Hiking “the Cobbler” (Ben Arthur) in Arrochar, Scotland

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The distance up the Cobbler is about 7 miles (that’s about 11km non-British guests) and the hill (Corbett) is 884 metres  / 2900ft tall.

To put that in perspective, Ben Lomond the most popular Munro is 990m / 3248ft and Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Britain, is 1344m /  4409ft.

The Cobbler is about 42 miles from Glasgow, 88 miles from Edinburgh, 58 miles from Oban by road. There’s a train station , “Arrochar  & Tarbet” which is about 2 miles walk from the start of the route up the Cobbler.

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The Cobbler is a very popular walk, part of the “Arrochar Alps”, and the route starts from the village of Succouth. The loch below is Loch Long. It’s easy to get to, has a good name and a very distinctive rugged outline. Given it’s popularity, the path is good. Initially, the path zig zags through woodland climbing to the base of the walk in to the hill.  The Cobbler has three peaks (one of these is only accessible by rock climbers), and bare rocky outcrops which were very popular with the workers from nearby Glasgow when rock climbing was being pioneered in Scotland in the early 1900s. During the walk in, you’ll spot some big boulders known as the “Narnain boulders” which provided shelter to those pioneering climbers and boulderers during multi-day trips and now provide some shade from the sun / shelter from the rain for walkers.

Scotland’s first climbing club was the Cobbler Club, founded in 1866.

When you reach a junction in the path near a lochan (a little lake), note that the path to the right leads to different mountains (Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain). If it’s the Cobbler you’re after, turn left, up the rocky steps.

At the summit, there are three peaks – one simple, one tall and rocky (the true summit) and one lower peak only accessible by rock climbing. Don’t risk it if you don’t have the necessary skills, weather and confidence.

To reach the true summit, you’ll need to crawl through a little hole in the rock and be comfortable with heights! This is known as “threading the needle”.

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The easiest descent is by the same route – the descent is rocky and can be slippery, extreme care must be taken as falls can be fatal.

The route took us about 4 hours, we turned back before reaching the top – reason? the weather changed suddenly from needing shorts to needing drysuits:-

Have a look a this checklist to find out what to pack and wear whilst walking in Scotland.

When you’re back at sea level, a great nearby viewpoint if you are in the area is the A83 “Rest and Be Thankful” (yes, that’s the area’s official name). The road is sometimes closed due to weather and is known for being subject to landslides. Oh, and there’s often a catering van up there to reward yourself for your efforts!

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Have you tried the Cobbler? Did you thread the needle and make it to the top? I need to know  what I’m missing out on!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Hiking “the Cobbler” (Ben Arthur) in Arrochar, Scotland

  1. Used to live in Dunoon so used to rock climb here regularly. It’s a lovely wee gem of a peak. Stayed in the cave in the corrie one winter, but got singed hair & beard when we changed the gaz stove inside & lit it, not realising the residue from the old canister was still around – BOOM but no real harm done, luckily. We used to go up from half way up the Rest & Be Thankful” (named because of the steepness of the old road in a horse & cart) – it’s a much quicker but steeper & rougher route.

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