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A Rocker in Arrochar

A Rocker in Arrochar


Postby basscadet » Tue May 08, 2012 12:47 am

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Ime, Beinn Narnain, Ben Vane, Ben Vorlich (Loch Lomond)

Corbetts included on this walk: The Cobbler

Date walked: 04/05/2012

Time taken: 16.5 hours

Distance: 39.11 km

Ascent: 3256m

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I can't remember where I had in mind for this past weekend, but at some point I changed my mind and decided to go to Arrochar. I had wanted to go since I first saw the Cobbler from the train I took up to Corrour last summer, but every time I have tried to arrange it, folk have let me down and I've had to cancel last minute, so all on my lonesome, I got up very early on Friday to get the bus at 5AM from Aberdeen. I got to Arrochar about 10, after an uneventful, sleepy journey, punctuated by an hour wandering about glasgow - I had almost forgotton what Glasgow was like it has been so long, so a welcome break. I got off the bus in Arrochar by the post office, and quickly found a path that was signposted for Glen Loin. I had only come a couple of hundred yards, but the weather was so lovely I stopped for a break already, to send my 'out walking, be back Monday' texts, and catch up with my nicotine addiction after the long journey.
Glen Loin was a lovely glen, very peaceful and a lot shorter than I had anticipated, even with frequent stops to absorb the views and sunshine.

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Soon Ben Vorlich was in my sights, and I could see tales of its steepness were not exaggerated! I ambled down into the Inveruglas glen, across a bridge and up onto the tarmac road. It wasn't far along before Ben Vane came into sight, and I stopped beside a large boulder for lunch. the wind had picked up, but it was still the bonniest day I'd seen for what felt like a long long time.

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I hid my pack behind the boulder and set off for Ben Vorlich, skipping up the road without the weight, and found the telltale wee cairn where the baggers path started without any troubles at all.

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The first section up the path was awful steep, I was so glad to be unburdened!

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but as height was gained, it turned into more of a normal camber slog and soon I was winding my way through crags. I met a chap coming down who said it was cold and snowy at the top! I wondered if i should of brought more gear (I was just in a shirt and waterproof jacket) but when I made the top, although it was windy, there was only a wee patch of snow to be seen, so I was left wondering wtf he was talking about! :)

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I ate a cereal bar, enjoyed the views, then headed back down the hill. It was only about 4 oclock by the time I got back to the road, but I was aware that I had plenty time to bag hills, as I had mistakenly booked a day too long for the transport, so nothing to do except enjoy the peace and sunshine - what a hardship! :D i camped by a wee stream, down by the bridge. I lay out in the sun, read my book, and waved to other walkers if they noticed me from the road. A couple of times I was startled by sheep, who would creep up quietly behind me, then baa loudly when i was least expecting it. :lol:
That night, was a bright full moon, and was so nice, i took my sleeping bag out and slept out under the ample stars. I slept well after the early start in the morning, and it was after 8.30 by the time I awoke. The day trippers were already out in force, and the observant ones pointed at my tent and brought it to the attention of their walking buddies.
I didn't get going until after 10, but it was only a few hundred yards to the start of the path up Ben Vane. the first pull up to the ridge was a killer - on retrospect, I could of took a better route - but up on the shoulder, the path was distinct and easy to follow.

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A couple of folks passed me, but they were nice folk, and I chatted to them again at the top.One chap came down and told me he had turned back as he couldn't negotiate the rocky scrambles further up! that worried me a little as I find climbing difficult with the heavy pack :( As I got higher up, the going got rockier and I was forced to take off the heavy pack a few times, pushing it up scrambles before me and hanging it up on the rock face for easy retrieval from above - really quite fun :) I kept on thinking there was an impassable rock face just in ahead, when i made the summit, which took me by surprise :lol: I had made it!
The nice folks were there at the top and we chatted for a while about walking poles and walk reports - one of the guys took my details so he could read this report so hello nice manny if you are reading this :D (should of asked his name lol)

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Then it was down the hill toward Beinn Ime. On some maps a path is marked, but I can assure you that it doesnt exist.. beinn Ime looked like a mighty steep slog from here! It wasnt even 2 though, so I knew I had ample time to take over it.

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I picked my way down, keeping to the right of the shoulder to try and avoid the worst of the crags, which worked affy well, and I was down in the bealach in no time. The footprints all seemed to head down Lag Uaine back to the track, so I felt like the first person ever to go up that face of beinn Ime, it was hard going at first, but once I got up on top of the crags it was slightly easier going. Al in all, a lot easier than it looked up to Glas bealach! I stopped there, ate and fell asleep in the sunshine for a while, only waking when a wee warbling birdie got up the courage to come close. It was 4PM by now, still plenty time I was glad to see :)

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I set off to ascend the last wee bit of beinn Ime. it turned out not to be such a wee bit as I anticipated, and i trudged wearily to the summit on a relentless climb. The folks at the top seemed a bit taken aback by the wild looking lassie coming from the wrong way, but made room in the wee shelter at the cairn and i sat back awile to enjoy the views.

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i headed down the altogethr gentler slope toward bealach a Mhaim, and round into Coire a Bhalachain. I set up camp just a short way down the path, sandwiched between the Yawning Crags of Beinn Narnain, and the towering crags of the north top of the Cobbler. The evening passed quickly, but it was a cold one, that required much tea :D I woke up a few times during the night with a cold face, and in the morning my tent was crusted with snow. I wasn't up as early as i would of liked, so it was 9 before I had all my kit packed and hidden, and I was heading back up the path to the Cobbler. The path up the back was very steep, and a staircase had been constructed. I wasn't 100% awake yet and seemed to daydream most of the way up and i was inbetween the two peaks in no time. There was just one chap I could see on the North Top, so i headed up the other one. Views were stunning.

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I headed up to the other top, exploring the crags and rocks as i went. I sat at the North top for what felt like a long time - it was really peaceful there by myself - then the clag came down, the snow came on, I got cold.and the day trippers seemed to arrive en-masse. I took the path heading down the front of the hill and began my descent.

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The path started out well made, but soon I was picking my way down steep rocky gullies and over boulder fields. For the most part it was rather fun, I would just get good hand holds, and swing my legs down with gay abandon :lol: The last section was hard on the feet, but I was soon on the main path again heading up the glen, looking for my rucksack. I ate lunch and relaxed awile. It was only midday so plenty of time left to do narnain and the snow was off, and the sunshine was out for now.
The ascent of Narnain from there was really quick and easy, and i wish I had made the effort to go down the front path and walk all the way back up the glen, but I ended up going up and down almost identical ways. Again the views were awesome, but I could definately see plenty of snow showers going about!

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I again descended and was surprised to see the size of the procession of walkers coming down the back path from the cobbler. The whole way down, there was barely more than 5 yards of the path that was clear :o I've never seen such a busy hill! I was so glad I had gone up early. I looked for my rucksack, where I ate some more, and fell asleep in the heather. I dont think I was asleep long, when the coldness of snow woke me up, this time big fluffly flakes. I pulled on my so far this trip unused water proof troos, and headed down to the Narnain boulders, where I sheltered and watched the procession go by until i got cold, and then looked for a campspot. I set up my tent so that i could watch the Cobbler out of the door all night, just as more snowy/sleety stuff came on, and it stayed on for a few hours so I'm glad I got my tent pitched early.

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I slept well late in the morning, The weather had definately worsened, and I couldnt see any of the tops, but I would occasionaly get a brief glimpse and they were white. I was heading homeward though, and I ambled down the path back toward Arrochar.

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I had a wee break at a dam at the path junction then got chatting to a couple of guys from Glasgow who were awful nice people, and that made the walk pass quickly. Before i knew it I was back in Arrochar, waiting for the bus home.
I've been wanting to do this trip for ages, so it was totally amazing to finally do it, and i got such nice weather, I couldn't of hoped for anything better. On retrospect though, I could of done this in 2 days instead of nearly 4! Hardly feel like I've been doing anything at all :lol: beautiful places though, I'm glad I had time to enjoy it all :thumbup:
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basscadet
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby dooterbang » Tue May 08, 2012 10:24 am

Give up the cigs and eat more food (you never mention that much!!) and you could do this in a day, leaving 3 more days to venture up more hills :D

Good effort though and a very well done.

These are my local hills and only 45mins drive away from Glasgow, its a nice area.

Glad you took it easy and enjoyed yourself.
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby monty » Tue May 08, 2012 10:52 am

What a lovely expedition. That sounded tranquil, unhurried and superb. Nice read too. :D
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby basscadet » Tue May 08, 2012 11:48 am

dooterbang wrote:Give up the cigs and eat more food (you never mention that much!!) and you could do this in a day, leaving 3 more days to venture up more hills :D

Good effort though and a very well done.

These are my local hills and only 45mins drive away from Glasgow, its a nice area.

Glad you took it easy and enjoyed yourself.


Och aye, I could of done more, but ever since the day on the Nevis trip when I was forced to lounge in the tent all day, I've found I quite like it :lol:
As for the food, I usually take too much (on purpose, just in case) but this trip I ate every last morsel, and ate 5 meals yesterday once I was back to civilisation! Not really sure why more calories were required, but I think I have caught up with my eating now :?
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby basscadet » Tue May 08, 2012 11:53 am

RTC wrote:Nice report. Did you go through the needle and onto the top of the Cobbler?


Aye and no.. I went through climbed up and touched the top, but didnt actually haul my fat ass up there :lol:
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby quoman » Tue May 08, 2012 4:09 pm

Well done basscadet..you like you camping trips, i take it you don't drive witch makes' it even better.
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby basscadet » Tue May 08, 2012 4:25 pm

quoman wrote:Well done basscadet..you like you camping trips, i take it you don't drive witch makes' it even better.

Correct, I dont drive - but not for lack of trying.. they keep on cancelling and rescheduling my driving test, its been a nightmare. I still think there is a place for public transport though, I got to arrochar and back for £20.80 - a lot less than I would of been in fuel from Aberdeen, and through routes are ace.. I am looking forward, when I do get a car, to stashing my gear in convenient locations en route so I dont have to carry so much.. got a few ideas of trips I could do like that :)
I believe you have to be out in the hills for at least 24 hours afore you get the vibe of the place.. all this walk in, bag, then out again, is a bit fast paced for auld BC :lol: There are only so many munros, and I'm heading for the halfway mark at a rate of knots, and I just restarted them in August 2010, so time to take my time I've been thinking.
Last edited by basscadet on Wed May 09, 2012 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby skuk007 » Tue May 08, 2012 4:37 pm

Nice report and great looking photos.

I thought you'd done this in one day when I read your stats at the beginning of the report. :shock:
Was expecting to read bits where you'd run up the hills, whistling as you went. However, was glad to hear you took you're time on these fab hills.

And no you're not the only crazy person to have tackled Ime from that direction. :)
I found that ascent a bit tough going and was glad to get it over with.
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby kojak » Tue May 08, 2012 10:25 pm

I am the nice Manny you were talking to on Ben Vane.. :D it was nice to meet you, quite an impressive adventure you had there and great report.. Maybe in the future I will try a wild camp on the hills, but like I mentioned I like to get home after a days walk and enjoy a beer :lol: managed to get out myself today up Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag, total whiteout, glad I am back home now :lol:
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby 2dalmatians » Tue May 08, 2012 11:15 pm

That's a great report BC. So well written and giving such a nice feel for that area. It took me 4 trips over 4 days to climb all these beautiful hills, and no I didn't go through the needle on Ben Arthur! I am going wild camping this summer for the first time. I hope I have a trip like yours :)
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby basscadet » Wed May 09, 2012 1:03 am

Geoaddison wrote:I am the nice Manny you were talking to on Ben Vane.. :D it was nice to meet you, quite an impressive adventure you had there and great report.. Maybe in the future I will try a wild camp on the hills, but like I mentioned I like to get home after a days walk and enjoy a beer :lol: managed to get out myself today up Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag, total whiteout, glad I am back home now :lol:


Oh I'm so glad you managed to find the report :D
I was up aonach mor & beag a few weeks ago - check out 'the unluckiest trip ever' in my blog... Dont think I was even properly concious for them tbh!

Good effort on the munro bagging - 2 trips in a week! you are keen..

Aye, you could take beer up the hill, you just need to get used to carrying the weight. Tbh, I find that despite spending a vast proportion of my wages on the lightest of gear, I often sabotage my attempts at a lighter pack by strapping a few kilo's of coal to my back and tromping the hills well laden, but warm at night in a bothy.. seems crazy, but the truth often is.. :lol:
If you fancy a camping buddy, I'd be well up for it - I have amassed plenty of kit for two :)
Same goes for you 2dalmations - I cant promise such a perfect trip as this, but I can promise getting home safe, with a few more baggings under your belt :thumbup:
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby 2dalmatians » Wed May 09, 2012 8:23 pm

Cheers BC. I will get a few solo camps under my belt first before I go with anyone else. Prob down the municipal gardens so I can't do myself any real harm! :lol: after that I would def be up for a wee trip somewhere
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby colgregg » Wed May 09, 2012 8:54 pm

Great report. I'll refer to this if I get up there. Was planning to do a couple of days this week but am sat at home with all gear ready but weather these next few days putting a block on it.
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby Scotjamie » Wed May 09, 2012 9:03 pm

simply superb and laid back report bc - reminds me why we love wildcamping in the hills
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Re: A Rocker in Arrochar

Postby kojak » Wed May 09, 2012 10:31 pm

I would probably take whisky to lighten the load :lol: . Might take you up on the offer in the future you seem well experience when it comes to camping.. I read your report on the two Aonach's :shock: that was some crazy sh*t glad you got home safe, not sure I would have the bottle for such a trip..

Our intention was to come down from the bealach between the two Aonach's head up CMD, Nevis then after coming down the tourist route cut back round and over to the Ski centre where we started, but the poor visibility put a stop to that.. I will be up that way again this weekend camping but I'll be cheating by staying at a campsite.. Hoping to do the Ring of Steall if the weather is right :D
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