It’s official name is Ben Arthur but it’s commonly known as The Cobbler and it’s one of the best known walks in Scotland. I’d done the neighbouring hill, Beinn Narnain, last year mainly because Narnain is a munro and one of the party had done the Cobbler before. However The Cobbler had to be done. It had been recommended by too many people, not just for the walk up but for the last 10 metres or so – threading the needle.
Yet again we were lucky with the weather. Setting off from Succoth car park we climbed steadily via the excellent path. I say excellent…it’s also pretty dull as it zig zags back and forth. You gain height but it takes a while.
Once the zig zags stop you join an old tramway path which takes you gradually but continually ever higher until you get to the south face of The Cobbler. You have two choices here – a scrambly route up to the summit or continue on the path for a mile or so and take a stepped route up to the summit. We took the former which made for a more interesting ascent and a far easier descent down the steps.
The ascent was pretty straightforward although we did lose the path from time to time and some scrambling was required to get towards the summit. After two and a half hours we made it to the top and were rewarded with some great views over to Ben Lomond and down Loch Long. While we ate lunch we some a couple of others thread the needle. Decision made – it had to be done.
Now the photo above doesn’t make it look to hard but it’s a tight squeeze through a small gap and then a short climb up to the top. You have a ledge around a metre wide to climb up on. Doesn’t sound too bad but there’s a drop of 100-200ft below and the ledge slopes away from you.
That picture gives you a better idea of the slope and the drop. Getting up wasn’t too bad. Navigating back down was more tricky. Some of the drops starting playing tricks with the mind and you had to be careful as you inched back down. I would hate to have done this in the wet. In fact, I doubt I would have. I think the ledge would have been far too slippy. Spare a thought for Danny who was described as ‘humping the rock’ as he made his way back to firmer ground. Bless.
The gap in the rock you clamber through is called Argylls Eyeglass – I’m sitting in it in the photo above. Quite unique in my minor hill walking experience and a nice climax to the climb. It’s also worth noting that the walk was on May 9th and despite good temperatures at ground level it was well below freezing due to the wind at this height.
We descended quickly down the steps on the north face. Couldn’t believe how quickly we dropped – a far easier way down than retracing our steps. It was then a walk back to Succoth car park. We took just under five hours in total which included around 40 mins at the summit and quite a few stops.
One last point – it’s a very popular walk so it’s advisable to set off early as possible. We passed by lots of people on the way back to the car park and the summit was busy enough when we were at the top.
The Cobbler is a great walk, one of the best I’ve done so far, and it should not be overlooked just because it’s 100ft short of being classed as a munro. The paths are excellent and there’s the thrill of threading the needle at the end of the climb. Hopefully you’ll have as good a day as I did.
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