The Cobbler - 884m
Sunday 21st October 2007

Weather/Conditions: Overcast at the bottom, and cloudy, windy at the top. Wind maximum at about 60 mph, and there was also a little rain. Above 2500 feet, visibility was about 20m-5m
Distance/Ascent/Time: 10km / 880m / 2h 40m
Accompanying: Solo

I was eager to do another hillwalk before the end of the October holidays. I'd initially planned to climb Beinn Narnain again, although in the car as my parents gave me a lift up, I decided that I would climb the Cobbler - again. I wasn't great at walking alone through mist safely so it was going to be easier to climb something I knew well.


We arrived in Arrochar at 1.15pm where I was dropped off at the Esso. After buying food for the afternoon I headed around the top of Loch Long, and began my way up the trail. (1.25pm) As soon as I began, I started to look for the old path, and saw it starting it's way up the hillside. I intended up use the proper path, although I really wanted to see what the old one had to offer. I just began walking that way, and before I knew it I was on the old stony path. I enjoyed it, though it was a little relentless.

Eventually I reached the road at about 300 feet. I turned left and would just join the new path, I couldn't see the old one anywhere. At this point I saw the first people walking the other way, and soon enough there were a lot more people about. Eventually I turned right up the zigzagging path. It was fairly tiring too, although I was enjoying myself enough. I was going at a pretty good speed, although I felt I was slacking a bit. However I actually wasn't and was at 1100 feet after thirty minutes of walking. I'd even managed to overtake a fair few folk on the way.

Having walked up into the valley, I was greeted with an impressive sight of the Cobbler. It was primarily in cloud, although I could see the jagged shapes jumping in and out of mist. Notably, the dam was also empty, which I had not seen before. I snapped a picture and went onwards. The walk through the valley was interesting enough and enjoyable. I held a strong pace upwards and had reached 2300 feet after only an hour on the mountain.

By this point, getting close to the top, I was being rained on and a wind had picked up. I was still walking up in jeans in a t-shirt. I had been quite hot before and was maintaining heat, however the wind was significantly cooling me, as it does. I gave up the t-shirt and paused to wrap up a little before heading on upwards.

Around 2600 feet the mist really set in and there was more wind. There was even a spot of rain, although I pushed on, seeing no one. It was like all the crowds had disappeared - in the valley there were many people but now I was completely alone and it seemed everyone had gone. I couldn't see a soul. Higher up, the mist set in very thick, and I began wondering if I could find my way down. I wasn't worried at all - I knew the route up like the back of my hand (whatever that looks like...) although the GPS map and compass were always still there in (unlikely) case.

I only met people just below the bealach. Visibility wasn't greater than ten metres but I could hear someone shouting above me. It was slightly unusual, but eventually passed me, saying it wasn't this windy when he was going up! In fact, it was windy, much windier than below, but that was fine. I was getting pretty damn high up after all.

I reached the bealach, carried on to the summit, tired and having the visibility going between twenty and five metres. It was only a matter of five minutes later that I stepped up to beside the pinnacle. I reached the summit at 2.55pm. That's 90 minutes up, almost to the minute, and it would give me 80 minutes to get back to the Esso Station. So the timing was spot on too, and I got some summit pictures, and observed the world around me. It was weirdly barren, but I felt comfortably at home. I would have wished to spend longer at the summit, as I knew I had to leave to be back on time. But not all things go your way all the time. Initially I sat against a rock at the summit, looking to the pinnacle before having another look around. I didn't go up to the pinnacle though, deeming it too dangerous this time around.


I decided to leave within minutes and began going down, but before I began the journey down, I had a look around the summit area. I continued on downwards, and met three people on their way up at 2500 feet. Asides that I didn't really see many people at all. The Cobbler was coming out of the clouds a bit now and it looked stunning. From 2000 feet I could see the three peaks, and although some cloud was brushing it, I could see it all, for once. Would have been great to be up there! Narnain was also impressive as clouds rolled off its' slopes - how badly I wanted to be up there! I took some pictures, filmed a little but finally decided the film doesn't do such incredible places justice. So I packed my stuff up and began walking once more.

Things got interesting at around 1000 feet where I met the guy who I saw coming down at the bealach. He was walking with his girlfriend/sister/wife (whichever one she was I'm not sure) and we started talking. He said he lived in London, (although his accent gave that away anyway) did Ben Lomond the day before, and had been to the Lake District and Norway climbing. By this point it was about quarter to 4, although I headed on alone and got to the bottom soon enough. (4.05pm)

I was about to spend the next ten minutes walking around the head of Loch Long, to the Petrol Station to meet mum and dad, as planned. But as I left the path, I looked over to see them in the car park, getting out the car! For being away for 2 and a half hours, what immaculate timing!

We then drove home, with several stops on the way. It turned out to be a successful day too, and I was happy with it as a last hill of the holidays.

Written (revised?): 2008-05-15