EDIT: so i was writing a report of my whole week in the Southern Highlands, but i pressed submit without finishing so I'll leave it just as my first day --
its practically dark when i thrum my last-legs Clio off towards arrochar, tho really its actually light and has been a while - it was dark for two weetabix n banana - n it someway annoys me that i'm slow off the mark. why it is so it's hard to say - tho it remains a feature thru the week - staying as i am less'n half hour up from the car park (westerly one, £1 a day; i had change n no gripes). post-dawn early starts, when the whether is not dissuasive, are clear sky affairs n starting up a damp trickle under trees (close n sheltering) necessitates pealing off layer-wise puncutations to the slog. not soon enough i break crest and start, in my mind, narnain proper. its quite without interest as a walk n views of the ridge from a'chrois present an alternative as the most obviously worthwhile ascent route.
a view back down the way up; can't help but think it would have been far better from the a'chrois ridge
unexpectedly rocky up here but the path winds thru without any hand on rock action
the cobbler, off left, is swaddled in mist which shortly over-grapples the clear blue bringing sleet as i stump up final narnain heft towards the arrowhead.in my mind are vague plans on soloing the arete (but from the foot it appears less sharp than i had hoped and some measure of questing must be involved which damps that plan like the sleet). following to the RHS, the more obvious chimney is a wringing black maw. i go a little further up the gully n find a straightforward line of broken rock - contrived in view of the easy walk nestling below but something nonetheless to numb the hands on.
on top of the arrowhead
as i reach the cobbler, the day begins to brighten again. i divert from the stepped path to see if the crest offers any scrambling interest - paltry n again contrived n more effort than it is worth to link the crops. the north peak is easily reached, tho the decent is more sketch than i imagined with the rock wet. a path on the right seems to drop between a cleft which is ignored but surely is preferable to skudding over the slabby left route.
central peak n south peak from north peak
the central peak has a reputation - polished n scarily exposed are the general themes. there appears little consensus on technical difficulty tho which has the capacity of amplification or nullification of any height associated fear (in my experience). some place it at the grade 2 scramble end of the spectrum; the ukc logbook places it at an extraordinarily unjustified moderate rock climb. my reality is a wide ledge running a larger than bootwidth crack for security into a couple of very straightforward out-of-the-swimming-pool steps n i'm on top. with the brevity it scarcely registers on the scrambling scale n the exposure is entirely unnoticed even in decsent by virtue of the ledge (n i found the loosish path up slioch nerve-fraying).
south peak from central peak
with the central peak done on scant effort, i couldn't excuse the south peak. the boulder sentinals to the ledge are easily bypassed (from memory) by climbing to the left of the left boulder n level with the gap between them on good feet n then right foot onto the right boulder, reaching into the gap with your right hand to find good holds and stepping then easily into the gap n thru to the ledge. at this point i've forgotten where i'm meant to go. i settle on a crack line (with further grooves to the left that i didn't try). the holds are all sidepulls which is fine but means i am smearing onto slopers with my feet. i think they would be easily stuck on dry rock but right now i'm skudding around and wondering how reversible this all is.
'well i'm here,' i think, 'n i would like all three tops' so i fix to footjamming the crack (turn your foot side-on n insert then torque the sole as flat as you can). i'm reaching towards the end of the crack n the obvious route is left n up to where i think the second grass ledge (from the central peak at least, from this ledge to the top looks simple) when one of my footjams slips out of the constriction and the crack gobbles up my knee . i'm unnerved so in a late act of sensibileness descend (awkwardly, downclimbing these footjams requires the unweighting of a leg that has its knee already scrunched to my face). so that was that; i don't fancy it again today. had i had facility to abseil i would have ticked it but i was certainly not feeling too keen on the downclimb (doable, certainly - on a dry day there appears no requirement for any rockclimbing techniques - grade 3 scramble seems fairly agreed upon for the easiest line, tho the ukc logbook again places it at moderate rock climb). in retrospect i regret not looking further left at the other grooves as i'm not certain whether i was trying the easiest line but nevermind .
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