Goat Fell: What's it got to do with Goats
Created on Sunday, 18 September 2011 Written by Sarah Moller
So Shane (aka theChemist88) said that Goat Fell had nothing to do with Goats or falling but he is not entirely correct. The origin of the hill's name is not certain but there are a number of theories. The fell bit is pretty obvious, it is a word that refers to mountains or mountainous landscapes. The Goat bit is more contentious. It is possible that it is derived from the gaelic word "gaoth" meaning mountain wind or from the norse word "geita" meaning goat mountain.
A more imaginitive explanation exists only in folklore but I think it is my favourite. This mountain in Arran used to be the home of a number of mountain goats. They loved the winswept slopes and enjoyed frolicking over the rocky landscape. One winter on a particularly cold and windy day the goats were playing around the summit. Little did they know that, from the comfort of his tree top perch, an eagle was watching them intently.
The younger goats were playing hide and seek and the smallest of them all had clambered up to the highest point and was hiding behind a rock cloaked by a thick layer of cloud. The eagle saw his chance. He swooped down and snatched the little goat up in his talons. As he struggled to remain airborne with his wriggling prey the little goat's father saw what was happening. He raced up to the summit bleating loud distress calls to the other goats. As he neared the top the cloud blocked his view but he continued forwards following the pitiful cries of his son.
Now all the goats were following him up the hill, racing towards the cloud covered summit. One by one they followed him all the way to the top and continued onwards over the edge of the mountain. The distressed bleating got louder as goat after goat ran off the end of the cliff, but the increase in volume only spurred the other goats on making them run even faster. This continued until there wasn't a single goat left on the mountain.
Observers from the bottom saw the eagle carry off the little goat and then watched as the cloud that shrouded the summit appeared to rain goats. The story of this horrible event spread through the local community and eventually across the whole island. All the residents agreed that something should be done so that everyone would remember that at one time the mountain was home to a family of goats and to honour their bravery on this fateful day. Since then the mountain has been known as Goat Fell and a monument was erected to remember the poor, stupid mountain goats.