineport.co.uk .

Wineport Bistro and Bar Arran

The image below is of the trail through the woodland. Just keep going uphill and do not turn onto any paths or roads leading off this main trail.

Goat fell Trail

The image below is of the Goat Fell Trail after it clears the woodland. There is a wooden hiking bridge just up from here, then a gate through a deer fence. Once through the deer fence, the path climbs steady up alongside Goat Fell to the east ridge.

Goat Fell trail

The image below is from the Goat Fell trail as it reaches the east ridge. The path goes straight up the east ridge, through rocks for about 700 ft. The trail up here is fairly straight forward most of the time, but has a few spots that have about 3 or 4 feet steps to climb up, so a number of places you could easily loose your footing. This section is so steep, it is normally hiked slow and careful.

Goat Fell east ridge route

The image below is of the east ridge getting close to the top. The path up this section is fairly easy to follow, even in light cloud.

Goat Fell east ridge path

The image below is of the final section of Goat Fell mountain. The path winds its way round to the left close to the top, up the south side, then back to the east side as seen in this image, for the final short hike to the summit.

Try and remember this route and take a compass reading from the east ridge, so if it clouds over on top, you can find the path back down safely. The trail on the final section is faint, so is not easy to follow back down in cloud. Most hikers caught in thick cloud on the top, wait for a clear spell before starting down off the top section, as there are cliffs all around.

Goat Fell top section

The image below is of the Trig Point and Cairn on top of Goat Fell, looking northwest to the 2,818 ft Caisteal Abhail, second highest mountain on Arran.

There were a lot of girls and women on the mountain, and they all seemed to know their way over mountains. Not sure where any of them were from, apart from one girl I met on the route back down named Kylie from Perth in Australia.

Goat Fell Summit

The image below is of the route over past the pointy 2,621 ft Cir Mhor to Caisteal Abhail. Only seasoned hikers seem to use that route, as Caisteal Abhail has a few dangerous sections.

There is a local guide company that provide tours of that range, Local Guides.

There is a trail from down on the lowest part named The Saddle, that leads left down Glen Rosa, back to the north end of Brodick. The trail from The Saddle to the right, leads up Glen Sannox to Sannox village. It is about 8 miles from Sannox to Brodick, about £15 for a taxi. The Sannox Hotel has a beer garden and the Corrie Golf Course, situated on the north side of Sannox, has a popular diner.

Large Image .

Goat Fell route to Caisteal Abhail

The image below is looking north from Goat Fell to North Goat Fell. There are routes back down over North Goat Fell to the villages of Corrie and Sannox.

Goat Fell view to North Goat Fell

The image below is from the route over to the 2,683 ft North Goat Fell and the 2,687 ft Mullach Buidhe out and to the right of North Goat Fell.

On the far side of North Goat Fell, you can see a trail run down into the valley. That trail runs to the south side of Corrie village, named High Corrie.

I met hikers on top of Goat Fell that had just hiked up the valley trail from Corrie, and over North Goat Fell. They stated they thought it was a lot tougher route than the Goat Fell trail from Cladach.

Large Image .

Gaot Fell trail to North Goat Fell

The image below is of the trail back down the east ridge of Goat Fell. Note the tourist trail back to Cladach runs off the ridge and down to the right.

Note over to the left in this image, the valley trail back to Corrie village. There is also a trail down off Goat Fell, at the bottom of the east ridge, over to the Corrie trail.

Goat Fell trail down to Cladach

The image below is of the trail back down to Cladach as it crosses the hikers bridge, just above the woodland path. The trail back down seemed longer than going up.

Goat Fell hiking bridge

The image below is of a hotel in the centre of Brodick, just south of the pier with a beer garden, a popular spot for refreshments when waiting on the ferry.

McLaren Hotel Brodick

The image below is of another hotel looking over the pier, another popular spot for refreshments when waiting on the ferry.

Douglas Hotel Brodick

The Goat Fell Map below shows the Tourist Trail in Blue. The Green and Yellow dots show good trails, and the Green and Brown dots show the more difficult routes.

Goat Fell Range OS Map.

Goat Fell Map

The hike to Goat Fell was enjoyable and fairly steady much of the way. The final 700 ft up the east ridge was probably as steep, if not steeper, than many Munros. The rugged tops of the mountains all around, make for stunning views. The trail was dry and good all the way in this warm dry spell, could not see any places that could get soggy even in wet spells. Many hikers were in shorts and trainers. The granite rocks may be a bit slippy in the rain though.

I took two and a half hours to get to the top, so the hike to the top and back probably averages between 4 and 6 hours. I had to wait around on top for about 4 hours to get the images I needed, as the cloud was slow to clear. The wait was well worth it as the views in the sun are increadible.

There is a bar or hotel with a beer garden at the end of most of the trails, so that certainly makes the hike even more enjoyable. I really appreciate a cool glass of ale after a long hike. I missed a cool glass of Arran Blonde at the Wineport Beer Garden, said to be a real nice drink after a hike, next time.

For information on Corrie and Sanox, visit the Tour of Arran Page.

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