Goatfell Arran

'Madame Butterfly'
Saturday 11th June

Roni suggested a day trip to Arran.

It has been years since any of us had walked there.

Goatfell is possible at a leisurely pace, leaving Ardrossan on the 9.45 morning ferry, catching the 16.40 afternoon boat home. This gives about five and a half hours round trip from Brodick.

One of the good things about modern Calmac ferries is that the bigger ships all have decent bean to cup coffee machines and serve tasty bacon rolls. They definitely have customer priorities spot on!
Another big plus is that Calmac don't charge for pedal cycles- 
(or sea kayaks)
Arran has long been popular with cyclists and there was a good friendly atmosphere as we waited our turn with around another 30 or so to disembark.
It's such a short cycle to the start of the hill it hardly justified taking the bikes. Still faster than shank's pony.
So many signs it's easy to miss 'Goatfell this way'!
Now, what is the combination again? Oh boy.....
You gain height rapidly up the well graded path.
It was warm, humid & bright -occasionally a few splats of rain fell.
Thunder was forecast later on in the afternoon.
A day of jackets on, jackets off.
A jackets on moment, as big raindrops, then hail, briefly 'caressed' us.
We could see a heavy sustained downpour over Brodick and Holy Isle, glad we weren't there!
Goatfell is a very popular summit - rightly so as it's a superb viewpoint. Our time to the top was two hours exactly.
The sun shone brightly but the wind had a cold edge.
Dee was attacked by a summit goblin, or was it a dwarf?
Dee giving Bill the evil eye for such a scare.
We scoffed some lunch and posed for photos.
Time to head down smartly, we didn't want to miss our ferry, as it would involve a long wait for the next one.
There has been a lot of work carried out on the path over the years;
considering the number of ascents, it's in good condition.
Roni was befriended by a butterfly. 
The colour blue must have been the attraction, as it darted between Roni, Bill and another hillwalker in a blue jacket just behind us. As Dee was wearing white she wasn't visited!
It's a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary - Boloria selene, not to be confused with the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, but we knew that didn't we.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary vs Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

It was reassuring to see the MV Caledonian Isles was leaving Brodick as we descended, no we hadn't missed would be 2 hours before it returned!
Holy Isle looks as if it's part of mainland Arran from this angle, it also looks like a big shark fin.....
It only took 90 minutes to descend and we wern't running, it's a really good dry mountain path.
Dee is smiling as there is a small restaurant at the track end, and they serve good strong coffee.
....not to mention the home baking....
It was hot in the sun. Such a change after a very cold start to June.
We sped round to Brodick in a few minutes; looking back to Goatfell we wondered how many ascents it gets in a year.
There was a marked drop in temperature as we waited to board the ferry, big banks of low cloud rolled in and obscured the mountain, we had been lucky!
Forty cyclists made the journey back home, a lot having cycled around Arran in the time we had walked up Goatfell and had a coffee.
An easy day visit, well worth the early(ish) start.

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