Aug 30th, 2015
R and I climbed the Cobbler today. We actually tried it back in February, but the weather was so totally foul that we gave up on it.
I got up at 6am to make a picnic and some coffee and we were out the door before 7am – reason for this was two-fold – firstly the weather was supposed to be better first thing, and secondly I had a feeling that there would be a lot of people on this particular mountain today (bank holiday weekend, last Sunday of summer, not actually pouring with rain etc.).
We were parking in Arrochar at 7:20am and set off on the climb. We had expected to be the first of the day, but in fact there were two fell-runners just setting off before us. The first bit of the walk is, to be honest, quite boring, a decent enough path slowly zig-zagging up through trees. One of my (many) peculiarities is that I hate walking boots so I generally wear ‘barefoot’ running shoes for hill walking. They are super comfortable with great grip, but you have to not mind the fact that your feet are wet all day; their huge advantage is that they are very light. R, of course was booted and in full waterproofs with a new walking pole.
The weather was not awful but not fantastic, with quite low cloud which broke up from time to time, giving us some great views over Loch Long. Beinn Lomond was visible in the distance with its summit wreathed in cloud. The walking was a lot more pleasant once we were out of the woods, with a good path and views to the lower slopes of the Cobbler ahead. About this point we met another climber and his dog who went straight past us – I often think we are reasonably fit and am equally often disabused of this. We then got to the ascent proper, which is basically a set of steep steps set into the side of the mountain. The visibility was very, very poor at this point (although it cleared momentarily from time to time and at one point I think I saw an eagle overhead).
We got to the col between the summits with the visibility still very poor, and although we stopped to eat our sandwiches (reminder to self that egg mayonnaise makes bread go soggy if kept waiting in a bag for hours) in the hope we would get some views, we didn’t and we decided to pass on going up to the summit proper. The way down was ‘interesting’. I kept telling R that we had missed the path because it was so rough as to be more like just climbing down a river gorge than walking. At one point I was actually seriously concerned that we had missed our way in the mist because we ended up scrambling down a ravine with a load of loose boulders, but turned out I was wrong because shortly after that we met some people coming the other way (one of them carrying a small dog!).
About this point it brightened up a bit and we realized that we could see all the way to Arrochar – very pretty. What we also realized was that we could see at least four groups of other walkers heading our way. This was a theme – as we made our way back the number of people coming the other way got larger and larger until it was more or less constant (people stopped saying hello as they passed us which is generally a sign that you have moved out of a really remote area). We made it back to the car almost exactly five hours after we left which puts us in the mid-point of the Walk Highlands assessment of four to six hours for the walk.
Back to Lochgoilhead and now pretty tired so I think we both need to work on our fitness a bit more before we tackle some more challenging mountains (which is the plan for our ‘staycation’ in September – more about this later). A great day, although parts of the descent were definitely ‘type two fun’ – which is the sort of fun you only realize you had when it is over.