The Cobbler, or Ben Arthur to give it its Sunday name, above Arrochar is one of the reasons Munro baggers can be at risk of missing out on some of Scotland’s best mountains.
The Victorians were the first here, followed by early twentieth century workers form the Clyde when they escaped the shipyards and factories of Glasgow for the Arrochar Alps – some on bicycle. Many slept in bivouacs under the rocks, such as the Narnain Boulders passed on the way up.
DISTANCE: 6½ miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED: 2950ft.
TIME: 4½ to 6 hours.
MAP: OS Landranger 56.
PARK: There is a car park at the top of Loch Long – turn left off the A83 about three quarters of a mile west of Arrochar. (£1 charge.)
WALK: Leave the car park and cross the busy A83. On the other side, follow a Forestry Commission path as it zigzags up to a track. Turn left and then right after about 50 yards, just before a telecommunications mast, on to another path. This continues up the wooded slopes, eventually passing the tree line and reaching a small dam on the left as a path joins from the right.
The path follows a burn – Allt a’ Bhalachain – on a more gentle gradient than the start and after about three-quarters of a mile reaches the Narnain Boulders.
A little further on the path forks. To the left is the direct, harder ascent. This route route goes right at the fork and continues to a wide bealach between The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain. At a junction go left, up a steep path which is stepped most of the way. Near the top the gradient eases and the path bears left to reach the main ridge.
The ridge is well worth exploring. The North Peak (to the left as you reach the ridge) looks the most dramatic at first glance and you can quite easily gain its top. The Central Peak has the highest point – a pinnacle at 2,891ft. To reach the top of this you need to crawl through a hole in the pinnacle and scramble up the other side. The views are just as good if you avoid this, however.
The easiest return is to retrace your steps.