As a father of a 1.5 year old, It`s not often I find time to go for a long wander. And when my wife and the little fellow went to visit her parents for a week, I thankfully took to opportunity to add 2 munros to my very humble list. I was starting a new job after the weekend, so decided to leave my then current job a day early and go on an adventure with my trusty dog, Bodhi.
I woke up a very confused Bodhi, at 5 in the morning and set off for Arrochar. Bodhi is a rescue dog and is most likely a mix of collie, lab and lurcher. (Although your guess is as good as mine). This gives him the interesting temperament of being full of energy and at the same time a couch potato. However he loves exploring. And thanks to him I found a love in being outdoors and away from it all.
Having only done one munro, Ben Lomond, which follows an easy to follow track to the top, I was a bit nervous about going slightly off track. But I had studied the route, downloaded GPX file to my phone and read most of the reports. So as I arrived, with only a few clouds in the sky, I was feeling confident.
When I arrived Loch long was looking very pretty in the early morning sun. I quickly stuffed a croissant in my mouth, got Bodhi ready and walked into the wild.
I followed the track for about 5 seconds, veered of the right and followed the little stream through the trees. By this time I had led Bodhi off the lead and he was bouncing about, not knowing there was still a lot of ground to cover. It’s not really a path that I followed, but more a stream with from time to time a concrete blog. And it goes straight up! Quite early on I was huffing and puffing and feeling a bit anxious about my current physical condition. Dragging myself higher, I promised myself to instead of sinking in the couch once the little fellow is put to bed, to go for a run.
But the views over Loch Long and towards the Cobbler were awesome.
As I climbed higher, clouds followed me and overtook me. They looked like a river flowing up. The Cobbler disappeared and soon I was surrounded by fog. I presumed as long as I was going uphill, I was going in the right directing.
A few scrambles required me to pull Bodhi up and both us of were having a good time. I do quite enjoy the camaraderie that has grown between us, which most dog owners can relate to.
Walking with a collie of lead does keep you on your toes. A retired shepherd ones told me, "Bodhi has a great herding instinct but whatever else is in him, **** him up." I wasn’t sure what he was talking about at the time but over time have discovered that Bodhi cannot stand it if sheep are not grouped. I don`t trust his recall once he is on a mission to rectify this, so I kept a close eye out for them. Climbing up I managed to get him on the lead each time we encountered sheep, and Bodhi reluctantly followed up.
Once to the top of Beinn Narnain, the clouds had lifted. The views around us were imposing. Chilly as it was, I found recluse in the cairn, ate shortbread and threw salami pieces at Bodhi.
Climbing down to the summit of Beinn Ime a little bit was the easy part but going up Beinn Ime was tough. Not seeing any path, I went in a straight line up which turned out to be annoyingly boggy for most of climb. I was exhausted when I could finally ring the bell at the top. And again amazing views.
Going down I was wondering whether I could manage to do the Cobbler as well. But as I saw the ascend I had to do to reach the top, I decided to do this some other day, and went on my merry way down.
So far I had only seen one person, when going down Beinn Narnain. He had greeted Bodhi enthusiastically. I however was barely got acknowledged. Most likely this person, just like me, wanted to enjoy some solitude.
As I walked down along a now well established path, I met more and more people. Hill walkers, whether this is become they are a certain type of people or whether they welcome a little break by petting any random dog that comes along as an excuse, adore Bodhi. He is very well aware of this and will race up to anybody with a big loopy grin. At some point he was surrounded by 5 girls all commenting on what a lovely dog he was. When I urged Bodhi to come along, some of them even gave me resentful look.
As we descending the clouds disappeared and I was becoming quite hot. This easy walk downhill was a good calm down and I smiled at the people struggling going up, telling them they were almost there. I stopped briefly to do a bit of bouldering on one of the Narnain boulders. But I couldn’t get enough grip with my boots and didn’t feel like going barefoot. Maybe next time I ll bring my climbing shoes as well.
Near the bottom of the path there is a small weir where I ate the last of my food. I looked back at the Cobbler and decided this would be my next walk.
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