Thursday, 18 March 2010

Arran, part one, Goat Fell

Well, it all started with this webcam really. We almost booked to go to Madeira again, but that was a very lucky decision not to, as the island has been devastated by the worst flooding in its history.
Anyway, Sue had said she'd always fancied Arran, so I started looking at things (ferries, B&B's etc)......and the webcams!
This is the best webcam on Arran;

I decided to let the sat-nav take us to Ardrossen, where the ferry terminal is, and it took us via GLASGOW!!
Sue was chuntering and grumbling for the last third of the journey, as she KNEW she could have done a better job of the navigation. Anyway, when we DID eventually arrive in Brodick (where the web camera is), we just HAD to pose in front of it!

But, before we got to the island, we had a long drive up there.
After the long, six hour drive, we were really excited to see this, our first view of the island.
The weather was great, and the island looked fantastic in its mantle of snow.

We tarried too long though, sighing and 'ahhing' at this wonderful view - and we missed the chance to take an earlier ferry! As we pulled onto the terminal, the ferry was JUST closing the door. ONE MINUTE earlier, said the ticket lady, and we'd have been able to catch it. Oh well, this meant a three hour wait for the one we had booked to go across on, so it gave us chance to eat, do a small tour of Ardrossen (wow - NOT!) and then to come back for a stroll on the beach for more pictures (cue sighing and ahhing again).

We had the most gorgeous sky too.


Erm, I think you ought to shut that door mister - we're going to sea now.

Well, I SAY sea - it was more like the proverbial mill pond!
Dolphins can often be seen in the bow wave of the ferry, but not today.

Holy Island - looking a bit foreboding in this light, I have to say.
This small 'islet' just off the coast of Arran, is a haven for meditation and Tibetan monks.
It was on our itinerary to visit it during our stay.
Not to meditate or take the vows - but just for a walk ;-)

But first, we had to find 'Arran Barn', our B&B for the next week.
I'd chosen this from the reviews Kath & Phil got on Trip Advisor. Also, after ringing up and talking to Kath, I knew this was the place for us. I wasn't wrong either, it was lovely.

This was our breakfast view, but to be honest, we'd expected to see a thick blanket of snow, as it had started coming really heavily the previous night and I had visions of us being snowed in. but as quickly as it started - it stopped!
So - it was sunshine for breakfast. There had been a quite severe frost overnight, but the sun was defrosting everything pretty quickly, including the car.

Sue went to feed the hens in thanks for us eating their lovely eggs with our breakfast.
That's a strange looking one though - that ginger one???

When we looked out of our bedroom window, there was a red squirrel.
Phil puts nuts in that box, and the squirrel comes every day to feed.
He has learned to pop up the lid with his head for a free feed.

After fuelling up with a super breakfast, we set off to try and get to the top of Goat fell, the highest point on Arran.
Obviously, it had taken another hit of snow during the night,
but we decided to just 'suck it and see'
Sometimes, all was not as it seemed. and we spotted this wood-woodpecker!

A glance to the right as we walked along the B&B lane gave us this view

But soon we had turned towards Goat fell, and started the long
climb from sea level up the track.
It wasn't long before we'd reached the snow line,
and heard that familiar creaking sound underfoot as we trod onwards.

Wow! That looks like a LOT of snow!

Although there was a nip in the air, the strong sun was making us warm with our efforts,
so off came the fleece, gloves and hat.

Sue too was taking layers off to stay comfortable.
Brodick bay is behind her, with the top of Holy island peeping over the horizon.
(click on any of the pics to see a bigger version,
then click the back arrow to return to the blog)

A look forward saw things getting a bit more serious.

We plodded on, sometimes breaking through the fragile icy crust on the snow,
and suddenly sinking up to our knees - to lots of giggling from us both!

There were less and less other tracks now as we climbed ever higher.
In fact, we could only see one other set ahead of us.

Of the four people behind, only one followed us to the top.

As we gained height, we could see more and more of holy island.

Also, the snow was at its deepest on this plateau before the ridge to the top.

How about that for a view?

We were close to the top, and the amazing pics that went with it.
They will follow in the next posting.


  1. Glad you had such a good time on Arran, we run the youth hostel at Lochranza and on my website I have just added a section for people to write an article about Arran. There are several options such as favourite places, wildlife moments, great walks etc.
    If you want to do a write up to share your experiences with others you can go to
    We are getting about one hundred visitors a day to the site and it's growing quickly.

  2. Will gladly do that Steve, we're staying at Glenbank cottage, when we come back to Arran in November - hope you can sort some good weather for us :-)