Having turned back on Ime two weeks ago on a glorious day, with Narnain under our belts but our legs feeling the strain of the lower slopes of it's 3310ft Arrochar Alp neighbour, we decided for another direct attempt on it.
So we set off from Succouth car park at 8.30am on a dull Saturday morning with a forecast for improving skies as the day wore on.
Again we took the path/stream up from the main zig-zag path marked by a wooden post about 20ft from the roadside. We climbed through the trees and gained height quickly. Moving across an access road the path continues steeply on the other side almost directly opposite where you emerge onto the road. It's wet and rocky, but it's good fun and more entertaining i'm told than the zig-zags.
The first rocky climb of Narnian appears in front of us once we made our way beyond the tree line and follow the path up a steady incline. There are a series of concrete steps leading up the the start of the serious climbing up Narnain. With Ime our ultimate target today, we took a left and navigate a pretty boggy path skirting around the lower slopes of Narnian, eventually joining the Cobbler path at the dam. From there it's a pretty straightforward haul up the well-constructed path with the Cobbler looming in the mist and low cloud to our left and Narnian to our right.
We had hoped that we would climb through the cloud but when we arrived at the beleach at the bottom of the Cobbler's staircase ascent, we could only see the lower slopes of Ime through the fence and gate, the rest of it under the cover of thick white-grey cloud. Ever optimistic of a break in the cloud, we set off across the boggy ground approaching the access gate; this was pretty murky stuff and the ground was sodden with the path disappearing into some squelchy spots.
Through the gate an onto Ime itself the boggy theme continued. We trudged our way up through the mire, which began to dry out a bit as the cloud line approached. The lack of any view or line of sight at all made it a bit of a slog but the eroded path was straightforward enough to follow, doing out best to avoid some more squelching stuff higher up.
The grassy / boggy slope began to slowly change and the ascent became a bit more interesting once we hit some rocky sections. An April snow patch provided some distraction for my son as well who decided to pick his way up that instead.
The hill was quite busy (not the conveyer belt of people going up The Cobbler!) with some groups passing us and the occassional walker coming off the higher reaches. Visibility was pretty poor and there was a biting wind coming in but we took some time to speak to a guy who'd come down from the summit and was a font of knowledge about the hills and climbing. The conversation was a perfect breather from the slog up. And he concurred with our view of the climb so that that there are probably other more interesting routes up Ime (consensus is that coming up from Butterbridge is a bit more rewarding).
Up through the final reaches of the upper slopes, the path winds its way through the rocks. The cloud momentarily blew clear giving us a cracking if brief view of the summit, so we realised we didn't have far at all to go. Within five or ten minutes we had made it - the summit cairn provides some shelter but the rocky outcrop it sits on was a perfect spot to grab some food and catch our breath.
Disappointingly the cloud remained in place, despite the attempts by the sun to burn through. When we saw Ime two weeks ago the summit and the views from the summit looked enticing. We felt a real sense of relief and achievement having slogged it to the top regardless of the lack of views as reward.
We made our way back the way we had come up and seemed to be back at the access gate in no time at all. After that it was just a case of following the path back down to Succouth.
By this time (around 1pm/2pm) the sun was coming out and we were starting to warm up again. It's quite something to know the rest of the country's basking in April sunshine when the our targeted top was shrouded in clag.
A rewarding climb to have achieved our 2nd Munro. Definitely more interesting ways of reaching it. And a lesson in the weather changing your outlook on a mountain and the climbing experience that we'll take with us on our next trip out.
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.