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Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa

By Ian Tupman   

on March 14, 2018    5/5 (2)

Posted as a walk in – Europe, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa

Further Details

Route Summary:

A long, gentle approach up the length of Glen Rosa and then a steep ascent to North Goatfell.

This walk includes the Corbett of Goatfell (Goat Fell)

Route Start Location: Brodick ferry terminal

21.47 km 981 m 6-8 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk, Scrambling, Scrambling Grade 1

Summits and Places on this Route


The usual tourist facilities are to be found in Brodick but none en route until reaching  Cladach.


Direct approach between North Goatfell and Goatfell is a grade 2 scramble – so

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : KA27 8AJ

Plenty of parking along the promenade at Brodick

Public Transport:

Ferries to the Isle of Arran are operated all year (subject to weather) by Calmac

The bus timetable on Arran (Mar 2018) revolves around the ferries and if making a day visit from the mainland, be sure not to miss the last boat!

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa

A circular route with a start and finish in Brodick which takes in Goatfell (874m), the highest point on the Isle of Arran.

A direct traverse of the ridge between North Goatfell and Goatfell is a grade 2 scramble but can be avoided by taking the lower path on the east side of Stacach ridge is the recommended route to Goatfell. For the more adventurous, the scramble along the ridge provides some airy situations. In winter conditions the ascent from The Saddle and the traverse of Stacach ridge require crampons and ice axe and experience in using them.

Between June and September, the Highland midge can really spoil your day if you are not well-protected. There are various products available but Smidge seems to be effective for most people.

Goatfell via Glen Rosa Route Description

If arriving by ferry with a connecting bus service, the first section to the start of the Glen Rosa track can be done by bus. Take the 324 bus and ask to be dropped at the end of the String Road. Walk up the road for 100 metres and turn onto the Glen Rosa track on the right. Alternatively, walk along the promenade and turn right at the second Co-Op store. Follow the signs for Fisherman’s Walk over the duckboards and after crossing the golf course, turn left up to the main road. Turn right and then left at the String Road junction.

Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa
The start of the Glen Rosa track

Continue past several cottages and the campsite on the right. Pass through a gate and Glen Rosa begins to open up before you. In good weather, eagles can sometimes be seen above the crags on either side of the glen.

Cross the wooden footbridge and ignore paths to the left and right.

Walk up Goatfell via Glen RosaThe path narrows and passes through a fenced area to protect the trees from the red deer which can often be seen on the western flanks of Goatfell.

The path steepens as it reaches The Saddle and the large boulders provide good shelter from the wind. This col or beallach is a crossroads giving superb views down into Glen Sannox and back down Glen Rosa.

Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa
Glen Sannox from The Saddle

This is a good place to rest and take on some refreshment before tackling the ridge up to North Goatfell.

Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa
The ridge from The Saddle to North Goatfell

From The Saddle, head ESE and follow the good path as it climbs steadily. With snow on the ground, be careful to keep to the ridge and do not be tempted to drop down to either side.

A large chock stone has to be negotiated requiring a bit of thrutching. When faced with a seemingly un-climbable section, look for the narrow dyke straight ahead. This is the way up and is relatively easy in ascent.

Eventually, the feint path turns a left hand corner onto a large granite slab. Keep to the left hand side and trust the grip on your boots.

The final section of the ridge is straightforward but passes over some loose and weathered granite which behaves like ball bearings. Be careful, especially if doing this route in reverse.

On cresting the ridge, the summit of North Goatfell can be gained by scrambling up the granite boulders on the right to the highest point at 818m. Those not wishing to continue along the ridge should reverse the scramble and descend east on the steep, grassy slope to reach the north-south traverse path. Continue south along this path which has few obstacles until reaching an obvious worn out gulley on the right. Ascend this to the ridge, turn left and pick your way through the bouldery ground to the summit of Goatfell at 847m.

Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa
Stacach ridge looking back from Goatfell. North Goatfell illuminated

On a clear day the views in all directions are stunning. You are unlikely to be alone but enjoy the views and have a wee rest before commencing the descent.

Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa
Goatfell summit and orientation table

From the summit, head east on the well-worn path and descend to the large cairn. The path to Corrie continues straight ahead but we turn right and head south on the ‘tourist’ path.

Walk up Goatfell via Glen Rosa
Brodick Bay and Holy Island from the ‘tourist’ path

Pass through a gate at the deer fence and then turn right over the wooden bridge to cross the burn. Continue on this woodland path and at a road, go straight across. The track emerges at Cladach where refreshment can be taken if the Arran Brewery shop is open. Walk down to the A841 main road and turn right. Continue along the road and look for the track on the left signed ‘Footpath to Brodick’. This crosses the golf course and avoids a section of the main road. On reaching the main road, turn left and then left again just after the Big Wooden House. From here, re-trace your outward route to Brodick.

Ian lives In Ardrossan and being only a fifty five minutes ferry crossing to Brodick, the Isle of Arran is his 'back yard'. He knows the mountains of the north of the island well and has walked every permutation of routes over the various summits. He is now spending more time further north exploring the Cairngorms, the far north-west and the mountains of the west of Scotland.

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