Out of Office Adventures: Wild Camping on Isle of Arran

The sun had been shining all week, heat records had been broken all over the UK and we were eager to get out on an adventure! After talking to some friends about a route they had recently done, and confirmed that there would be fresh running water, we decided to head out to the Isle of Arran! I’d never been before and Janey had only been once when she was a kid. So we were both super excited for a new place to explore and experience!

Posing for Cir Mhor and Caisteal Abhail

So on Friday night we packed our bags with tent, sleeping bags, spare clothes and plenty of food and water. We checked the times and route. Decided we could get the first ferry on on Saturday and the last one off on Sunday – making the most of the weekend! We mapped out our route – 25km and 5 peaks – challenging but worth it!

Saturday came and we dragged our sleepy bodies out of bed, grabbed our bags and headed out the door to catch the train. To get to Isle of Arran you have to catch a ferry. Its pretty cheap prices which is awesome only £7.90 for a return ticket to the Isle of Arran – thanks very much!

There’s always that one person

We sat next to this little old lady on the train who we found funny at first but soon got on our nerves. She had been to Isle of Arran 3 times before. The first time was OK and apparently the next two were absolutely terrible (so not sure why she was going back). All she could talk about was how the weather was turning bad and how rude her taxi driver and B&B had been. Its worth noting that she tried to call them and change plans at 8am on a train on a Saturday.

Thankfully she decided to go for a wander down the train and leave us be. We assume this was because I suggested that I race her to get the last ticket when she was fretting there wouldn’t be enough tickets to board the ferry. Thankfully there was more than enough tickets.

Ferry to Isle of Arran

Heading up to Goatfell, Isle of Arran’s tallest mountain!

Off the ferry, a quick walk along the sea front, through the golf course and into the woods! A pleasant start you are lured into a false sense of security as you enter an area dubbed “Horsefly Hell”! Hundreds and hundreds of biting Horseflies all around with no escape. If you venture up this way we hope you have some extra powerful insect propellant. Even our Smidge didn’t deter them all! It was like this for about 45 minutes until we had cleared the trees and heather where they breed. Only once we were out onto the grassy slopes of Goat Fell did we finally get rid of them.

Horsefly hell - path up to Goat Fell Long way up Goat Fell

It was so hot getting to the top, a good 30 degrees of sunlight beating down. Drinking plenty of water and using hydration solution was a must for us!

Ridge to North Goat Fell

When we got to the op of Goats Fell the views were stunning! We could see for miles and miles – From the Inner Hebrides to The Firth of Clyde to the Galloway Forrest Park. The Firth of Clyde was such a clear blue that we wanted to head down to go diving!

Coire Lan

Heading to the Campsite

Our original plan had been to camp on the saddle between North Goat and Cairn Mor. We knew that there was fresh running water there and it was on-route for the next day’s journey. But we decided the views were going to be WAY BETTER if we camped up on top of a ridge line. So we decided to change our plans. We still had enough water to make it through the night and down to the saddle next morning so we weren’t worried about that.

Looking at the terrain and the map, we decided to head over to North Goat fell and then East to Mullach Buidhe to make camp there. It would mean that the next day we would also head west and double back to Brodick after Cir Mhor instead of heading east to Sannox. It meant that we have 3 extra peaks to summit but that we wouldn’t have to hitch hike at the end.

Ridge to North Goat Fell

When we got to our campsite we were delighted with our choice. There was a soft flat section just down from the peak and provided pristine views of Brodick, the Firth of Clyde, Cir Mhor and Caisteal Abhall.

Best views from our tent

Day 2 on the Isle of Arran

Well we couldn’t see much when we woke…

Woke up to a whiteout

Yep it was a white out! Fortunately we were just following ridge lines so we weren’t going to lose our way. The clouds were so cool though! The wind had picked up and got them to fly past us and swirl round in the air. Pretty epic stuff! If anything it made the ridge lines even more epic!

Janey heading down the ridge line on North Goat Fell

But soon enough we had reached the low point on the saddle and the cloud had cleared up. This left even more stunning views. We stopped at saddle between North Goat Fell and Cir Mhor to fill up our water bottles in the stream and were met by a stunning 180 view of both Glen Rosa and Glen Sannox.

Panorama of Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa

After a quick rest we headed up Cir Mor. Although it only took us 1 hour it was easily the hardest part of the day! It was an almost vertical path and at times, required us on all fours to scramble up. The sun was blazing down once again and there was no shade. We did hear a deer at one point but by the time we got to the top it had disappeared.

The granite rock formations on Isle of Arran are totally amazing! Unlike anything I’ve seen before, they are like a stack of giant dominos!

Playing on the granite stacks

Heading back

After we peaked out on Cir Mor we headed west along the ridge line. The plan was to circle around ridge at the top of Glen Rosa. Then along to Beinn A Chliabhain and finally down to Broddick. This was pretty easy. The ridge was pretty flat compared with the up and down of Goat Fell and Cir Mhor. Plus the beautiful scenery!

Ridge line on the way to A Chir

Beinn A Chliabhain ridge line - the final push

A quick break at the top…

Break on Beinn A Chliabhain - view of Goat Fell

And Finally we head back down to the valley floor and Broddick. Once on the valley floor we were back in Horesfly Hell though! We just had to keep moving and swatting for about 45mins untill we passed the Glen Rosa campsite before they stopped!

Walking out of Glen Rosa

All in all an amazing weekend that Janey and I won’t forget anytime soon! We highly recommend the route we took – if you want to know the route details then get in touch! We’ll be happy to pass them on. See you next time!

Windy Summit Cir Mhor

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