The Day We Went To Arran-o

A dirrum a doo a dum a day,

A dirrum a doo a daddy O,

A dirrum a doo a dum a day

The day Bobby and Roddy went to Arran-o.

(With apologies to a well kent (known) Scottish song)                                    

Firstly, my thanks to Roddy 2M0IOB for his invite to go activate Gaoda Bheinn (Goat Fell), the highest point on Eilean Arainn (Isle of Arran), secondly, for his patience on the ascent as which I look back on now, rather foolishly I  had gone on whilst still suffering from a heavy cold. A lesson now learned. Thirdly, if I ever go back, transport to the start of the route, an extra 6kms (including reverse journey) added on from Brodick pier to the route start at Cladach.

The day started early as I was being picked up just after 5am, we headed over into Ayrshire via Kilmacolm, Lochwinnoch, Kilbirnie, Dalry then over the last hill into Ardrossan where we could see the ferry sitting at the pier ready for the 7am first sailing of the day to Brodick.

Ticket bought, we boarded the ferry, the rucksack was stowed and first stop, the galley and a full breakfast with toast and coffee was savoured.

The sail across to Brodick was relatively smooth as there was barely any sea swell as we headed across on the 55 min journey, our ferry was the ‘mv Caledonian Isles‘ , we docked at Brodick Pier and set off towards Cladach in the Brodick Castle gardens area where the path to Goat Fell starts, a brisk walk along the sands of the bay, skirting the Brodick Golf Course until we reached the start of our ascent, We climbed through a forest area where extensive removal of the invasive rhododendron has taken place, the open hillside was reached leading on a stony path which rose steadily towards the base of the summit, having had taken a few breaks, we reached the last section, a granite rock field which led to the summit approx 700 ft above us, from here we could see the path from Corrie passing through Coire Lan to the right below us, the formations of granite blocks at sections were impressive but nevertheless slowly and steadily height was gained, the summit was getting nearer and finally, we reached the summit. The 360 degree view was spectacular, a few wispy clouds not spoiling the view. The view of Glen Rosa and the neighbouring tops and  ridges were stunning as was the view back to both Cumbraes and Bute and the mainland.

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It was now time to activate the hill, I first set up the 4m JPole and gave out a CQ which was first answered by Lee, a G1 station in Carlisle town centre area. A quick exchange of station details then another call brought Robert, a 2M0 station in Paisley followed by the first contact into Northern Ireland, Marc, a GI3 station was in Belfast, a quick chat then on to Alan, a GM0 who was mobile in the Glasgow area, Alan did later call back once he had found a higher location. Ray, a GM7 station in the west of Glasgow was next to answer my CQ , I had worked Ray on 4m on my earlier activation of Ben Donich. I next made contact with my second GI station, Geoff GI3 in Carrickfergus and as expected the signal strength to GI land was excellent as on a slightly less hazy day, the Antrim coast can be seen from the summit. Lastly on 4m, I contacted a G(M)8 station ,who was on the way north to the Moray Firth, mobile in the Falkirk area.

Seven contacts on 4m FM, the hill had been activated on 4m, I had originally set out with a goal of first activating a summit on 4m FM in 2010, previously I had made four contacts on Ben Donich but they had been spread among my activation.

I next nipped on to 2m where I contacted fellow blogee Graeme, 2M0GIL who was in Glasgow on his handie, Graeme as well as Neil, 2M0NCM, our other regular had been monitoring S20 looking for both myself and Roddy, I had put an ‘alert’ on the SOTA website for 11.00 UTC (12.00 local time) but the summit was reached later. I was unable to ‘spot’ on the SOTA website as my service provider once again failed me. A quick word with Graeme and then I contacted Neil who was in the Girvan area, the tables were turned on both as I usually ‘chase’ them on the summits. It was good to work them both. I next had a quick qso with a 2M0 station in Johnstone and finally, after a call on S20 was my last contact, Alan, 2M0 who was mobile in the Irvine area, just after Alan had gone off air, Neil called back in to say that Alan was his son, I should recognise the callsign as I had met Alan at the Magnum Rally in Irvine…DOH. I did find I had a problem with the 2m JPole, quite possibly I have been winding it up too tightly after use. I’ll strip it down and check all the connections.

The equipment was dismantled and stowed away, a last bite and drink and we then headed slowly and carefully back down the rock field to the gentler descent into the Brodick Castle grounds. We headed back along the golf course until we reached Brodick and the pier. A ‘chippy’ snack was had whilst waiting on the ferry.

The ferry left Brodick Pier on its last crossing of the day and we then headed back home.

I had last past through Brodick 36 years ago, it hasn’t changed much.

16 hours after leaving, I arrived back home, exhausted but glad to have made the trip to the summit of  Goat Fell.

Once again, thanks to Roddy, who had first brought up the idea and had cajoled me to the top. The photo of me at the summit trig point  © 2M0IOB

Roddy 2M0IOB Blog <HERE>

The rating for this walk is:

probably a three and a half if I had been fitter. For an explanation of grading click <HERE>

Now for ‘Information Overload’……

Gaoda Bheinn (Goat Fell) is 874 metres (2,866 ft) ASL

Gaoda Bheinn is the Gaelic meaning ‘Mountain of Wind’ or possibly from another Gaelic name ‘Gaodabheinn’ meaning ‘Goat Hill’. This one is confusing ! I have used the most common version ‘Gaoda Bheinn’ .

the Norse name for the hill is ‘Geita-Fjall’ meaning Goat Hill.

Roddy’s Goat Fell Blog post <HERE>

Track info…..

(I started the route GPS tracking at Cladach)

Distance – 7.27 km

Total ascent – 854m.

4m contact distances (courtesy Google Earth)

Carlisle – 163 km

Belfast – 124 km

Carrickfergus – 108 km

Slamannan – 95 km

Glasgow – 64 km

Paisley – 55 km

Goat Fell Geohack Info <HERE>

Goat Fell panorama info <South> <North> ( I forgot to print them off)

Flickr photo set <HERE>

If you intend visiting the hill, there is an excellent ‘pdf ‘leaflet available online <HERE>

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