DCSIMG

Walk of the week: Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain

A view from the Cobbler, in the Arrochar area. Picture: Bob Gardner

A view from the Cobbler, in the Arrochar area. Picture: Bob Gardner

  • by ROBIN HOWIE
 

The easiest approach to Bealach a’Mhaim, the three-sided broad saddle that separates Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain, starts one mile south of the Rest and Be Thankful and follows the Croe Water.

Other approaches are from Butterbridge, Coire Grogain, or via Ben Vane. However, as Brian had never been on the Succoth/Cobbler path, Jimbo and I were happy to oblige.

The most significant and craggy landmark in the Arrochar area is the 881m triple-peaked Cobbler, so it is ironic that 1011m/3317ft Beinn Ime, by far the highest peak, is the most crag-free and even has a pastoral name, butter hill. Butter used to be made at the high shieling pastures, hence Butterbridge and Buttermilk Burn (the Allt a’Bhalachain). Do not underestimate the more lowly 926m/3038ft Beinn Narnain whose name possibly comes from bhearnan, meaning notches or gaps. Rock-slope failure has left a 20m craggy prow, known as the Spearhead, close to the summit and the area below is riddled with caves and crevasses.

A friend, who understandably wishes to retain his anonymity, recounted an out-of-body experience on Narnain’s summit.

“The effort of climbing on a hot summer’s day had drained my strength and I struggled to find my water bottle. Draining the last of the tepid water, I gave thanks to God for my success. Then I heard a faint voice from above ….I am coming down. Instead of overheating, I was now in a cold sweat. I looked around. Nobody there. I had heard of delirium from dehydration but was God closer to me than I thought? Then out of the corner of my eye something flickered. Spinning around I was relieved to see the shape of a ghostly-quiet paraglider descending from above. His walkie talkie squawked to confirm that he was coming down. I relaxed. God didn’t want to see me just yet!”

THE ROUTE

The easiest approach to Bealach a’Mhaim, the three-sided broad saddle that separates Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain, starts one mile south of the Rest and Be Thankful and follows the Croe Water. Other approaches are from Butterbridge, Coire Grogain, or via Ben Vane. However, as Brian had never been on the Succoth/Cobbler path, Jimbo and I were happy to oblige.

The most significant and craggy landmark in the Arrochar area is the 881m triple-peaked Cobbler, so it is ironic that 1011m/3317ft Beinn Ime, by far the highest peak, is the most crag-free and even has a pastoral name, butter hill. Butter used to be made at the high shieling pastures, hence Butterbridge and Buttermilk Burn (the Allt a’Bhalachain). Do not underestimate the more lowly 926m/3038ft Beinn Narnain whose name possibly comes from bhearnan, meaning notches or gaps. Rock-slope failure has left a 20m craggy prow, known as the Spearhead, close to the summit and the area below is riddled with caves and crevasses.

A friend, who understandably wishes to retain his anonymity, recounted an out-of-body experience on Narnain’s summit.

“The effort of climbing on a hot summer’s day had drained my strength and I struggled to find my water bottle. Draining the last of the tepid water, I gave thanks to God for my success. Then I heard a faint voice from above ….I am coming down. Instead of overheating, I was now in a cold sweat. I looked around. Nobody there. I had heard of delirium from dehydration but was God closer to me than I thought? Then out of the corner of my eye something flickered. Spinning around I was relieved to see the shape of a ghostly-quiet paraglider descending from above. His walkie talkie squawked to confirm that he was coming down. I relaxed. God didn’t want to see me just yet!”

Map Ordnance Survey map 56, Loch Lomond

Distance 10 miles

Height 1300m

Terrain Path and grassy slopes

Start point Cobbler car park by A83 at head of Loch Long, map ref 294048

Time 6 to 7 hours

Nearest villages Arrochar and Tarbet

Refreshment spot Tarbet Hotel

 

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