“We’re going to Scotland, not Sicily” was the final word in the great suncream debate of this years Easter weekend. Oh how little we knew! For international readers UK bank holidays often seem like a magnet for bad weather, just as you are getting excited for the long weekend the forecast gets worse and worse each day. Planned barbecues take place resolutely under umbrellas and picnics move from al fresco to the pub. However, this Easter weekend was an absolute belter, more sunshine than you knew what to do with.
We had planned to spend the weekend in Scotland whatever the weather now that our camping experience was a far more luxurious affair after the arrival of vanny last year. Our beloved converted Nissan NV200 sped us up North via an overnight stop at the delightful Tebay services. Leaving after work on Wednesday meant the journey could naturally be broken with a tea stop at IKEA and an overnight car park sleep at Tebay. By afternoon on Thursday we were at Ardrossan ready to cross the firth of Clyde for Arran. We’d even had time to stop and admire the castle and grounds at Drumlanrig Castle.
Using our previous Scotland trips as a weather based reference we decided that we would head up to the islands highest peak on the Friday, which was predicted to be the best day of weather – little did we realise that we were due three whole days of glorious sunshine. We selected a route from the delightful walking book The Islands by Nick Williams, part of the pocket mountains series (unfortunately now out of print but second hand copies are available). We climbed Goatfell via the path from Corrie, which joins the main path just below the summit before a scrambly ridge walk across to North Goatfell and finally descending over rough terrain (funny how our walks always seem to involve some degree of heather bashing) back to the start. Despite it being a sunny Good Friday the only ‘busy’ bit of the route was the path just up to the summit which is shared with the longer and more gradual ascent from Brodick Castle. The summit itself has some amazing rock formations and there was plenty of room for all to enjoy a sandwich with a view.
The route provided just enough challenge to make it a memorable mountain day. We enjoyed the barely graded scramble over the rocky outcrops between the two peaks and soaked in the far reaching views to the sea, to Holy Isle and towards the rest of the amazing rocky interior of the island.
Maybe, just maybe, the best mountain day of 2019 so far.
If this has give you a taste of Arran read more about the rest of the trip here.