I thought I had tried all the ways up Goatfell until I heard Ali enthusing about his way. I had to try it myself. At last, at the end of July, the sun decided to shine. Ali is right about the route - it is splendid. From the tourist track, you cut across a broad corrie of grass and pools. There are views to the south over Holy Isle but otherwise the corrie is cradled by the ridges of Goatfell and has a hidden feel to it. The ponds were full of frog spawn, so they should be croaking nicely by now. Glenshant ridge is soon reached however, and the views open up at first over to Bens Tarsuinn and Nuis and then north and west to Cir Mohr and Caisteal Abhail and beyond to Jura and Mull. The ridge is followed by a short scramble up the gully towards the summit. Plenty of options here to make it as easy or diffcult as you want. Once again the route emerges into the open and the views which were good lower down become sensational. A final climb over a grassy slope and a few more knobly rocks of lovely warm,rough Arran granite and you are on the summit. After spending the whole climb alone, it came as a surprise to put my head over the last boulder and find the top crowded with walkers who had come up the tourist track. They shared my surprise for someone to appear over what, from the summit, looks like an impassible ascent. Great fun!
I took a walk around the Thee Beinns the other day. It turned out to be a magnificent short day out and much better than the ever-busy ramble up Goatfell. The wind was up and the cloud was doing strange things – all steam boiling out of corries and odd mists. At one point the grass – some sort of fescue or other – made me think there were a thousand little characters just on the threshold of my vision. Each top-heavy blade was moving busily and entirely independently of its neighbours, little heads nodding and chattering in the mist. It seemed that the mountain was home to countless Dr. Zeus creations and I was disappointed to take a few steps onwards and find I was alone. RB