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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Second isle of the week - Arran

Back home from the Isle of Jersey I headed straight from the plane (thanks Flybe for your superb punctuality arriving in Edinburgh) to Ardrossan for the Arran ferry, picking up Little Miss Outdoors en route. (While I was on Jersey Little Miss had been enjoying her own outdoor adventures during a school activity trip to Ardmay House at Arrochar.)

We had planned the weekend on Arran with friends as a chance to catch up on our adventuresome gossip and also because we fancied walking Goatfell.

While Arran is another favourite island of mine, it was sadly a tad wetter than Jersey and also covered in a wad of thundery clouds for much of the weekend. Still, Little Miss Outdoors and I were determined to make the most of a not-so-totally-water-drenched Saturday morning and headed to the grounds of Brodick Castle to begin the ascent of Goatfell, the highest summit in southern Scotland. With a peak of 2867ft it also claims its place among the 221 Corbetts, the group of Scottish mountains higher than 2500ft.

And to start with all went well. Little Miss Outdoors was content to amble along, chatting and jumping in muddy puddles and looking around at the stunning autumnal countryside. I heard all about her many fun activities at Ardmay and found out some great new facts she'd learned about Scotland's landscape and nature.

But as we climbed, so the weather deteriorated until we were walking in swirling clouds and against harsh winds. The higher we climbed, the stronger the winds and the quieter Little Miss became. With another 10 minutes still to go to reach the summit, Little Miss finally decided she'd had enough and promptly burst into tears. I easily weigh twice as much as little Miss and I had been struggling for some time to walk upright. For Little Miss it was a battle to stop herself being blown to the ground even while holding on to my arm.

Although disappointed we decided that it would be safer and more enjoyable to turn around and head back to the less windier lower slopes and so missed out on the chance to bag the summit. On reflection, however, it was much better to finish the walk on a high and with smiles on our faces than to plod on grimly just to reach a mountain top. We had still had a great day out on a fabulous mountain and although we can't claim to have reached the top we can claim to have had a another rewarding day in Scotland's great outdoors.

One day, Little Miss and I will return to Goatfell - but most likely during the summer months!

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