Dorothy's report on Goatfell
Report continues below
Photos: Dorothy, Michael and Mark
Continued from above
..... winter gear that had been purchased over the years!
Michael and Mark caught the bus to Sannox in order to make an assault on Cioch na h-Oighe ? with the intention of meeting up with Dorothy and Irene at the top of Goat Fell. Low cloud obscured the views, but as soon as we set off this started to break-up, and the rising sun glinted off the snow covered peaks in the distance at the top of Glen Sannox (I hope you can picture the scene!).
It was the usual slog up the lower slopes of Cioch na h-Oighe until we reached the path that allows a rapid ascent of the side of the mountain ? once on this path we started to encounter ice and snow ? and Michael now developed an uncanny skill of picking out ?not the usual route? as we scrambled up ice covered rock faces (which resulted in very cold hands and fingers!). It was a long and exhausting haul to the top ? but the views had now started to open up and we were rewarded with the sight of snow-capped peaks in Argyll peeping up from a cloud inversion.
Once at the top we were able to stop to admire the views and have a bite to eat - one of the party did have a little accident with exploding soup at this point!
Energy replenished, we set off refreshed towards the ridge ahead that was dipping in and out of swirling mist/cloud. No other footprints in the snow as we made our way carefully along the path ? taking care and taking in the views as we made our way along to North Goat Fell ? taking it in turns to cut steps in the snow as we went ? pretty exhausting work! Another breather and news (via mobile technology) that the girls had reached the summit of Goat Fell.
The clouds now began to descend and our visibility was reduced as we made our way along steep slopes towards Stacach ridge and Goat Fell ? time for the crampons.
We descended a little onto steep slopes to try and avoid the crags of the ridge ? it was a this point that Michael executed a flawless ice axe arrest as he slid about 40 feet down the side of the mountain ? very impressive from where I was standing (just glad it wasn?t me)!
Once we ?regrouped? we headed back up to the ridge for an interesting/tough scramble across the top and then up towards Goat Fell.
Visibility was non-existent when we reached the top of Goat Fell ? however we knew the girls had been there as we could see the word ?Craggy? etched out in the snow beside the triangulation pillar.
No time to waste as it was past 3 o?clock ? we started to make a rapid descent of Goat Fell via the tourist path. We thought we could make the 4.40 pm sailing back if we ?pushed the pace? ? was this Craggy?s version of SAS selection? ? when we cleared the snowline Michael suggested that we should make up time by running ? which I meekly agreed to ? boy were my legs and knees starting to feel the pace.
Time was against us, and as we rounded a corner we bumped into Irene and Dorothy, who thankfully assured us that there was no need to rush as there was ?no way we were going to make the boat?. So we continued on the long walk back to Brodick at a more sedate pace!
Back in Brodick we found the pub, a warming fire and something to eat - the time just disappeared as we waited for the next boat.
A great day out ? more mountaineering than hill walking!!!
Dorothy and Mark
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