Up the Cobbler! (well, not quite right up)

Sunday was the day of the first expedition into the Scottish hills, for which initiation of the great walking enterprise was selected the famous Corbett of The Cobbler, which stands above Arrochar. It has one of the most dramatic skylines of any of the lesser mountains (being only 884m high), but surrounded by higher, if less dramatic summits in the Arrochar Alps. If you want to see what The Cobbler looks like, feel free to google for toggies.
Set off from the A83 at Glen Croe on the west side of the hill and ascended up a steep slope into the corrie proper, from which rose four different summits. Ben Arthur (the family name for The Cobbler) rises to one’s right, but the summit rocks are hidden from view for most of the climb. Once a dam across the stream is reached, the way climbs up steep, grassy banks along an ill-defined path for a thousand feet or so until the tourist path is gained a hundred feet below the South Peak. By this time the North Peak is standing up above the saddle between the peaks a hundred feet or so below. The final approach to the summit opens up the whole view across to Ben Lomond, the mountains to the north and east and south down the Clyde to the Isle of Arran and as far as Ailsa Craig. The country’s nuclear deterrent at Faslane and in the bunkers at Glen Douglas are also clearly visible, a strange contrast to the wilderness around.
The actual top of The Cobbler is on top of a precariously-balanced stack of rocks which is only accessible by climbing through a window onto a ledge fifty feet above the ground and then scrambling up the rock to gain the top, which is VERY exposed and only about two metres across. I had a go at getting most of the way, including climbing up off the ledge, but bottled out of the climb onto the topmost point, mainly because the wind was blowing a hoolie and I’m a wimp anyway. So, for the purposes of bagging Corbetts, this ascent doesn’t really quite count.
The visibility was excellent, if a little hazy, but the air was cold and moving past very quickly, so it felt freezing on top of the hill itself. Back down to the bealach below Beinn Narnain and straight on down the stream to the car. A fine day out.


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