Walk of the week: Beinn Ime, Arrochar

BEINN IME is the highest of the Arrochar Alps, and from its 3,317ft summit you can look out over a range of jagged ridges, rocky buttresses and glens plunging down to sea lochs.

The area is synonymous with walking and climbing – the first climbing group in Scotland – the Cobbler Club – was set up here in 1866. Despite having only three members, it helped the popularity of the area to soar. By the 1930s, unemployed shipyard and factory workers from Glasgow flocked to the area (often by bicycle), sleeping under rocks and in rough bivouacs by night and pioneering many classic routes by day.

The Cobbler – or Ben Arthur, to give it its Sunday name – is passed on this route and can be ascended via a path just after the extra-large Narnain Boulders. You can then rejoin the route just before Bealach a'Mhaim. This iconic peak soon comes into view after you have pulled yourself up steep-ish paths through forestry, and a walk by Allt a'Bhalachain burn steadily takes you up past its jagged ridge, on the left, with the crags and outcrops of Beinn Narnain to the right.

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Then the huge bulk of Beinn Ime comes into view with an obvious, if boggy, path leading up to its rocky summit. Linger at the top – on a clear day, you will have a brilliant panorama of summits to gaze over.

After heading back down to Bealach a'Mhaim, you have three choices: 1) Return via the Cobbler – although the route up from near the Narnain Boulders is far more interesting; 2) Go over Beinn Narnain from Bealach a'Mhaim to bag another Munro – again, it is more interesting to ascend from the other side, and the descent this way is arduous; 3) Stride out and return the way you came, enjoying the view of the two mountains as you go.

Last week I went for option number three and left the extra toil to others – my excuse being that it was a very windy day with low cloud and mist.

Full mountain walking gear is needed for this route. There is a good path all the way to Bealach a'Mhaim, but after that it becomes boggy in places and can be hard to navigate in mist and low cloud. A map and compass are recommended.

DISTANCE 8 miles. HEIGHT CLIMBED 3,380ft. TIME 5-6 hours. MAP OS Landranger 56. PARK Turn left off the A83 about three quarters of a mile to the west of Arrochar, and park by the top of Loch Long. It is a pay and display car park and costs 1 for a day.

IN SUMMARY Go back to the car park entrance and go left for a few yards before crossing the A83 and joining a path on the other side, next to a large sign for Argyll Forest Park.

The path zig-zags up to a bench by a track, where you go left. After about 50 yards, go right, just before a telecommunications mast, and continue up a path with way-markers at the bottom. This leads through forestry land to the open hillside. Ignore a path going right near a dam in Allt a'Bhalachain, and continue straight ahead, towards the unmistakable outline of the Cobbler.

Once past the Narnain Boulders, ignore a path going left (unless you have decided to go up the Cobbler) and continue ahead. After you reach the choked-up Lochan a'Chlaidheimh, on the right, the path forks and you should go right.

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Around 200 yards further on, the path forks again. This time you should go left to reach Bealach a'Mhaim. Cross a small stile over a wire fence and continue up a boggy path, taking you straight up Beinn Ime's southern flank.

The final section is steep, before you bear left and walk a couple of hundred yards along the wide summit ridge to reach the top and its now-demolished trig point. Retrace your steps to return to the start of the walk.

REFRESH There are a number of places in Arrochar – including Ben Arthur's Bothy, which has a beer garden overlooking Loch Long. Or head for the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, further along the A83, beyond Cairndow, for a little bit of luxury.

WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Until the end of next month you can enjoy a boat trip across Loch Lomond from Tarbet to Rowardennan with Cruise Loch Lomond (01301 702356, www.cruiselochlomondltd.com).