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14 Sept 2017

Brodick – the Trust site with it all (Part 2)

Robin and his young daughter at the top of Goat Fell, surrounded by a rocky landscape.
Travel writer Robin McKelvie at Brodick
So the National Trust for Scotland ‘just’ has castles and country houses. Right? Seriously wrong! I can testify to that as I’m just back from Arran

The next morning, my eldest and I made our way up through the grounds on a trail that leads all the way from pretty much sea level to the peak of one of my favourite mountains in Scotland, 874m high Goat Fell.

As I was with my daughter I decided to take the ‘tourist path’, the more steady ascent from the castle, instead of the steeper, quicker yomp up from Corrie, which also cuts through Trust land. I love that the charity has not just been leaving the land as it is, but trying to regenerate pockets of the original vegetation that has been savaged here by both man and the red deer you always see en route.

A young girl in a t-shirt and bright yellow cap skips along a mountain path. Behind her rises the pyramid-shaped Goat Fell.

Tara and I pushed on, clearing the forests, working our way up by a gurgling gorge and then out on to the mountain slopes proper. As everyone should, we had a map and a compass, plus all the right gear. We saw those red deer – the UK’s largest land mammal – and red squirrels (Arran has no grey squirrels), as well as golden eagles. Tara recognised the latter immediately as we’d seen a couple a few days earlier in adjacent Glen Rosa, which the Trust also owns. In total the charity manages 2,400ha of mountains and moorland across Goatfell and Glen Rosa.

A man stands beside his young daughter almost at the summit of Goat Fell. Boulders are behind them. The man raises an arm in the air in celebration.
Robin and Tara are nearly at the top!

As we rose, the views just got better and better and the company more jovial as we pushed on towards a common goal with our fellow walkers. Finally, after an effort that required the flapjack and chocolate we’d picked up in the Trust shop, we summited and 360-degree views of the Firth of Clyde, the mainland and a swathe of the Hebrides opened up. I gazed out over the more immediate lands, thinking how much of it is owned and actively cared for by Trust, and smiled at the thought that some people think Brodick is ‘just’ a castle.

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