Another week where my free time doesn't coincide with decent weather. Tuesday was stunning and Wednesday was scheduled to be dry in the morning, so I thought I'd get up(relatively) early and take advantage of the dried out ground before it got wet again at 2pm. It was a public transport job, so I opted for something reasonably close and decided it was Citylink to Arrochar for Beinn narnain and Beinn ime.
That was taken from my Ben Vane walk last week. The Actual summit of Beinn narnain is off somewhere behind that. From the middle of Arrochar where the bus drops you off, it's a walk to the end of the town and then there's a wee carpark which you walk through. A path takes you across the end of Loch Long to another carpark and then there is a Forestry path which leads to the paths for the Cobbler and Beinn Narnain. I start out at 10am.
The walk description doesn't exaggerate when it says after a "short" time there's a path to the right - it's pretty immediate. The path get's steep really quickly and is quite overgrown - at times I think a Machete would be pretty useful. My knees, ankles and thighs don't seem to have repaired themselves much and I'm not exactly bouncing up the track. I had intended to start this summer of walking with a big group of us back in February with this route. I'm glad we got rained off, because I would currently be trying to raise morale and tell them it wasn't long to go. Once you start to surface form the trees, Arrochar appears behind you and it starts to feel like you've achieved some sort of height gain:
After some more thigh burning boggy work - the path levels out a little and you can see views of the ubiquitous Ben Lomond and Loch long:
The real money shot for this trip is The Cobbler or Ben Arthur. I've never been up it, but it's a really popular climb and I've seen it can make for some really good photos. I know from the map that it would be quite a simple detour after Beinn Ime(Or even after Beinn Narnain), but unless the weather improves or my muscles and joints get a new lease of life, I'll be keeping it for another day when I can enjoy it with a crowd:
The boggy tufts and rocky paths eventually give way to some seriously impressive cliff faces. At this point the cloud descends and for about 10-15 minutes, I am walking along steep paths in about big rocks and I can only see rolling cloud below me - it feels like I could be a lot more than the 800m above sea level that I am. It clears quite quickly and I don't need too worry about the question of whether I should keep going with a compass in hand or turn back.
Thankfully by the time you get to the spearhead, you realise the path moves up the side of it and while you are traversing some pretty impressive rock - it's an easy enough path. Beinn Narnain is then a massive flat summit. First cairn is the Spearhead:
Beinn Narnain is further along and has a proper trig point:
The summit is a strange desolate mix of moss and rocks
It's about 12:45 when I sit down and have a quick coffee and some lunch before heading onwards to Beinn Ime. You can see the entire path of Beinn Ime from Beinn Narnain. My legs are pretty tired, and if there was any complication in Beinn Ime - I would be contemplating just getting down to the bealach between the two and heading home.
The trip down to the bealach is not much fun. I have no energy and downhill's don't help matters much. I take a quick photo of last week's Munro - Ben Vane - mainly cos this is the only place you can see it:
The path eventually heads over some boulders and I find a couple who appear to be wait for me. It turns out they are Czech and don't speak any English. They manage to ask me where the path is by telling me they have been downstairs and would like further roads for upstairs. The woman can hear Led Zep coming from my overly large cheap headphones. She says "Led Zeppelin - tempo! - Cool!" and makes a marching mime… who needs language!
I reach the Bealach about 13:50. I've just never managed to bounce about with energy today . I don't know if it's the impending rainclouds, my sore bones from last week, or I've just been too busy with work to build up much energy. I start to tackle Beinn Ime, knowing it isn't too bad - at least it will be uphill for a change.
I just get my head down and slog it out. It's just marshy boulder and the only challenge is making sure you don't go knee deep in bog. I eventually surface at the top(14:40), and it's a really nice cairn. There's a wee wind protector and you have to climb up to it. I genuinely contemplate going for a wee snooze, but I opt for a coffee and some soup instead.
I'm much happier now cos I know I am on the way home. Maybe I just needed some more food in my belly. I can see from this end that the Cobbler isn't too hard to get up to and I contemplate a wee run up the tough bit, but I can feel the weather descending and I want to have photos of me and friends standing on the Cobbler's distinctive rocks which I can't get on my own or in what I think the weather will be in 45 minutes.
By 15:30 I'm at the crossroads in the path between the Cobbler and the bus home. Luckily I take the sensible option, as 20 minutes later I can't see the Cobbler for rain, and the path home combined with my tired state means that the trip back to Arrochar takes longer than I thought it would. This said - I now know that the trip to the bealach at the base of the Cobbler is pretty achievable:
The first 300 metres of the ascent is a pretty doable but constant zig zag path through the forrest - if you can make it through this - there's some lovely views in the correct weather walking out too the back end of The Cobbler.
I am back in civilisation at 17:00 just in time to go for a pint in Ben Arthur's Bothy before the bus at 18:08. It also gives me a chance to change my clothes - cos I am absolutely soaked!
A great challenging walk with some amazing views despite the weather.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.