When three local friends spotted a date in their diaries to walk a Scottish mountain, they were saddened that it would not happen due to COVID-19 lockdown. So they got together – separately – to do the next best thing.
Fiona, Ali and Liz decided to #goatfell in honour of the planned hike of Goatfell, on the Isle of Arran.
The trio chose their ascents close to their homes in Milngavie and Bearsden. Ali and Liz measured the elevation of different slopes on their local golf courses, which have been opened for walkers throughout lockdown. Meanwhile Fiona picked Castle Hill, with a height of 118m, on the outskirts of Bearsden.
You may have already heard of Everesting. This is an craze dreamed up by a cyclist. The aim is to choose a road ascent in any location to repeat non-stop to reach the height of the world’s tallest mountain at 8848m.
Everesting then became popular among walkers, although it was more likely they would aim to reach the total height gain over weeks or a month. Find out more about how to Everest on foot.
As a result, other walkers have chosen to do similar but relate the height to other iconic mountains, such as the UK’s tallest, Ben Nevis, and now Goatfell.
1. In lockdown, the advice from the Scottish Government and Mountain Rescue Teams is to stay local and stay safe. This means choosing a hill or slope that you can easily get to and does not pose a major risk of an accident.
2. Choose a hill or slope with as much elevation gain over a short distance as possible. Smaller height gains will require a greater number of laps.
3. Take a look at an OS map and see if you can find somewhere with contours that are close together. The closer the contours the steeper the gradient. It might be that you choose a hill with a tarmac pavement or, preferably, somewhere off-road and away from other people.
4. Ensure that in lockdown you can avoid being within two metres of other people when repeating your hill laps.
5. Plan to be out for half a day or a day. Take a picnic and enjoy the “adventure” just as you might if you were to be going to the mountain proper.
6. Make sure you have enough water and snacks to complete the #goatfell and take care to apply sun cream if it’s sunny.
7. You could encourage household members to join you, or plan to do it with friends at the same time but separately on their own slopes. Stay in touch by mobile phone.
8. You’ll need an accurate way to measure the total ascent. Some GPS devices are not exactly accurate over smaller elevations. We suggest a watch that has an altimeter or a phone app such as OS Maps app or Viewranger.
9. An alternative way to measure the total height gain is to check the elevation gain on a desktop route planner, such as OS Maps, or on a paper map and then simply divide 874m by this elevation figure to tell you how many laps you need to to. For example, a hill with an elevation gain of 50m.
Calculation is: 874m ÷ 50m = 17.5 times.
10. Break the number of laps into stages. It is easier to think of the next 10 laps than to focus on the overall number at the start.
11. For extra motivation, why not pledge to do your #Goatfelling, #Everesting or #BenNevising to raise money for charity? If you do this, please do get in touch to tell us your story.
12. Record you efforts on social media and use the hashtag #Goatfelling, #Everesting or #BenNevising, or whatever mountain you choose, to inspire others to do the same.
With our horizons for walking larger hills and mountains limited during COVID-19 lockdown, being creative in your local area can help to keep people active and both physically and mentally healthy.
Blog by Fiona Outdoors.
There is so much more to Milngavie than the start of the West Highland Way, with a great number of walks with various degrees of difficulty that start and end in Milngavie. Click here to view them.