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Beinn Narnain

Beinn Narnain

Postby nigheandonn » Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:51 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Narnain

Date walked: 23/08/2014

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As so often, this was not actually what I intended to do - I was setting out for Bens Vane and/or Vorlich, except that I was too late to make the 8:21 train. Since I wanted to have plenty of time for that, and I wasn't sure about the bus times to Sloy, a trip from Arrochar from the next train seemed to make more sense.

I shouldn't really have been out at all, as I had a cold and had been feeling fairly awful for the past few days, but my third day of freedom for the summer seemed too good to waste, so I decided to go for it.

The scottish weather was up to its best tricks, as well - just two weeks earlier I'd climbed Ben Lomond in summer, and now, even about noon, I was setting off in chilly autumn - but it was sunny, and there were brambles to eat, so not all bad.

The start was down from the station, through the village, and round the head of the loch to the Cobbler car park.


About twenty people were leaving the car park at the same time as I was, but they must have all headed for the Cobbler, as I didn't see anyone after that until I started meeting people coming down.

There's a nice feeling of adventure about heading for Beinn Narnain - start off along the broad, signposted Cobbler path, keep a lookout for a tiny path going up between the trees on the right, and vanish from sight.

The small path

It was the kind of path which it's sometimes hard to distinguish from a stream - the book says that it might run with water after heavy rain, so there had obviously been some at some point - but punctuated with odd concrete blocks.

It was also full of peacock butterflies, and when it began to rain I found out what they do in the wet - sit on something hard, point their wings straight up, and hope!

Peacock butterfly

Butterflies in the rain

It was the kind of day when you can watch the weather coming over in stripes, so I didn't think the rain could last too long, and it didn't.

After a while I came out of the woods - always nice to be able to see ahead, and as I went on the views were improving in all directions.

A view ahead

Loch Long

Rainbow down below

There were a few scrambly bits - mixed in with flatter boggier bits - which the book had described as easy, and I was interested to find out what that meant. When I climbed Red Screes in the lakes it was described as 'very rough', and I went up the whole thing wondering when the rough bit would start - but I'd read that things that Wainwright would consider close to the limit of endurance were barely worth commenting on in Scotland!

The first couple were really easy, and then there was a nice bigger clambery bit where you had to think about the best places to put your feet to get up easily - overall it wasn't really much different from Red Screes, so if these are representative I now have a better idea of what 'easy' means!

After a while I came out on a small top, with a much bigger one ahead, which was what I thought was supposed to happen - but although there was nothing else to be seen I didn't think it could be the actual summit, and looking around confirmed that I really wasn't high enough. So onwards and upwards again.

Cobbler summits

View to the sea

When the real summit did appear in front of me it was big and rocky and unmistakeable.

Quite a lot of the next bit was along the side of a steep slope which I didn't like at all - but I'm never really sure if I count as being scared of it, because my inner voice is very polite and never says 'No, I can't do this', instead it says 'oh dear, I don't like this at all, that *is* a long way down, isn't it... but there's nothing to be done about it, so you better just go on...'

The summit at last

Looking back

The actual gully bit was fine - straight up with rock on either side, and more of the nice logic puzzle stuff where as long as you think about where to put your feet before you do it it's all fine.

The gully

After all that rock the summit was far flatter and broader than I expected, a big stony plateau. Second munro in the bag, and although it was smaller it had been much more my idea of what a 'proper' munro should be - I really enjoyed that one.

Beinn Narnain summit

Summit plateau

Coming off the plateau on the other side was quite steep and stony at first, and there were more stony and loose bits further down, which I really don't like walking on.

Although the bealach was further down than it looked at first (as always), Beinn Ime ahead looked straightforward, and another change of scenery - just a long grassy walk uphill.

Beinn Ime ahead

By the time I'd got down, though, I'd decided that it was a walk that could wait for another day - it was 5pm, and although there was plenty of light left, I would be very late getting home if I didn't make the 8pm train, and I didn't want to push myself too far when I wasn't feeling 100%. I'll come back some time for the Cobbler anyway. So instead of going on ahead, I cut over to the left to pick up the good Cobbler path - a bit of a culture shock after the smaller paths I'd been on until then, but I wasn't complaining about easy walking!

Good close up views of the Cobbler as well (but too much against the light to get a good picture), although I'm still not quite sure which is the actual summit, and then down past the Narnain boulders.

Narnain boulder

I was a bit confused by the instructions - I was to follow the path straight on until a mast where I was to turn off onto a track which zigzagged down, but it had started zigzagging so long before that that I wondered if I'd done the junction without noticing - but it was always so obvious which was the main path that I couldn't really go wrong. I came out eventually back at the car park and went round to the village, ending up at the chip shop because the pub I tried was a bit full, and having a prowl round that almost led to me missing the train home - but that is another story!
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Re: Beinn Narnain

Postby Silverhill » Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:05 pm

Nice report and well done on your 2nd munro! Beinn Narnain was my 3rd munro and I have happy memories of it, although I didn’t see much on the ascent. Like you I was a bit apprehensive of the steep and rocky bits at first, but confidence has increased with every hill since then. Enjoy the ones to come! :D
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Re: Beinn Narnain

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:21 pm

That was great - thanks for sharing your thought process as you went. I too have difficulty with descriptions like 'easy', 'short', 'steep' etc as they all seem to be subjective. We just need to learn from experience what these words mean to ourselves.
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