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An Arrochar Trinity: And the one that got away

An Arrochar Trinity: And the one that got away

Postby teaandpies » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:37 am

Route description: Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ìme

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Ìme, Beinn Narnain

Corbetts included on this walk: The Cobbler

Date walked: 10/06/2015

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 1674m

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Since moving to Glasgow I've worn a grove up the Clyde Canal but I was getting tired of dodging Irn-Bru cans, crisp pokes and dog crap. Passing within a couple of feet of a zombie walking a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is also not my idea of good walk. 6 months cooked up in this city has left me scunnered and it was time to get away for the day.

After a quick search of bus and train times I choose to take the bus from Glasgow to Arrochar. The first bus was leaving at 06:23 I booked a ticket, open return. I need to make the last bus from Arrochar around 20:00 or I'd have to give the girlfriend a call to come get me and I know how she'd hate that :roll:

I rolled out of bed and into a shower at 5am, pulled on all my gear and set off without breakfast. I'd be traveling to and from the hill in my walking gear so I was hoping for a dry day so that I didn't have to sit in the bus on the way home in wet clothing.
The bus arrives and before I ask the driver if I could get dropped off on the other side of the loch at the car park he asked if I wanted dropped off at the car park. I guess the walking clobber was a give away 8)

Just before I started the walk the last thing I done was to text my brother (whom is member of the R.A.F Search & Rescue) to let him know where I was walking and that I'd text him when I was off the hill, you know...just in case.

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Start of the walk

I started my walk about 07:30 and it was easy going. The purpose build path for walkers is pleasant enough to start with but it's enough to get the lungs going and the blood moving to where it needs to be. I don't know about the rest of you but I never do any stretching before I set off, preferring to walk a while before hitting the slopes...dynamic stretching. It didn't take long to get to the bench that I've seen in many walk reports. From here you go left and it almost an immediate right just before the communications tower.

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A nice early view looking down Loch Long

It wasn't long before I was out of the trees and got my first views of the Cobbler.

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My first proper look at The Cobbler

The dam, that is much covered on Walkhighlands reports shouldn't be that long from here. The dam was small but the water looked amazing and I wondered how many people had went for a dip after a long day on the hills.
According to all the reading I had done the next feature would be the 'Narnain Boulders' and the were. I stopped and took on some water here but at this point I was still undecided about what hills I was going to actually walk. The first fork up to The Cobbler was coming up...will I or won't I? I'll make that decision when I get to the fork I think.

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The Cobbler

As I walked and took in the atmosphere of the place I knew I was going to commit to doing Ben Arthur. The shape of the hill is fascinating. I've seen a million pictures of it and even got a brief glimpse of it from the bus on the other side of the loch but there is nothing like actually standing in the shadow of a hill to really make you appreciate exactly how great something truly is.

The Cobbler

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The path and The Cobbler

I took the 'path' up the front of Ben Arthur. It was rocky, wet and honestly terrible. I can really say there is a well defined path I found some of it to be guess work. Half way up, well half way up the first part of the climb haha, I stopped to have a bit of breakfast (I ate half a roll) before getting going again.

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Looking up the front of The Cobbler

After climbing for a while I'm pretty sure I got lost a little bit and found myself doing some scrambling up a rocky gap it wasn't until I was out of this gap I seen the path to my left and it was fairly straight forward from there.

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The gap to aim for

I got to a cairn which I took to mean that that part of the climb was done. I got my first vies of Beinn Ime and Beinn Luibhean and they were looking nice.

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First views of Beinn Ime & Beinn Luibhean

From the cairn I went left, there was still a bit of climb to get to the needle but it was straight forward.
I had the summit to myself and spent about 40 minutes up there taking in the views, finishing my breakfast and enjoying the early morning sun.

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The Needle

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The Arrochar Alps

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A bag shot rather than a selfie

I choose not to thread the needle, not because I'm scared but because I was alone. I think it would be something fun to do with another person or people so I'm going to save that for another walk. I headed down the well worn path that meets up with the steps that take you down into the bealach.

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Coming down The Cobbler heading for Bealach a'Mhaim

Beinn Ime

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Beinn Ime

Once off Ben Arthur I started off for Beinn Ime. The ground was wet and just before the gate there is a very wet patch...a small pond! From the gate it didn't much better for 2 thirds of the walk up the 'path' or horrendous scar. At times I was up to my ankle in mud but my boots didn't leak and I was pretty pleased my choice to wear gaiters. I read a bunch of reports before doing my walk, many of them say it's fairly straight forward walk up but I found it was steeper than expected and harder going especially the first third, combined with the boggy ground, I wasn't enjoying this.

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First views of Beinn Ime & Beinn Luibhean

About half way up I hit a massive mental wall, I wasn't sore or tired but I came to a total stop. Leading up to this point I kept looking back because I thought I was being followed, I was hearing voices. I had seen 3 people on my walk so far, 1 gentleman climbing The Cobbler in front of me and 2 (not walking together) people coming up The Cobbler from the back path as I was descending so where were these 'sounds' coming from? Was it sheep? Was it the breeze? Was it unseen people on some other hill? I don't know but I felt slightly uncomfortable.

I sat on rock and was there for a good half an hour started eating a bag of gummy sweeties and I watched a runner approach Beinn Ime, run up the hill and pass me, he must have some set of lungs on him! I was having a massive confidence crisis, I felt like going home. The heat was killing me and I was already burnt. A horrid feeling crept over me, a sudden realisation that maybe I can't do this, I won't be able to do all the Munros, why am I even bothering?
This was only my second solo walk and I think I was missing the 'other person', I think I need a walking buddy to share the experiences with, to keep me company and help with motivation.

I moved on eventually and as I was going up I met the man that was climbing The Cobbler in front of me coming down the Ime. He stopped for a short chat, he told me he was in a rush because he was working against the bus timetable to wherever he was from. I asked him where he was going now, Ben Narnain was the answer. I wished him well and off he blasted. The guy was a lot older than me and was walking like a total beast, he was topless and loving life. I couldn't help think that if he can do it, then I can too! I know age is nothing to do with fitness but still.

The runner then came back down the hill and I then bumped into a very polite gentleman that stood for a while chatting and he was telling me that there is no wind at the top which was weird because where we were standing there was a nice breeze. I kept climbing and found the source of the wetness, a fresh water spring. I dipped my hands in the water to cool myself down and took on a little water here.

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This is not the top...

I was feeling better now, the ground was firm and I could actually do some walking.

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A solid path to the summit

I was at the summit in no time and again I was alone. I took a lot of pictures and then sat and munched my way through the rest of my sweeties. As I was told, not a breath of wind at the top, completely still, complete silence. The views were amazing and I could see Ben Nevis still cover in what seemed to be a lot of snow still.
The sun was pounding down, so I put my fleece over my head and right arm to shelter myself. I sat there on the summit for an hour. I didn't realise the time and I got myself ready to move off. I had to put my fleece on in order to prevent anymore burning to my arms.

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The summit of Beinn Ime

The walk down was ok but I still had to negotiate plenty of boggy patches and at 1 point I slipped and fell on my arse, luckily I didn't land in the gutters. It was at this exact moment I decided I wasn't going to nip over to Beinn Luibhean, the one that got away...

Ben Narnain

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Beinn Narnain

Ben Narnain maybe 151 places behind Beinn Ime on the Munro list but it's not 150 times easier to climb :crazy: After coming through the gate from Beinn Ime I started up Narnain without stopping. I was walking well and compared to the slopes of previous hill this one was far nicer to be walking up, slightly wet at first but I was soon out of the wet bit and really making progress...a rat up a drain pipe could be used to describe my speed, I surprised myself if I'm totally honest. I always allow myself time for a photo or several and I pointing and shooting every so often on the way up and only stopping when I was chatting with folk coming down the hill.

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Looking back to Beinn Ime with her little sister

I broke the hills back and I was soon on the final third, this was the best part of the day for me. I enjoyed a bit of rock hopping here and there but I came very close to missing the path because I was to busy looking at the views down Loch Long :lol:

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The faint path I almost missed

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Looking over Loch Long from higher up Ben Narnain

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Once up the bit of path on the above image there's a bit of crispy grass that was nice to walk on but I lost the path here. I could see the way to go, after looking up and down a narrow boulder field for a way through or over I eventually spotted a path on the other side. Nipping across the rocks I got to the path and then I was on the summit Plateau. Once again, I found myself all alone on another summit, I spent a bit of time here and took a few photos but I didn't hang around for as long as I did on the other summits.

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The summit of Ben Narnain, Beinn Ime photo-bombing in the background.

The sun was still high, the air was still hot but I was ready to get home now. Every single person I spoke to on the hills this day told me that they didn't recommend going down via the old path so I started back down the path I came up. It was pretty much as soon as I got off the top the day caught up with me, I was now very sore. The early start, the heat, the gym during the week and of course the days walk all added up to leave me shattered. To make things worse I ran out of water as I came of hill and now I faced a long walk back to the town without anything to drink.

Getting to Town

I got off Ben Narnain with no problems and now I was back on the path that would take me back to the town. I had a couple of hours to make it back to catch the bus at 18:00 so I wasn't going to **** about taking pictures. I started off pretty well but I was exhausted and thirsty. I stopped to take my gaiters off and open my boots, it was good to get some air about my legs. The walk along the path became a battle, I was walking against the clock, against the thirst and against the sun that was relentless. I stopped a few times to sit in the shadow of a big rock or to wet my mouth from a stream. I knew there were sheep on the hills so I didn't fancy drinking the water so I would scoop some into my mouth and spit it out, it felt good at the time but didn't help at all.

I didn't remember the path being this long on the way up, after passing the Narnain Boulders the distance to the dam felt like miles and when I got there all that water looks so tempting. I wondered how many people had used the dam after a long day on the hills to go for swim and cool off. Soon after the dam I found myself in the shadow of a tall tree just before the path descends into the forest. I stopped here for a good while, in fact I lay down on the grass using my bag as a pillow and felt myself slipping away. I wasn't sure how long I was there for but I was awoken by a dog barking at me. The owner asked if I was ok, of course I said yes but the truth was I was done and could do with a drink.
I pulled myself together and got going again, the rest didn't help and now it was going to be tough to catch the bus but I was going to give it a try. I moved off and immediately the pain was back. Gingerly I made my way down the path but couldn't get any kind off speed going, this was a war of attrition now between me and the sun and the sun was winning, I was in the forest but there still hardly any shade from her.
Each step was getting me closer to the bottom and on the final few zig zags I seen a couple with 2 Beagles walking towards me, I then spotted a tripod on the guys back and I couldn't help but wonder if it was the same dogs from a video that had been posted a week before on this site. As they got closer I kind of blurted out a question. "Are you the photographer from the Walkhighlands website?" It was! We spoke for minute but I was actually to sore to lean down to give the dogs a wee clap but they were a couple of healthy looks dogs full of energy. We exchanged our real names and went on our way.

Once I reached the road I had 10 minutes to make it to the other side of town to catch the bus but I wasn't able to move very fast and as I was cutting through the car park I see the bus pass around the bend and I knew I wasn't going to make it. I sat down on a bench by the sea, I now had a 2 hour wait to until the next bus. After 20 minutes or so I moved on because I needed to find somewhere to pee.

I found a chippy and went in to buy a bottle of water and ask where could I get the use of a water closet. The young girl looked at me like I was talking a different language, I took the time to explain to her a what a water closet was a flushing toilet. She let me know about a place called the Ben Arthur Inn and that it was just up the road. Once I found it and took care of business I got myself a pint of icy water along with a pint of coke then sat out the front in the shade and enjoyed my fluids.


I really wanted to include Beinn Luibhean in my walk. I read lots of reports on Walkhighlands but I hadn't seen any that included all 4 hills. I had plenty of time to do so but whatever happened to me on Beinn Ime put a stop to all that. I spent far to much time on that mountain not moving, fighting a few demons. Despite suffering some kind of breakdown I still managed to get to the top of Beinn Ime and go on to do another Munro after that.

There's nothing in my report for the seasoned hill walker I'm sure they are all very familiar with these basic hills but the report is more for me to remember the day and help me work out s few 'issues' I obviously have with my walking confidence...I have my next walked planned already, another basic hill but it's local. Why do we do it eh?

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(Walked alone)
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Looking to the hazy horizon over Loch Long
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The nasty wet path up Beinn Ime
Last edited by teaandpies on Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
Mountain Walker
Posts: 957
Munros:105   Corbetts:21
Grahams:9   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: An Arrochar Trinity: And the one that got away

Postby teaandpies » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:42 am

A few more pics...
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The Cobbler from the dam

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Looking to the Grahams

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Looking from The Cobbler to the path and Ben lomond

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Where do I go from here?

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The Cobbler has some great rock formations

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The Cobbler looks very different from the back

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Ben Narnain, A'Chrois and Ben Lomond

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Looking down Glen Kinglas

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Ben Arthur & The Brack

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Looking over Loch Long to A'Chrois
Mountain Walker
Posts: 957
Munros:105   Corbetts:21
Grahams:9   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

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