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Cnoc Cnoc, I'm Brack

Cnoc Cnoc, I'm Brack

Postby Boris_the_Bold » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:18 pm

Route description: The Brack and Cnoc Còinnich , Ardgartan

Corbetts included on this walk: Cnoc Coinnich, The Brack

Date walked: 16/08/2020

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 1250m

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This was Day_1 of a 6-day holiday (?) walking the Cowal Way between Arrochar and Tignabruaich with my wife and adult son, during which I managed to sneak up a total of 4 great Corbetts along the way. I'll provide links to my walk reports for the other two Corbetts (Ben Donich on Day_2 and Beinn Bheula on Day_3) and a summary of the full 6-day Cowal Way walk, when I have had time to produce these (and remember how to insert links).

We had spend the Saturday night in Arrochar, to give us a nice relaxing start on the Sunday, but the fact that we then didn't manage to get to the main Arrochar car park until 11:00 suggests we might have been a bit too relaxed?. Needless to say there were no parking spaces left, apart from the two by the EV charger (which is a great incentive to make sure my next car is electric, btw!), so we had to abandon the plan for the 3 of us to walk to Ardgartan together and instead just my son and I set off together, while my wife took the car to the (much-less-busy) car park in Argartan and waited to meet us there.
My next car will be electric!

A quick 15-minute there-and-back diversion to tick off the connection with the 3 Lochs Way (which I walked a couple of years ago) and we were then back at the car park and properly on our way, with great views down Loch Long.

Junction with the 3 Lochs Way

More ascent (and fewer waymarkers) that I was expecting, followed by a very pleasant walk through the woods to reach Glen Croe and nice views of the Cobbler, before dropping down to cross the A83 at the Ardgartan Visitor Centre, for an emotional family reunion. The three of us then had some more pleasant walking along the road through the woods to reach the car park by the mountain bike trails at Coilessan.

Needless to say, if you are not 'bagging' long distance paths, this would be a much-more-sensible starting point for these two Corbetts, but what's an extra hour or two here or there, if it means you get to colour in another section of a long distance path on the WH website!

She-who-must-be-adored turned back at this point, to spend a lot of the rest of her day in the queue for the 1-way convoy system on the Old Military Road up to the Rest and be Thankful), while my favourite son (MFS) and I headed up the forest track, past a cool rowan tree growing out of a rock and, just before we got bored walking uphill through forest, popped out of the wood by a stile & gate into a slightly-boggy 'field', with a final little push up to the waymarker and cairn marking the highest point of the Cowal Way. We stopped to have a quick chat with three mountain-bikers who were coming the other way and who gave the impression that whichever one of them had thought this was a good idea had had to listen to a lot of abuse from the other two that morning and probably would for several days to come.

Caught between a rock and a hard palce

The Brack of Beyond ? Cairn marking the highest point on the CW

Despite various bribes and a bit of emotional blackmail from me, MFS reckoned he'd had enough uphill for one day, so after a bite of lunch and an emotional farewell (??), he continued along the Cowal Way west towards Lochgoilhead, while I set off south, across slightly boggy ground (and no obvious path) before climbing fairly steep but straightforward grassy slopes onto the skyline and a steady traversing predominantly-grassy climb (past an unusual little circle of pure white quartz) and on to the summit of Cnoc Coinnich, whose big cairn was trying to hide in the mist at the top of a decent-sized crag.
Summit of Cnoc Coinnich

I then quickly (??) retraced my steps back down to the high-point of the Cowal Way, convinced myself that the fun of colouring in two Corbetts on one day was worth the pain and set off north towards the (impressively-steep and craggy) The Brack. A faint path led me past/below the eastern side of the two 577m bumps, before apparently losing interest in reaching the summit and continuing across TB's grassy western slopes, so I eventually branched off it up the very steep grassy slopes (where a little swarmlet of midges appeared briefly, checked me out, decided to let me live and disappeared again) and eventually (after more effort that I really needed at that point in the afternoon!) I reached the summit trig point, with its stunning views of Ben Donich, the Cobbler and the A83 land-slip.
Summit of The Brack

The A83 Land-slip

I am also going to claim to have seen two golden eagles on the way up, one took off from the hillside and the other was circling near the summit, but I didn't manage to get any photos (and neither were carrying hobbits), so I can't prove that they weren't just big ravens pretending to be eagles. Has anyone else seen any eagles hanging out round The Brack recently?

it was all downhill from there, back down to the Cowal Way high-point cairn for the 3rd time, a lovely walk along the 500m contour across the saddle (with stunning late afternoon views out to the west to the long knobbly ridge that lies between Lochgoilhead and Strachur (on Loch Fyne), a steep, muddy drop down the grassy hillside to the forest (which I bet the 3 mountain-bikers I'd met earlier had really enjoyed!), and a decent path following the Cowal waymarkers (and occasional white ribbons) down through the woods to a big footbridge, close to a shy (but pretty) waterfall) and on down and down past a shy (but pretty) red squirrel to reach the edge of Loch Goil in the middle of the village, close to the Goil Inn and then a VERY inefficient route following the Cowal waymarkers on a merry dance through the village and round the golf course to the footbridge that I could have reached 15 minutes earlier if I had bothered to look at my map!) and on to the Drimsynie House hotel for another emotional family reunion, a well-earned evening of beer and comfort food and an early night.
View to the west, beyond Lochgoilhead

All-in-all, an excellent walk, but NOT the most efficient way to climb these two most-excellent Corbetts!

Watch this space for links to further instalments of TheBold family's summer adventure 2020.

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