Magical Mountains & Midgies

  • Saturday 9th June 2018
  • Schiehallion

Today’s activity was hiking Schiehallion which translates as ‘fairy hill of the Caledonians’. There is a famous cave at the foot of this mountain where tradition has it fairies love to dwell.

Schiehallion is a prominent mountain in Perth and Kinross and is one of Scotland’s best known hills. As well as having interesting archaeology it also has a unique place in scientific history for an 18th century experiment in ‘weighing the world’.

Contour lines were actually invented on this very mountain as part of an experiment to determine the mass of the earth…surely between that and the fairies we have good enough reason to climb this Munro.

So on this fine summer’s day we began the climb. The walk was short and easy on an excellent path.

As the path worked its way up and onto the lower part of the ridge, excellent views could already be seen across Loch Tummel.

As we reached the top of the ridge the terrain became tougher with masses of boulders to be crossed, this went on for what seemed like forever until we hit the summit!

The views were amazing, extremely extensive and breathtakingly beautiful.

We could even see Rannoch Moor to the peaks of Glencoe were we wild camped the previous week…it was truly stunning.

The day was glorious at the summit so the boots came off, and the picnic came out and we basked right there in the sun on this beautiful Munro.

I never got to witness the fairies but I certainly was enchanted by this mountain and the views.

  • Sunday 10th June 2018
  • Beinn Narnain & The Cobbler

So the main mountain we had in mind today was Beinn Narnain in the Southern Highlands of Scotland, near Arrochar.

It sits in the compact group of mountains known as the Arrochar Alps which are renowned for their steep, rugged and rocky nature.

Beinn Narnain has a tough and rocky character and I have read that the views – especially of the nearby Cobbler – are excellent.

So off we went.

There was no hiding from the fact that the climb up Beinn Narnain was direct with little deviation. It began by following a wide track for a short distance before a small path heads off at a right angle into the trees.

This direct route follows a line of concrete blocks which once supported a cable railway which was used during the construction of a dam on Allt Sugach.

It was a steep tough climb through rocky almost gorge like terrain.

Once we got up to the upper section we could see ‘the spearhead’, a rock-slope failure has left this 20m craggy buttress and from where we were standing, it looked impassable.

When we moved further up we could see a faint path wind between the rocks to a short gully to access the summit.

There was several scrambling sections, which provided an enjoyable experience (and the arm held up).

The day was glorious, the views at the summit were spectacular, once again the weather was on our side.

We had a 360 degree view of nature at its best, mountains and greenery surrounded us.

On days that are tough, when your having that difficult climb, when your not feeling 100%, you ask yourself why am I doing this. Then you reach such beauty like this that words cannot describe, pictures cannot do just and it all makes sense…this is the reason why.

We take it all in viewing everything around us and so so far into the distance…it just goes on and on and on.

Again we didnt want the day to end here so we decided to make it a longer day by dropping down to the Bealach a’ Mhaim, a three sided bealach with other ridges leading to The Cobbler and Beinn Ime. We decided on The Cobbler.

So Ben Arthur, more commonly known as The Cobbler is perhaps the only mountain that outshines the higher tops around it thanks to the dramatic arrangement of the cliffs, crags and outcrops on the summit.

It probably has the most distinctive outline of any mountain in the Southern Highlands. It’s unusual rocky top is considered to represent a cobbler and his last.

The Cobbler was a stunning mountain to climb and although technically overshadowed by the higher Munros it did have in my opinion the undisputed best views with a fantastic outlook back to Loch Long and far beyond, the view from atop is right up there with some of the best I’ve seen in Scotland.

There are two summits to explore. We cross over to the main summit and it’s interesting pinnacle, an isolated tower of rock that provides just one way to ascend to the top – by threading the needle – this involves crawling through a hole in the rocks (Argyll’s Eyeglass) onto a narrow ledge then scrambling up to an exposed rock.

We then head over to the great overhanging North Peak summit. From these dramatic rockforms the views are stunning. We can see across to Loch Lomand and Ben Lomand, Loch Long, Loch Tyne and out to the Isle of Bute.

It was rugged and rocky, and it’s views stretched all the way towards the horizon. I could sit there forever soaking up the beauty.

But all good things must come to an end so we started to head downwards on a different route which involved again a lot of scrambling.

We eventually got to more even ground and came across the famous Narnain boulders which are these massive rocks.

These were used as sleeping shelters or howffs by groups of climbers who would spend all their spare time climbing and did not have the resources for accommodation. Now they make a pleasant stopping point, shady shelter in a hot day or from the rain.

It’s been a stunning day and after walking for almost 8 hours solid our day was coming to an end, but what a day!

And just before the day did come to an end…the famous Scottish midgies made their appearance for the first time this year!! Just great!!

As we drove back home passing through Stirlingshire the sun was going down slowly, the colours in the landscapes, truly awe- inspiring.

(Stirling Castle)

(Wallace’s Monument)

(A wooden man)

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Alice Reid says:

    Gorgeous scenery Mary., Andy is a superb photographer but Looked a bit dicey in places.😬

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  2. Lol…ok I will give him credit for most of these ones!! We were very safe. Stunning scenery though eh just goes to show you don’t always have to travel too far to see beautiful sights…sometimes the best is right there on your doorstep xxx

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  3. Helena Brogan says:

    Beautiful views and scenery as usual Mary. You’re certainly a fit lady!! (In the truest sense) Makes me feel like a beached whale! The weather on your side again … although the gathering of the grey clouds looked dramatic too. Alan and I do enjoy reading your blogs and looking at the lovely views. Love to all the family. Lena xx

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    1. Scenery is so nice isn’t it…those clouds looked worse in the pictures than what they actually were. Re the fitness, let’s just say it’s not always easy but as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other you eventually get there and it’s worth the effort when you get to the top…that’s what I tell myself anyway! X

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  4. Theresa Skelhorn says:

    Hi Mary enjoying seeing more amazing scenery and glad the good weather continues. A great way to spend a weekend outdoors, interested to know what walking boots you wear especially for scrambling over the rocks. I will be up in Scotland towards end of July so I am hoping the good weather continues. Love Theresa xx

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