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Beinn Ime by the Cobbler path

Beinn Ime by the Cobbler path

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:27 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Ìme

Date walked: 23/09/2018

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Various Munro climbing opportunities this year had slipped away, either to bad weather or because I was still tired after something else - a wilder than expected trip up the east side of Islay and a recent abortive attempt to walk round the Isle of Wight in three days, particularly! So I was determined to get one in before the end of the year, and knew that this might easily be the last really good weekend day, especially when we'd already had one storm.

I originally set out to climb Beinn Chabhair, but through a mix of disorganisation and bad luck managed to miss the 8:30 train to Glasgow by seconds, which meant I would miss the 9:56 Oban train - if I had known I would miss it I would have waited and got the 9:33 train up to Dalwhinnie for Meall Chuaich, which was second on my Sunday shortlist, but once I had a Glasgow ticket I thought I better use it, even if I didn't know for what.

My next opportunity was the 11am Fort William bus, so I wandered off to have coffee while I thought about it. Beinn Chabhair from the bus seemed to be no use to me, even though I'd have had to get the bus from Ardlui to Inverarnan anyway - the buses home were either too early or too late, and it was just a trip I badly wanted to do by train, using the little Ardleish ferry to get back to Ardlui.

So it had to be something I could get to from an A82 bus - which at least kept me from being led astray by the Corbett wiles of Binnein an Fhidhleir - but something I could come home from on the Campbeltown bus that got to Glasgow a bit after 9, and ideally something that I couldn't do from the train. Having rejected Ben Vane and the Glen Loin path back to Tarbet because I didn't really want to do it by itself, and Ben Vorlich because I badly wanted to do a traverse to Ardlui (it didn't occur to me that I could walk *from* Ardlui), I suddenly settled on Beinn Ime, which I've twice missed out after setting out to climb it along with another hill - a descent to Butterbridge or the Rest and Be Thankful would save me from another descent of the zigzags and fulfil the only-by-bus criterion, but mostly I just wanted to Get It Done!

Arrochar was just starting to show its autumn colours - in a few weeks time I'll come back to Loch Long on the Waverley (hopefully), and the broadleaved trees will be blazing across the hillside.

Across Loch Long

I've always loved the view from the start of the climb, with Ben Lomond showing through the gap behind Arrochar

Arrochar and Ben Lomond

There's really nothing more to say about those zigzags, except that there seemed to be fewer of them on a cool autumn day than there were on a blazing hot day in the early summer! There were brambles growing along the sides of the path, and it seems to be a good bramble year even in the north, but unlike the Isle of Wight, where they grew in hedges just to hand, they always seemed to be on the other side of a boggy ditch.

Between zigzags

I was determined to get out of the zigzags before I stopped for lunch, which made it a bit late but did give me a glorious view. It's much harder to get bored of this part of the path - the views are wonderful, and it's such good walking and a gentle climb.

A Cobbler view

On past the junction with the Cobbler path, and the next junction with the path round the back, and I was coming up to the Bealach a' Mhaim, with Beinn Ime finally in view.

Beinn Ime in sight

I remember this place between Beinn Luibhean and Beinn Ime quite vividly, with the ground which looks badly in need of ironing, and which might provide me with a descent route later on - there's a path lower down, although I wasn't sure how far up it comes.

Beinn Luibhean and Beinn Ime

The weather was looking not quite as good as it had been, with dark clouds creeping in from the west, but a little smirr of rain also produced a rainbow above Ben Vane.

Rainbow over Ben Vane

The path changes quite dramatically at the foot of Beinn Ime - until the junction at the back of Beinn Narnain it's a solid well made thing, and then suddenly it becomes just a muddy line.

Faded path

The first part of this climb was fairly depressing, which the slope curving away so that there was never more than the immediate surroundings in view ahead - before long I felt like I'd been climbing forever, and yet I was still well below the level of the Cobbler, never mind Beinn Narnain or Ben Lomond.

Further up it was surprisingly muddy - I was following a clear path, but it suddenly vanished and left a good expanse of bog between me and the real path.


But above a little edge which reminded me of Beinn Luibhean things improved - the path dried up, and I could see summits ahead of me and feel like I was getting somewhere.

And really I only had to turn round to cheer myself up, with wide ranging views to the east, starting with the immediate view of Beinn Narnain and the Cobbler.

Beinn Narnain and the Cobbler from the back

I was well back from Loch Long, but still had a view further down to the Firth of Clyde and Ailsa Craig on the horizon.

Towards the Firth of Clyde

And on the far side of Long Lomond, Loch Arklet and Loch Katrine led away into the Trossach hills.

Across Ben Lomond

As I was coming round towards the main summit the grey cloud which had been lurking for a while swept in, bringing with it much wetter rain - it didn't seem like it would last, because all the cloud was in patches, and the wind was blowing it over quite quickly, but everything did a good vanishing act for a while.

Vanishing summit

The nearby hills were still just about visible, dramatic shadows below the clouds.

The Cobbler in the mist

By the time I reached the main summit, a cairn inside a shelter on top of a rock, it was clear again, although there was still more cloud lurking in the west than I wanted - I'd been hoping for views of island hills.

Beinn Ime summit

Unlike Beinn Luibhean, which looks down on the Big Bend, the view from here is straight down the road to Loch Fyne and the bay at Inveraray.

Road to Loch Fyne

Cloud was still drifting around, giving very ghostly glimpses of the hills to the north.

Ghostly hills

The wind blowing quite strongly from that direction put me off attempting a descent to Butterbridge - I'd always rather come up unknown ground, anyway, and although I knew quite a few people had done it I hadn't had time to read their reports. I'm just generally not very brave! So instead I turned back towards Loch Lomond - Beinn Ime looked much more dramatic now than it had done climbing it.

Rocky ridges

From this side a path led onto the little lower summit, so I decided that I might as well visit it on the way down.

Lower summit

The path felt shorter in descent, and I managed not to lose it this time, but I didn't think I had time to drop down to the road and get to somewhere where the bus would stop for me, and stuck to the main path down past the Cobbler - much quieter now, although there were a few people still heading down, and three who passed me coming up with camping gear.

Down past the fence

The one really good thing that can be said about the Cobbler path is that it's a quick descent - from the fence at 5 I made it down to the road by about 10 past 6, in time to catch the earlier bus if I'd wanted to, although I didn't. The path round the head of the loch was showing signs of the recent storm which I hadn't stopped to look at in the morning, one tree down with its branches dangling over the path, and another behind it.

Fallen trees

I generally take a picture from the bridge when I walk over it, but this one makes Arrochar look far more highland than it really does - or maybe it does look like that and I just don't see it, because I know it's Only Arrochar, two miles from tourist-overrun Loch Lomond.

Loch Long from the bridge

For once I had plenty of time to walk right down to the Village Inn at the far end - it was worth the walk, with a good selection of beer, but I just always seem to be in a hurry. And then I just missed the bus from Oban, which came a couple of minutes early, but as the bus from Campbeltown was due 7 minutes later it didn't really matter, and the driver didn't charge me for the bit between Arrochar and Tarbet which wasn't covered by my ticket.

But my Munro tally has caught up, at least - I was perversely proud of the fact that since I started consciously collecting Munros I'd managed to collect more Corbetts and almost as many Grahams without intending to climb them at all!
Last edited by nigheandonn on Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beinn Ime by the Cobbler path

Postby yokehead » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:38 pm

Really enjoyed this, thanks, and brought back memories of my wonderful day on The Cobbler (I recall shouting a big 'yeehaaa' on the top, fortunately no poor folk around!) and Narnain. I have yet to visit Ime and Vane, I have a circuit planned for that.

I particularly like the description of your thought processes and planning at the beginning of your report, sounds as if that was nearly as long as the walk itself! :) :wink:

And the bus ploy meant you avoided the Arrochar car park charge which I understand has increased slightly recently. Are all of your trips done using train and bus?

All the best.
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Re: Beinn Ime by the Cobbler path

Postby nigheandonn » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:49 pm

Unless I'm wandering about Northumberland or the Borders with my best friend who has a car and likes driving, generally :) Timetables and itineraries and plans are half the fun for me - hence the indecision, which I left in mostly to amuse myself at a later date!

I took a friend up the Cobbler in the hope that we would encourage each other to the top, but we just discouraged each other instead - I still have that report to write. Some lovely shapes in those hills, though.

(I've been staying out of the car park row, because I'm not involved, but if the underlying issue is Argyll and Bute being - or feeling - expected to provide facilities for the much larger populations of Glasgow and its satellites, while they pay their council tax elsewhere, then I can see how trouble might appear.)
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Re: Beinn Ime by the Cobbler path

Postby malky_c » Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:47 pm

Complicated planning - I know the feeling, but have been driving more of late. It was a pretty good day - we did actually go up Binnein an Fhidhleir, which never quite went into the cloud. Beinn Ime looked good from there though.
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Re: Beinn Ime by the Cobbler path

Postby nigheandonn » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:47 pm

I do need to get up there, because I've loved the look of that ridge since long before I knew anything about hillwalking - Glen Croe and Glen Kinglas are the only place from my childhood journeys to Kintyre where you really go in among the hills.

I've always intended a traverse to Cairndow, but now you've got me wondering about going up from Abyssinia and really doing the whole ridge...
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