Walk 35 – Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran – 11 miles

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A beautiful hike from Brodick which follows the Glenrosa Water deep into the tranquillity of the Glen to 'The Saddle' before returning via the same route. The track up Glen Rosa is very well maintained and well-trodden, starting off wide and dry and becoming narrower and boggier the further into the glen you go.

Print  Dog-friendly walk

  This route is designed to be walked from the ferry terminal without the need for other transport. However if you have a car, on-street parking is available in Brodick and there is a local bus service which you could take to the Arran Heritage Museum, cutting off 1.8km each way.

Glen Rosa

WALK REVIEW: 10th April 2016

I LOOOOOVVVVVE Arran!!! It is absolutely my favourite place in Scotland. I have so many happy memories of holidays spent there as a child exploring the amazing great outdoors the island has to offer. Never been? Go tomorrow!

The aim of this trip was in fact to climb Goatfell and make a start on my “Trail 7 Summits” challenge. However on the approach, at the top of Glen Rosa, one of our group began suffering the initial symptoms of a migraine and so we returned to Brodick via the same route. I will admit to being a little disappointed – I don’t think that will come as a surprise to my dear friend Salima hence why I am choosing to write about my feelings so openly here: the conditions were perfect with a clear summit, next to no wind and beautiful sunshine, and I don’t get the chance to go into the hills very often due to childcare and so had really been looking forward to getting up there. Having said all that, I do not regret our decision for one second: the right thing to do was for the 3 of us to stick together and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the walk – what’s not to love about Glen Rosa?!

So you will have to come back another time to read about my climb of Goatfell! For now enjoy the story and beautiful photos of our Glen Rosa hike 🙂


Our plan was to hike up Glen Rosa to the Saddle and then take the ridge along to Goatfell via North Goatfell, returning to Brodick via the “tourist route”. We had specifically agreed on that option in order to avoid the stream of people who generally can be found climbing Goatfell on sunny April holiday weekend days like today! I don’t know how you feel about the situation, but personally I love going into the hills for the solitude and sense of peace they provide, and am more than happy passing a few fellow hikers along the way. Nothing puts me off the idea quicker than the thought of sharing the place with dozens of others. So, the Glen Rosa route it was to be – a long walk in at just over 6 miles to the Saddle, but once at the top it would be a hop, skip and jump back to Brodick.

Goatfell as seen from the base of Glen Rosa

We took the first ferry on Sunday morning, getting us into Brodick just before 11am. It was my first trip across to Arran for a while so I was like a kid at Christmas. Gleb was heading over for his first visit and I had built it up so much I just hope it lived up to his expectations! He has already vowed to come back when we next attempt Goatfell, and he also spoke of bringing his bike across in Summer and cycling back up the glen to swim in one of the many deep pools of water which help form the Glenrosa Water. Who can blame him: the water is so clear and pure, so inviting. A bit chilly though I would imagine! I’m also not sure how much the water will heat up in the Summer months but Gleb did assure Salima and I that had we not been there he would have been very tempted to have a swim today – brave man!

Hiking through Glen Rosa

Navigation is very simple, however we somehow still managed to take a wrong turn which left us traversing across uneven, heather-strewn hillside for a short section to re-join the path – Salima putting her foot ankle deep into a hidden burn and me going knee deep into an empty hole! It is these moments that make you so grateful for the people who work hard to maintain the paths! It wasn’t until our way back down that we realised our mistake: the track very vaguely splits at one point with one side crossing part of the burn (the way we should have gone) and the other side continuing up the side of the burn in the direction of Cir Mhor. You would never know that they are 2 separate tracks both leading to completely different mountains – very easy to miss. However…. the fork is clearly shown on the map so there is no excuse really 🙂

From this elevated position you are gifted with a beautiful view right down the length of Glen Rosa

Looking back down Glen Rosa

We finished the walk with enough time left over to have a drink at the beer garden of the lovely Douglas Hotel before taking the ferry back to Ardrossan. Of course, no trip on Cal Mac is complete without sampling their onboard meals to refuel after the 11 mile round-trip!

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