The Cobbler - 884m
The Cobbler North Peak - 870m

Wednesday 17th August 2011

Weather/Conditions: Summery weather with rain on the summits. Not too bad, all included...
Distance/Ascent/Time: 10.5km / 950m / 5h 45m
Accompanying: Sam, Ali and Calum

The Cobbler, again!

Sam Munro was planning the Cobbler with her little cousin Ali, who was coming up from England. (I don't remember where - Manchester?) Sam's workmate Calum also came along and I dropped in at the last minute.

I had thought about travelling up with Sam, but driving myself would be good practice, after all. I was still quite anxious when driving on the fast roads, (I've lost count of the near misses I've seen on the A82) but took Steve's car for the day and decided to give it a go.

Then I managed to leave home late and I wasn't happy from then on! Driving under pressure is never a good thing, let alone your first time on that kind of road. In Arrochar, I stopped by to the Esso for snacks and drove around to the car park. I was ten minutes late, but Sam and company were nowhere to be seen. I waited around, but decided to start walking. If nothing else, going for a walk would calm the nerves I'd built up on the drive. It seems ridiculous that driving should seem stressful, but I suppose I had to go out my comfort zone some time. I guessed that I'd meet Sam and co. en route, and as predicted I found them about 150 metres up the path.

The rest of the day went without incident or antics, and the weather cooperated as we walked past the dam and up to the Narnain Boulders. I thought it was nice that Sam should take her cousin up such a mountain, since there's nothing to rival it for miles. But I clearly noticed that for this popularity, the trail suffers and the amount of litter was disappointing. Someone needs to go up there with some bin bags. The Narnain Boulders are especially bad: there are bags full of junk, a piece of carpet, banana skins...

We had lunch at the Boulders then plodded onward to the summit. Sam and I caught up with life, we talked about my future plans. Then, at the bealach below the North Peak, our attention was diverted to the hill. We wanted to see Ali onto the summit pinnacle, but with big rain showers advancing from the west, the wet rock may make it impossible.

Pinnacles and Peaks

I rushed up to the summit and in the end made it up the pinnacle several times. And of course, we saw Ali up too. The tap turned on as we left. Contrary to my old fears of the summit pinnacle, I was now able to climb the Cobbler - to the very top - without fear of the drop: as it turns out, the exposure is never really the issue, because if you trust your hands more than your fear, then there's no reason to fall. That's all very well for climbs within my limit, though!

We climbed the North Peak which was some fun on damp rock. We descended by the north path toward Bealach a' Mhaim, where we got chatting to some woman who ended up asking about the surrounding hills. Sam and I ended up showing them how Beinn Ime and Ben Vane on the map related to the mountains in front of us, which led to them asking "Are you guides?". A quick denial followed from both of us, but it's nice of them to ask!

And thus a long walk back to the car followed. I drove home feeling tired, and unlike on the drive up, was too knackered to worry about frayed nerves. The driving malarky sorted itself out in the long run: a few weeks later I drove to Tyndrum without issue. It's funny how these things go around.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 10.45am Car park, Loch Long
(2.50) 1.35pm The Cobbler
(3.05) 1.50pm The Cobbler (left)
(3.30) 2.15pm North Peak
(5.45) 4.30pm Car park, Loch Long

Written: 2011-10-24