Thursday, 5 March 2015

A Grand Day Out in the Arrochar Alps.

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
Generations of Glasgow and West Central Scottish tourists, walkers and climbers have been going to the playground of the Arrochar Alps for the last 100 years. Surprisingly, unlike a lot of other areas in Scotland further north The Arrochar Alps have remained much the same as they were then. Apart from the tourist path up the ever popular Cobbler not much has changed and the rest of the hills don't have the usual "seen from space" tracks up them. It is also very easy to have the surrounding 10 or so Munros  and Corbetts that make up the Arrochar Alps entirely to yourself, which I always find amazing.
We decided on the waterfall route up Beinn Narnain, 926 metres,  as a sporting day out. It had recently snowed a great deal over the last few days and we were the first folk to brave this little used path up our Munro of choice. The snow when we reached it above 1000 feet (300 metres) was mostly knee or occasionally waist deep, very soft and slippy which made for tough trail breaking.
My companion for the trip was Alan and I needed his younger set of legs for what would prove to be a hard day out. A very enjoyable and exciting one though. Not much wind and a huge amount of fresh deep snowfall.
Even crossing a few minor streams proved tricky as the normal edges between land and water blurred together.
We were soon in the central bowl between Ben Narnain and A' Chrois however, looking up at the impressive ring of cliffs above us. Due to a suspected high avalanche risk we tried to stick to ridge lines and broken ground, instead of gullies.
Climbing up the sides of Beinn Narnain towards the south face where Engine Room Crack and Jam-block Chimney reside. I've been up here in summer years ago doing the rock climbs and knew the area contains many large boulders, steep but short cliffs and deep holes. Not bad rock climbing, some within the actual mountain itself but almost at Munro height.
We had an entertaining scramble through these boulders to reach the summit around the side of Spearhead Arete Buttress. The actual summit when we topped out was in thick cloud which denied us views of Ben Vane, Beinn Ime, and the other Arrochar Alps.
Our route down was off the back end via the Cobbler, seen here.

A close up of the Cobbler cliffs.
A grand day out in a brilliant area. We are so lucky in Greater Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde to have the Arrochar Alps as a playground so close to a large urban area, yet so unspoiled. Never seen another hill walker until the descent path from the Cobbler. Alan and myself were the last folk off the mountain that day and were the first footsteps across miles of fresh virgin snow. The Arrochar Alps. They had to be a chapter in my book.
Link here. £1: 14 pence digital and a great read at 500 pages with photographs.

 My second book, also on Kindle Bookstore is...
A Guide to Walking and Cycling Around the River Clyde and The Firth of Clyde ....with over 80 easy walks and cycle day/ or half day trips described around Glasgow and the Clyde Coast and Islands.  Worth £2 quid just for the 146 original colour photos alone on a modern scenic armchair journey down this famous river. Ships, mountains, hills, walking, cycling, island bagging and wildlife all in one go.

P. J. Harvey is an artist I've long admired over many interesting CDs since Is This Desire? in 1998. Ever evolving, independent, and staying well clear of the latest trends she carves her own musical path. Still the only artist to win the Mercury Music Prize twice this is from her rock and blues period.


Carol said...

That looks a great day out apart from the deep, soft snow! I'm after doing A' Chrois myself - what's the best route (in summer) for a wuss?

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Carol, Yes, it was tiring but enjoyable.
Park in the usual Cobbler car park... from there walk along the Succoth minor road then follow right side of Allt Sugach on faint path straight up on edge of pine forest to small dam. Follow this mountain stream past several delightful waterfalls(same route as in photos)then climb A Chrois via the low gap on the ridge between A C and Narnain. Return straight off the summit down gentle and grassy south ridge of A C to Allt Sugach dam again. Easy with no scrambling involved and a great scenic day out.

Lux G. said...

Nice shots as always. :)

Happy weekend!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Super(Lux Ganzon),
Thank you. Happy weekends to you as well. We work for money but we live for weekends :o)

The Glebe Blog said...

Intrepid as always Bob.
Great pictures. Though it's hard work, there's something satisfying in ploughing through virgin snow. I'm missing out hills just now. Got a problem with a knee to get sorted out.
P.J Harvey. Didn't she get some stick over her guest editing of the Today programme last year.
I'm not entirely left wing, but back in the days of strong unions it was great to see folk standing up and defying the establishment.
I think those days might just be returning.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Jim,
Hope your knee recovers soon.
It's about time more people turned protesters if not political. There is a class war going on at the moment but it's not the ones at the bottom organizing or controlling it.
I've lost count now of the number of programmes on TV along the lines of "spongers by the sea", "Spongers on benefits", "Spongers with 22 kids" etc. Meanwhile the safety net for real folk who have been made redundant,are honest but in low paid jobs or zero hours contacts is stripped away month by month and services that have been in place for decades are dismantled. It's propaganda I've seen before and if they(the government) have their way a large percentage of the UK population will be working for next to nothing for decades without a pension at the end of it. Maybe that's the plan all along.

Carol said...

Thanks for the route info Bob :-)

blueskyscotland said...

On a nice spring day with the measdows below dry and clear but still with some lingering snow near the summits that way up is a Scottish classic walk.The best outing in the Arrochar Alps, (I.M.H.O)if you've already visited the Cobbler. Five star day out.