Walking The Arran Coastal Way

Q. Hi, I've a few comment/questions about this walk, which I've just returned from:

Can anyone tell me why the National Grid GPS reading has only 5 digits after the NS/NR square lettering?

My understanding was there should always be 6?

When doing the ascent of Goatfell from Brodick, you are supposed to have an option of taking a path back down the hill to Corrie where the track meets the track to Goatfell.

Should have been easy enough to find because it is marked with a cairn on the OS map. Never found the path though (should have been able to use the GPS, but couldn't). Made the trek up to Goatfell and tried to find it on the way down, again with no joy.

It turns out, the locals told me, that the Forestry Commission had demolished it (but left another one further up the track alone).

Has anyone commented on this before?

Why would anyone take down a cairn?

The locals sympathised with me and say I should write a letter to the FC and the Arran authorities.

Is this a sensible thing to do?

On the Lagg to Kildonan walk, there is a long stretch which can only be crossed at low tide, and before and after this are a few kilometres of boulder fields.

This whole stretch I found treacherous - if not downright scary!

The walking notes, I don't think, emphasize enough:

"In about 4 kilometres, the beginning of a boulder field is reached and soon after, the Black Cave. The sea here comes right to the cave at high tide. It is essential to know the tide times before setting out. If you get to the cave at high tide there is no alternative but to wait a couple of hours till the water level drops. The boulder field continues for nearly half a kilometre after the cave, but eventually is replaced by a reasonable path along the shore to Kildonan. Apart from the boulder field, this is a very pleasant walk. All along the shore there are basalt dykes and seals can invariably be seen on the rocks close inshore."

Has anyone experienced a similar problems with this?

Apart from the above comments, the walk does have some nice parts to it, and I would recommend it - with a few reservations.

Brian Wallis


A. Has Brian perhaps just been reading the first five digits of the GPS grid reference - which should have ten digits, not 6 as he suggests.

(Presumably, he does mean the GPS grid ref and not the OS grid ref).

I went up Goat fell with #1 son a few years ago and the path to High Corrie leaves the Brodick summit path at a cairn on the East ridge where the ridge flattens out

The land is owned by National Trust for Scotland, so it is unlikely that the Forestry Commission would have demolished any cairns.

I think the locals must have been er... "mistaken".

Mike Knipe, Crook


A. To use your GPS with Ordnance Survey maps of the UK you need to change the position format of your GPS to BRITISH GRID and the map datum to ORD SRVY GB.

The position will then look something like this:

SJ 37733

BNG 20529

where

SJ = The 2 letter reference for the 100km grid square;

37733 = The Easting, to 1m resolution;

BNG = 'British National Grid';

20529 = The Northing, to 1m resolution.

If you require a 'normal' six figure grid reference, simply round off the last two numbers on each line; this will give 377205.

Garmin Support


A. See the article in Hill Skills > Navigation Skills on this site entitled Giving a Grid Reference

For more general information on GPS and GPS Devices - see Hill Skills > GPS Myths & Truths > GPS - The Myths and Truths - Part 1 and Hill Skills > GPS Myths & Truths > GPS - The Myths and Truths - Part 2

Hope this helps

Mike (Editor)


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