Beinn Narnain


Sunday February 1st

The silhouette of the Cobbler is the most significant landmark from Tarbet and Arrochar.

Without doubt it's the most dramatic Arrochar hill, a magnet for rock-climbers in summer, so we agreed that it wasn't today's destination!
We chose an easy alternative, Beinn Narnain; an old favourite - especially in winter - offering us as challenging a day as desired.

Despite familiarity, the grass covered lower slopes don't get any easier.
We made a beeline for the nearest snow tongue, anything to ease the toil up the grass.
We pitied the climber of a day or two before us who didn't have firm snow...
Our snow was in good condition and we donned crampons straight away, which is unusual as we normally wait until we have slithered about then choose the most precarious position to put them on!
We gained height rapidly.
No step cutting, it was all crampon work.
After early morning low cloud the weather was starting to look good.
Loch Long sparkled below as long shafts of winter sun pierced through the clouds.

It would be foolish to underestimate Beinn Narnain as just a wee hill next to the dramatic craggy Cobbler!

It holds a few surprises or delights - depends on your psyche!
We entered the area below its geologically interesting south-east ridge.
Rock slope failure is common in the Southern Highlands, shaping many summit ridges. A large part of Beinn Narnain's plateau has had such failure, and a rocky prow, known as Spearhead Ridge is not far from the summit trig point. The area below is riddled with boulders, crevasses and subterranean routes and should be explored only with care.

Spearhead Arete, about 150 feet long, is the line up the nose of the ridge; Jamblock Chimney is the deep chimney, left of which is the really narrow Restricted Crack.

All great wee routes.
Taking care amongst the boulders we plodded ever upwards toward the summit plateau.
Eventually we topped out - views exceeded expectations.
Beinn Ime invited a visit.

All day the cloud had lifted & descended, only to lift again.
Would we be lucky?
The Cobbler's 'elephant' was viewed from Narnain's summit.
It's a classic mimeolith.
The clouds remained high and we made good speed down to Bealach a' Mhaim, the Cobbler slipping away behind us. The Elephant didn't move off the top.
Why the rickety locked gate?
It's a wide col, no animals present and has a broken down fence; must be a reason, we can only guess!
Dee & Roni decided to head back to the car. Andy romped up the slope and Bill struggled on behind him.

 Bad luck, sod's law, call it what you like - the weather closed in and they had a tussle right on the summit.
A proper whiteout.
It was cold enough for the moisture on Bill's jacket to freeze - not a place to linger.
It's always a worry heading off a summit in such conditions, always trust the compass!
It was a fast descent, hot coffee in the Inverbeg beckoned!

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