Beinn Ime - 1011m
The Cobbler - 884m

Wednesday 17th October 2007

Weather/Conditions: Four seasons in one day: Calm, wind, sun, hail, mist, rain, fog, bog, bog, more bog
Distance/Ascent/Time: 14km / 1250m / 6h 10m
Accompanying: Allan

A few days previously my cousin Allan had asked me if we could go hillwalking, maybe due to the fact he saw me coming off Beinn Narnain on the 26th August that same year, who knows? Allan got the train on the afternoon of the 16th and spent the night at mine. We had planned this so dad could go to work in Dumbarton for 9am, so we got up at 7am, left at 7.30am and arrived in Arrochar an hour later. Dad dropped us off at the Esso Garage at the north of Arrochar, and as he went off to work, I went to get some water, crisps and such. Allan and I walked on the pavement around the head of Loch Long and crossed over to start the path. (8.40am)

Ascent of Beinn Ime

We began at a good, fast pace, when I checked out the old path - only briefly though, at the time I was to still have a go at going up it. It was tough going on the path. Legs that have just woken up are not fun to drag up a hill, but nevertheless the fun higher on the hills makes it all worth it. In my opinion. We also passed an older guy who we later found out was doing the Cobbler and Beinn Luibhean.

We reached the dam at 9.20am, which means we covered 1000 vertical feet in about half an hour. That was quite a good pace, although we slowed down after then. We took our time over walking though the valley, although the Cobbler's summit was in dark cloud and soon after that, the water-bearing cloud moved over us. First there was a rainbow in front and then we proceeded to get soaked. I had a jacket on although I was wearing my jeans. I decided I'd change them at the Narnain boulders, but as I walked up the path they slowly got wetter and wetter. By the time we had reached the boulders the front of my jeans were sodden wet and it was only then that I decided to put on waterproof trousers! A bit late.

As we sat at the boulders the Cobbler-Luibhean guy overtook us, who we talked to briefly. He asked me "So which top of the Cobbler is the highest?" as if I'd just walked by and decided to climb a mountain. I don't remember what I said however it should have been something like "Well, on my 11th ascent of the Cobbler, I concluded..." Still he walked on and we left ten minutes after him. Funnily enough, later on I spotted him standing atop the Cobblers North Peak. Ha ha.

Anyhow, we continued going and turned right where the path splits, going through the valley towards Ime. It wasn't raining so heavily though and I couldn't feel the water on my jeans much anymore. It must have gone. Things were feeling good although I was anxious to see what the conditions were like on Ime. Mind you, cloud was being blasted across the side of Narnain so I didn't expect Ime to be clear at all.

When we did arrive at the bealach, cloud crawled its way along Ime at about 2500 feet. Well I had my GPS, we could use that to work our way through the cloud. Stupid me forgot a map and compass although I felt confident enough with the GPS. I hadn't been to Ime before and the path up is fairly hard to follow in mist, so having some sort of navigation made sense. We crossed the bealach to find several puddles, bits of mud that our feet sank into and other various problems. We did get across though, and we headed up the slope and into the cloud.

From a slightly higher vantage point the path seemed easy enough to follow down in mist, although I was growing concerned with the messages coming up on the GPS that told me Low Battery. Like I want to know that. I hadn't even brought batteries either. As we headed further up, the GPS screen began to fade and looking down showed us that the path was getting fainter. This was becoming a larger concern and after a while the screen on the GPS was basically gone. I was really stuck on whether to go up or down, but things were beyond me, I was out of depth and we decided to go down.

I felt a bit annoyed that we didn't make it up, but it's always going to be there and I'll try another time. Then after 100 feet of descent - the cloud cleared the sun came out and we could see all the way around us, and more importantly, we could see upwards! Suddenly our route became very clear, and the dull, cloudy landscape we'd been engulfed in before had disappeared. In no longer than a minute, things had flipped and now we were in sunlight.

I suppose it was because of this out spirits rose, and we turned around and ran up...for a while, and we eventually trudged slowly up the rest! It was good to finally see some sun, and although I wasn't sure how long it'd be there for, I decided to take the opportunity and we went up to Beinn Ime’s summit while we could.

We came upon a few false summits, but eventually the actual one (and I knew it was the actual one) was in sight. There was a bit of cloud up at the top but it wasn't a problem and it was nothing too bad. We walked onto the summit at 11.40am and the first thing I have to say is that it felt very, very airy. In fact it was quite incredible. The sun was out, of course, but there were incredible and fascinating cloudscapes swirling all around us. Before we were in the shade of the mountain, but up on this pointed summit, 50mph winds blasted their way up. Glen Croe was a long, long way below us, in the sense that it was so vertical. Clouds were getting pulled about above our heads, whisked over the mountain and sucked helplessly into the next valley. I stayed in the relative shade but I decided I'd need to get up and stand for some sort of summit picture - so I did, and feeling that exposed for the first time was nothing short of bloody incredible - it just felt like the world around me fell away so steeply that I was perched upon a point. However exhilarating, we left the summit soon after - I didn't want the cloud to close over again and leave ourselves feeling stuffed.

The Cobbler

I was quite anxious to leave the summit, as my priority was getting down safely. I wanted to at least get to the lower Ime slopes before any cloud set in. Going down was another bloody slog, and the angle of Ime’s east "ridge" (feels more like a wide open, bog-ridden face) made it tough on the knees. Not nice at all.

The ground was actually very boggy and water was getting into my boots. I stepped into a few too many marshes and my feet ended up wet. We were even planning to then do the Cobbler! It was wet all the way down to Bealach a' Mhaim (where we arrived at 12.20pm) and my feet got even damper. On top of that, my waterproof trousers were getting slightly shredded at the bottoms.

We then began climbing the side of the Cobbler, which was very tiring in itself. It wasn't as bad as I remember doing it after Beinn Narnain, but it did sometimes still get tiring. We reached the Cobbler 12.55pm. The summit was good and the weather was still clear! The one problem was it was windy. Annoyingly enough, the wind became strongest when I was approaching the pinnacle and I decided to pull away from it and the steep drops around about me.


Eventually we descended to the high bealach. We went down the east side of the mountain (steep side) and suddenly all was quiet - no more howling winds. I found a bit of flat ground and got my waterproofs off. After all, it was warm sunny day now and it became a pretty nice descent down. At 2000 feet I phoned home to arrange a lift back.

We did nothing much else than walk down to the dam where we caught up with the Cobbler-Luibhean guy. We talked again briefly about our routes although Allan and I eventually ended up going ahead at a faster pace.

The last 1000 feet were the most boring and consisted only of knee-jarring steps down the zigzagging path. Our feet were also wet which made things harder, but of course we kept going with it and finally got off the hill at 2.45pm. We walked to the Esso Garage (2.55pm) where we bought food. We sat outside eating until mum pulled up at 3.05pm and we jumped inside. We went home to Glasgow and we arrived home at 4.10pm.

Written: 2007-10-18
Edited: 2008-05-29