Beinn Ime & The Cobbler

  • January 2022

My My My What A Beautiful World.

Once again we have a one day opportunity of no rain and even more so no gale-force winds so as the saying goes make hay while the sun shines……

We were back up to The Arrochar Alps today and we were going to summit Beinn Ime, the highest of these mountains. This compact group of mountains are renowned for their steep, rugged and rocky nature.

Its been a while since we have been on this side of the Arrochar Alps and I was certainly looking forward to our day of hiking.   We were going to be undertaking the summit of Beinn Ime and depending on how the legs felt we might even squeeze in the famous Cobbler again, which is not a Munro but a Corbett, a very beautiful Corbett indeed and one of my favourite mountains….its not all about Munro’s.

I read that the first climbing group in Scotland, ‘the Cobbler Club’, was set up here in 1866 and it was this that helped the popularity of the area to soar which now has many classic routes.

We started our hike from Arrochar, through some woods on a loose stoney zig-zagging path.  It started of on a not to bad gradient which got progressively steeper the further up we went. 

There was also ice on this path so care needed to be taken.  Soon the trees were left behind and we were on to a more rugged and rocky path before reaching a wide and beautiful glen.

I forgot just how beautiful the hike up here actually was.   Even better we were hiking under blue skies and full sunshine, it almost felt like a summers day until you hit the icy patches or the icy wind hit you!  But there was no complaints today, it was January and it was pretty perfect.

We passed by the two giant blocks of rock known as the Narnain boulders which some of the early Glasgow climbers used to sleep under during the exploration of the Cobbler’s cliffs

Narnain Boulders

The Cobbler’s iconic peaks soon came into view after we pulled ourselves up steep-ish paths.  My reaction was similar to my reaction on the first time I saw this mountain….wow!  It is one stunning mountain of rock in all shapes and sizes.

Views of The Cobbler.

We continued to walk alongside the Allt a’Bhalachain burn which steadily took us up past the jagged ridge of The Cobbler to our left.  To our right we had the crags and outcrops of Beinn Narnain.  Then straight in front the huge bulk of Beinn Ime came into view.

Heading towards Beinn Ime along the icy path

We began our ascent up a broad and grassy slope. 

This ascent is a pretty long one, with almost four hundred metres to gain from the bealach to the trig point which sits at 1011m, but it looks worse than it actually is.

As we progressed upwards the grassy slope turned into icy steps, really thick icy steps so we had to continue up the hill on the grass to get some grip. 

Sheer ice ❄

We continued onwards and views were amazing. 

Before we knew it we were on to the rocky summit making our way to the cairn.  My my my what a beautiful world.  Although chilly at the top we lingered as this was a clear day and we had a brilliant panorama of summits to gaze over.

Views today from its 3,317ft summit was extensive and we could see out and over a range of jagged ridges, rocky buttresses and glens plunging down to Loch Lomand and the sea loch of Loch Long. 

Once we were finished taking it all in we headed quickly back down to the lower bealach between Beinn Narnain and the Cobbler to decide if we were going to head back the same route we had just undertaken or in fact detour up the steep stepped path to visit the summits of the Cobbler. 

She had me at the moment I set eyes on her…of course we were heading up the Cobbler!  I think no matter how tired my legs ever were up here I could not pass this beauty of a mountain without heading up her.

We climbed up the very steep, icy steps which actually didnt take us that long. 

The “flat shoulder’ with views of Bienn Ime in the background.

We hit a flat shoulder before climbing up some more until we were standing on top right beside the ‘needle’.  From here there are absolutely great views of The Cobblers strange rock architecture…its stunning.  This is the 3rd time I have climbed up here and every single time I love it more.

The Cobbler 💙

We climbed out to the central summits famous pinnacle to  ‘thread the needle’ by jumping across, climbing through a hole in the pinnacle before standing on its rocky peak which is actually the top of the hill whilst taking great care as the rocks were slippy due to ice.  We just sat there for some time enjoying the stillness and views across Loch Lomand, Loch Long and the Trossachs National Park.

Sitting in the ‘eye’ of The Needle, The Cobbler

Although cold, the evening was calm and it felt nice.

‘Threading the Needle’, enjoying the view.

From here we decided to take a different route down, getting in a circular.  This way was more off the beaten track taking us past some amazing pieces of rock with massive icicles hanging from them. 

It was slowish going as it was slippy but nice all the same.  The sun was starting to get low in the sky so we wanted to be off this section before nightfall and the rest we were happy to walk out in the dark.

Views of The Cobbler heading back out 💙

As the evening went on the better it became, it just got so calm and it felt peaceful. 

Views towards Loch Long and out to the sea.

It was that nice we sat and had the last of our coffee before making our way off the steep section, crossing a dodgy river just as darkness hit. 

Another beautiful sunset in the mountains.

We were then making our way down the rough, rocky, wet and at points icy path in darkness through the forest with head torches on which was really enjoyable.  The most amazing moon in the most beautiful clear sky guided us back towards our van. 

Not the best quality photo to show off the magic…
Arrochar 💙

Hope you enjoyed the short video 👆😁💙.

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