Tobar nan Ceann Gang

The blog of a bunch of middle aged men trying to stay youthful…!

Archive for the ‘Arrochar’ Category


The Cobbler – Beinn Ime & Beinn Narnain


The Cobbler

Thanks to some good fortune we found ourselves with a bonus free weekend and the opportunity to do a little hill walking before the winter sets in. The late arrangements meant that there weren’t many of us on the trip – just Craig, Jay, Jeff and Jock, but it was a good walk nevertheless!

The Indian Summer was in full swing in England – 27 degrees in Bolton at the end of September is pretty much unheard of! In typical TNC Gang style we decided to head for Arrochar in the South Highlands of Scotland to explore The Cobbler and discover the only place in the UK where it was raining and miserable!

The Cobbler – Our Inspirational Picture…

So the question had been – where shall we go? The answer was easy really and having seen pictures like the one above we knew that we wanted to do “The Cobbler”! Officially known as Ben Arthur, The Cobbler is 2900 feet high (848m) which is just short of being a munro, but its a great challenge nonetheless!

We left early on the Saturday morning to meet up with Jeff at Charing Cross in Glasgow. Marek had planned to join us but work intervened at the last moment leaving just the 4 of us. The drive up to Arrochar was broken into 2 with a welcome stop at McDonalds in Balloch at the foot of Loch Lomond, for breakfast. The rain was still falling steadily when we got to the car park on the banks of Loch Long. The loch is a sea loch and is tidal (when we got the tide was out). It is 20 miles long and extends into the Firth of Clyde at its south eastern end.

The walk got underway at about 10.15 and started with a trek that meandered back and forth up the steep hillside  away from the loch. The path went through forest, some of which had been cut down leaving swathes of seemingly unmanaged rough ground which is now peppered with the omni-present Himalayan Balsam – a nuisance everywhere you go these days. After the initial climb the layers soon started to get peeled off – it may have been wet but it wasn’t cold! For a while the walk was reasonably flat.

Visibility was poor and there was no sign of the peak that ought to have been clearly visible by now. Along the way we  saw many more walkers on the route – most notably Alex who was from the Czech Republic and spent much of the walk with us.

Along the route were many massive boulders which were pretty slippy in the conditions. The path also criss crossed lots of small streams that were getting fuller as the day went on. Had the conditions allowed, we would have known that we had got to the base of the main climb up to the summit. Our only clue was the obvious change in terrain as the path started to climb sharply upwards into the mist. Dotted around were plenty of small caves and cracks and crevices in the hillside. Some were like giant rabbit warrens although seemingly “too small for my girth…” – cheeky sods!

Eventually we made it to the top of the main climb and were presented with a choice of left or right to access the main pinnacles of The Cobbler. We elected to go right first and after scrambling up some large and extremely slippy polished rocks  we reached the North Peak which was marked by a small cairn. The views were non existent but it was apparent to all that the drops on all sides were substantial! As at Scafell Pike four weeks earlier, there wasn’t much time for hanging around, just a quick picture and away! We returned back to the ridge and then ascended the Central Peak which has the iconic rock and marks the true summit. Conditions however took a turn for the worse and the rain was heavy which (luckily as far as I’m concerned!) ruled out any chance of scrambling up onto the rock.  Again, there were a few quick pictures and we were away back down the hill.

The walk down was marked by an improvement in the conditions and the clouds parted to give us a view of the summit that we had climbed. Once we got to the bottom the tide was in and the loch was looking much better!

It was then appropriate to find a pub to toast ourselves – and Ben Arthur’s Bothy was just fine! In total we had been out walking for around 5 hours and had covered 7.2 miles. In better conditions we may have chosen to extend the walk to take in the adjacent Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain but that will now have to wait for another time…

Click here for summary details from the GPS or here to download the GPX file for the route.

View The Cobbler Photo Gallery