926 m. |
Pronuncation: Ben Narnain
The Arrochar Alps: What a grand name and what a nice alliteration. Not a very British choice of name, though, because calling these hills “Alps” does not exhibit the typical attitude of understatement that goes with being British. But perhaps there is a certain amount of eye-blinking irony in the name? We’ll probably never know.
It was Saturday morning, 15 November 2015. Frank and I had eaten a healthy Scottish breakfast at the Cairndow Inn, driven to Succoth, parked the car there, packed our backpacks, laced our boots, set our altimeters and crossed the A83. Then off we went towards Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain. We had opted for the New Cobbler Path that gradually climbs into the Glen of the Allt a’ Bhalachain. The zigzags and the firm surface of the path made progress easy. Soon we crossed the Land Rover track and then reached the point where the path reaches the Allt a’ Bhalachains bed and turns right to climb more steeply towards a little dam or weir. There we got the first views of The Cobbler appearing from the mist and the clouds before us. A very nice hill. My thoughts went back to the time when I had climbed to its summit many years ago. That had been real fun.
The continuation towards the Bealach a’Mhaim was easy on a perfectly engineered mountain highway. I remembered that the last time I had been there together with Mike the upper section of the path had been in a very bad condition. But not now. Past the Narnain Boulders we climbed in a steady fashion. And very soon the path levelled out at about 650m. We had reached the Bealach a’Mhaim and continued across it towards Beinn Ime. The bealach and the first Munro were hidden in clouds but after a minute or so of taking the right bearing we soon reached the fence mentioned in the books, crossed it and followed the pretty obvious path up the rather featureless grassy slopes of Beinn Ime. We met a couple who had already been at the summit and exchanged a few friendly words on how it could have been worse had it rained.
At an altitude of about 900m the path coming from the craggy north-east ridge of Beinn Ime joined our own. The last 100m were quickly gained and very soon we reached the rocky summit of Beinn Ime. No views and a fresh wind greeted us at the cairn. As expected. But also no rain worth mentioning, which we thought was remarkable considering the time of the year.
Focussing our attention on Beinn Narnain now we returned to the Bealach a’Mhaim and picked up a path leading up the west ridge of Munro No. 2 of the day. Since I had done this hill in nice sunshine years ago my enthusiasm quickly evaporated and I decided not to climb another no-views summit and instead to wait for Frank’s return. Then suddenly the low clouds lifted for more than a moment and I finally saw the grassy cone of Beinn Ime and also got a nice view of The Cobbler’s north side and the summit which was easily recognizable since the sudden bright light also highlighted the hole in The Cobbler’s summit rocks which one needs to climb through to get to the summit. A very nice coincidence, indeed.
In no time Frank returned and informed me that there had also been quite acceptable views and photo opportunities at Beinn Narnain’s summit. The photo on this website shows some of the rock towers of Beinn Narnain’s craggy south-east ridge.
What was left of the hike was the easy walk back towards Succoth on the Cobbler path. With the weather having become better the longer the day wore on this was a very nice early afternoon stroll in late autumn. A perfect end to an easy day in the Arrochar Alps. (One day we will come back and climb Beinn Ime via Coiregrogain and the north-east ridge. But that will be another story, then.) For now, we reached our car in good shape, changed into more comfortable shoes and headed back towards Cairndow via the Rest and be Thankful. And that’s what we did and felt like during our ensuing afternoon nap at the Inn.
Max elevation: 1033 m
Min elevation: 7 m
Total climbing: 1180 m
Total descent: -397 m
Total time: 03:57:59
Description Beinn Narnain rises at the head of Loch Long directly opposite the village of Arrochar and only a short distance to the north-east of The Cobbler. It is recognisable by its flat summit and the steep crags of the Spearhead Buttress at the edge of the summit plateau. Beinn Ime is hidden behind Beinn Narnain in the view from Arrochar, but from other viewpoints, for example from Ben Lomond, it is well seen as the highest peak of the Arrochar Alps.Beinn Narnain is most usually climbed from the head of Loch Long directly up its south-east ridge. The traverse to Beinn Ime can be continued north-westwards down to the wide col called Bealach a' Mhaim and up easy grassy slopes to Beinn Ime. The return to Loch Long is best made down the Allt a' Bhalachain by a path which leads back to the head of Loch Long.There are two alternative shorter routes to Beinn Ime from the A93 road. One starts from Glen Croe and the other from near Butterbridge in Glen Kinglas.