Beinn Narnain - 926m
Monday 11th August 2008

Weather/Conditions: Sun and cloud everywhere but on the was half nice in Arrochar but above 2000 feet it was 5m visibility, stinging and numbing rain and caught up in dull cloud.
Accompanying: Solo

Train North and the walk to Arrochar

Back to the old hills again... well just the one. This time I was up Beinn Narnain for the 5th time - that's nothing special and it's all been done before but it made for a fulfilling day. I took the train from Queen Street as it wound it's way north via. the West Highland Line. I was surprisingly unbothered about it all and everything was going smoothly - a sharp contrast to a year before taking the train to Fort William to climb Nevis. It arrived in Arrochar after a bloody long time (so it felt) and I began to negotiate my way to Arrochar, preferably using forestry paths around Cruach Tairbeirt than taking the road. It turned out that the way to Arrochar was well sign posted and I had a nice time walking.

During this time I was beginning to think to myself, why not just go up Cruach Tairbeirt? Everything on this side of the loch was under sun or some light, high cloud. On the opposite side of Arrochar, the hills were under a thick, gloomy coat of cloud. But I was alone and I'd told everyone I was on Narnain. Better not chance things - I'd head up and see how things went.

Beinn Narnain

I dropped down into Arrochar and headed around the top of the loch, starting from Succoth. I took the winding path up into the hanging valley above and although I wasn't reeling with excitement now I'd go on and see how things went. I couldn't be bothered going particularly fast and kept the pace slightly relaxed, although I was in the valley soon enough and headed up past the Narnain Boulders and up and into the cloud. There were no views but I'd seen the Cobbler enough in the past, I was just intent on reaching 2000 feet. Around this point my heels were rubbing and I stopped where the path forks to head up the back of the Cobbler. I was right on the edge of cloud, so no views from this point on, probably.

Continuing onwards I went into the mist, I couldn't see more than 10 metres and it was all the usual middle of cloud stuff. Mum gave me a phone and for the first time on Narnain I'd managed to keep to a path - I always seem to loose it but it provided some reassurance in the low cloud. It took a lot of work and 1000 feet of 'can't-see-a-fricken-thing' although I realised after a while I must be getting near. The ground roughened and visibility was getting nothing better than 5 metres so it seemed like I was on the boulders that lead to the summit plateau.

I came upon a plateau but it was a cairn I'd found - it was odd, I'd never seen a cairn before here. I must be at the western end of the plateau and from here I'd head east and (hopefully) come upon the summit trig point. I'd only taken a few steps when the trig point came into view through the murk. It was 4.15 pm and I was on top of Narnain for the 5th time.

Descent and back to Glasgow

I stayed around for a bit and took a couple of pictures, yet as I left the rain picked up and it accompanied me all the way down the first one thousand feet. It was that crap stinging rain, the numbing stuff, it soaked everything. As I approached the Bealach a' Mhaim I began to lose bearing and the GPS briefly came out. The cloud cleared momentarily for me to get my bearings and off I shot down the valley towards Arrochar. I stopped at the dam for a bit of relaxation and the rain had gone off. I was glad to be out of the murky, thick cloud, but as I'd expected the hills east of Loch Long were in sunshine. Dammit, they really would have made for a nice day AND would have given me a few new hills to climb. Nevermind - Narnains good enough for me.

For a bit of variation, I headed down to Arrochar via. the old straight path, though it had turned into a river with recent torrential rainfall. The slabs needed some care but all was fine. A few rain showers pushed through from the south although there was nothing more than a small piddle of rain. I was down pretty quickly and mum phoned at the bottom. I had two hours to wait for the train but that'd be fine. I headed around to the Ben Arthur Bothy in Arrochar, the usual stop and got myself a beef burger and chips. It was a pretty nice place, and it padded out the time too. I must have been in there for about an hour.

With forty or so minutes until the trains arrival, I headed out of Arrochar and took the discreet path up onto the side of Cruach Tairbeirt. Over the ups and downs on the track I left absolutely spent, drained of energy with and aching feet. But it's a good ache, isn't it...? I arrived at the station with ten minutes to spare and got into the small huts there just as the rain became absolutely torrential.

The train came in as expected and I was off back to Glasgow. It was nice in the train and pretty eventful, I enjoyed it. I came into Queen Street at 9.30 pm (although might have been a little late) and met mum there, after that going home. And it all took just over nine hours - I was pretty pleased with myself!

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 12.20pm Train left
(1.20) 1.40pm Arrived in Tarbert
(1.55) 2.15pm Started at Succoth
(2.30) 2.50pm 1100 feet
(3.10) 3.30pm 2000 feet
(3.55) 4.15pm Beinn Narnain
(4.10) 4.30pm Beinn Narnain (left)
(5.50) 6.10pm Back at Succoth
(7.50) 8.10pm Train back
(9.10) 9.30pm Back in Glasgow

Written: 2008-08-12
Edited: 2009-03-12