202/365 – Taking on the Isle of Arran’s highest summit

Elaine and I had an epic adventure today – we climbed Isle of Arran’s highest mountain, Goatfell. This Corbett (a Scottish mountain over 2,500ft) towers over Arran’s main settlement Brodick and is rather intimidating from sea level. There arw two main routes up the 2,854ft peak – the tourist route from the Arran brewery car park or the hard route from Corrie. We took the gradual tourist route up the mountain and accidentally took the challenging route on the way back.  

  
 After days of driving around Skye littered with short walks, we were both ready for a proper stretch of the legs. As it was close to our guest house, it seemed rude to tackle Goatfell….even if it was drizzling and cloudy. What else can you do in that kind of weather?!
The website said the climb would take  four to six hours walking but having seen it I thought we’d be able to cut that down to about three hours. Sure enough we arrived back at the car drenched at around 5pm having set out at 1pm. 

Anyway, the first part of the ascent was easy with a gentle incline. We meandered through woods and fields of heather until we came to a gate which signalled the start of the scrambling over rocks. Thankfully we met a few other idiots who decided to climb on such a dreik day and who encouraged us. As the path got trickier, my legs began to shake a little and I realised that I had left my mestinon in the car. Not smart. 

The top kept evading us as we wound our way up and up skipping boulders now. Just as we reached the last 20metres, thick cloud poured around us and we scrambled to the top as quickly as possible without taking a moment’s pause before heading back down. I don’t know what I thought I needed sunglasses for in the photo below.

 
Anyway, in our rush to get out of the cloud, we took the wrong path and ended up climbing down the other side of the mountain (on the path for experienced hill walkers…whoops). 

This path was tough and left us scrambling for around an hour. The steps between stones were made for giants and we had to climb through no less than two waterfalls. However, it may have been more difficult but it was also quicker which my shaky legs were very grateful for. When we arrived in Corrie, we found a hire taxi just over the road from the bus stop. The lovely driver took us to Brodick for cash before dropping us at our car all the time regaling tales of other silly people who got lost on the mountain. He picked up one guy at 6am who had been on a stag doo the night before and woke up on the mountainside. Scarier still, he had no idea how he got up there.

After a bath with a glass of red wine, I’m feeling warmed up and my legs are no longer shaking. Today we missed the views of Jura and Ireland from the top sadly, but I had the feel good factor of climbing my first Scottish mountain since being diagnosed with myasthenia. 

Read more about walking with myasthenia here. 

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