Here at Glasgow City Mission, we are looking forward to the return of the Big Arran Challenge on Saturday 17 September 2022. The Big Arran Challenge has three options, to walk up Goatfell, to cycle the 57 miles round Arran, or to do both! To register your interest, please go to

By entering the challenge, participants are asked to raise at least £100 towards the work of Glasgow City Mission. Each £100 raised through the Big Arran Challenge could help with:

  • Supporting ten families to buy food basics for a week
  • A week of music lessons for guests in Urban
  • Buying easels, paint, canvases and other material for our Friday art class
  • Two months of counselling to help guests deal with their trauma
  • Paying transport and museum entry costs for our guests’ camera club

Billy Mitchell, who is the organiser of the event, started the Big Arran Challenge in 2013. Billy has a background in health and fitness, he has run marathons and he decided to try cycling challenges. He spoke to his brother, who was also fond of a fitness challenge, and asked if he had ever climbed Goatfell. The answer was “No, not yet”, and from this seed of an idea, the Big Arran Challenge began to grow. The idea was that Billy wanted to cycle the 57 miles around the island and climb Goatfell, in the same weekend! As a practice run, the brothers went up Goatfell but didn’t get to the top as the weather that day was terrible.

This didn’t deter them though and when the day came for the first ever Big Arran Challenge, Billy says, “I remember arriving at the Ardrossan ferry port and the ferry terminal wasn’t even open yet! Once we got sailing it was great because participants and organisers were all on the same ferry, eating bacon rolls and drinking coffee. There was lots of chat and many questions.

There was no need for concern about what awaited us on that first morning though, thanks to Charlotte!

Charlotte Weir is a volunteer with Glasgow City Mission, who lives on the island. She volunteered every Friday in our Urban Café, travelling to Glasgow from her home in Arran. We arrived at Ormidale Hall, which we were to use as our base. The team were surprised to find the kettle on, the door open, and tables and chairs all in place. Charlotte had kindly taken the initiative to set up the room for us without being asked.

A team of volunteers also helped all day at water stations around the circumference of the island – at mile markers 11, 27 and 40. Two volunteers with a table, a couple of chairs, Glasgow City Mission t-shirts and a case of water and box of bananas helped the cyclists as they passed.

God really went before staff, volunteers and participants on that first challenge day, and has continued to be present each year the event has been repeated and developed. In all the years, there has only been one injury, and that person is coming back in 2022 to take part in the challenge again!

This year, after having a long break from sporting challenges, there are already over 20 participants from the North of Scotland to the South of England who have signed up. We know that this challenge is a feat to complete, walking up Goatfell, cycling around the island, or both. However, we also know people are anxious to get back out there and help those affected by poverty and homelessness in Glasgow.

To register your interest, please go to