Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) 26 August 2007

Hilary and I accompanied Vanessa over to Loch Long on Sunday to do the final stage of her birthday present, which was a dry suit diving course (essential if she wants to do any diving in chilly Scottish waters). Ruairidh had a rehearsal with his band, so stayed behind.

Once we'd dropped her off and left her amid a pile of air tanks, Hilary and I headed for Arrochar, whence we climbed The Cobbler (aka Ben Arthur). We'd already ticked off all the "Arrochar Alps" Munros in the area, but although we'd tried to do The Cobbler when we lived in Stirling, we'd never had the weather. Well, on Sunday we had the weather, we made the climb, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The Cobbler is just a great mountain. Never mind that it's only a Corbett (though a fairly tall one). It's not only a spectacular hill to look at (because of its skyline - see picture above), it's a great one to look from. Probably the best view of Ben Lomond to be had anywhere, and plenty of more distant things, along with a birds-eye view of Loch Long. Oh yes, birds: several ravens croaked a welcome for us. (And while we were having a pre-climb bacon roll in Arrochar, we'd noticed that the birds flying just outside, over the loch, were gannets: much the closest to shore I've ever seen them.)

There was a very large (40-odd) party climbing The Cobbler on Sunday, who turned out to be with a chap celebrating his 75th birthday. He'd been up around a hundred times, he thought, and it was his dog's thirteenth ascent. Much champagne was being consumed at the top, or more pedantically on the summit ridge which links the three summits.

I couldn't be bothered doing the North top (too hot, and The Cobbler is a very steep climb, being 880-odd meters and climbed from sea level in about three horizontal miles), though Hilary did. (That's the one on the right in the top picture above.) The South Top is a difficult scramble and nobody seems to bother much with it except rock climbers. The central, and highest, top is however great fun, not just a scramble but a sort of hilltop adventure playground. To get to the top, you have to clamber across a gap into a hole in the rock (The Window), which you crawl through and out the other side. There you find a ledge which you climb along, before reaching a point where you have to turn round and start doing proper climbing - searching for holds, bridging across a gap - for a couple of moves. Then up a slab to the top. Then reverse the whole lot back down again. Hugely enjoyable.

Down to the loch to meet Vanessa at the Village Inn in Arrochar, where she and the rest of the divers were doing their log books. A nice (if very busy) pub with a decent selection of beers. What more could we want? (Well, apart from slightly less traffic on the way back to Glasgow.)

I've posted a few of Hilary's pictures. Below are a couple from http://www.sub3000.com/ which nicely show the main summit: first someone crawling though the "window", then someone who has just come out of it and is moving along the ledge.


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