Monday, 2 February 2015

The Hill That Got Away

Summer is the normal season for an expedition to Arran. In winter Arran becomes remote - a blind spot in the imagination, despite its proximity to the Central Belt.

Arran from Ayrshire:


But a dusting of snow transforms the Arran hills into something exotic. Even simple Goatfell provides the challenge of a Big Hill experience under such conditions. As a winter daytrip, it is hard to surpass. With easily-accessible hills as exciting as these, why do we not go to Arran more often in winter? (A question discussed in my book, The Weekend Fix.) It is because it is an island. It requires organisation. Because if you do not arrive half an hour before departure, the ferry gates close and this is as close to Goatfell as you will get:

Abondoned in Ardrossan with Goatfell sparkling in sunshine:


Bloody Caledonian Macbrayne! The boat was still in port, but I couldn't alight. A 200 mile round trip for nothing. A beautiful day wasted. I was distraught. I drove home doing my best to count my many blessings, listening to Andy Murray screw up his day as well as I had mine.

Friends were kind enough to share photos of what I'd missed:

View from Goatfell:


Next time, Arran. Next time.

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