The planned outing on the Saturday was cancelled on Friday evening due to the strengthening East winds.
The map printouts which I’ve previously mentioned were still to be used and it was the top one which kept catching my eye, the Arrochar Alps. Mmmmm?
A check on Sunday’s weather forecast on the Met Office site, it said cloudy then the sun was to appear mid afternoon, I had to ask Katie first as she would have to ‘taxi’ me. Some of the old Bawb charm and it was on….
I’d everything packed ready so it was an empty of my rukkie and a recheck to make sure everything was there, I did pack another layer as the forecasted temperature was to be in single figures for 900m and over.
I had a quick keek out of the window about 5.30am and the sky was clear, Lomond’s summit was showing and no cloud was seen looking towards Donich and Cnoc Coinnish. Excellent. I started to prepare everything very quietly as everyone else were still in dreamland.
I stacked everything at the front door and then had a leisurely breakfast whilst waiting to head away. I posted an alert and packed the car, okay I flung everything on the back seat.
I remarked whilst on the Erskine Bridge and later towards Luss that the road had been strangely quiet for a Sunday morning but off towards Tarbet and the usual below 30 mph drive through Tarbet as it is very prone to someone standing with a radar gun pointing at you as head towards Arrochar.
The car park was reasonably full as we arrived and I got kitted up and waved goodbye as I crossed the road. I headed up the track through woodland which I knew is infested especially on a still cloudy morning like today with the midge. I got bitten occasionally as I rose in height among the trees not wanting to stop as I knew the consequences. I met and passed a large group from the Glasgow area whom I kept passing and getting passed by on my way up the path which finally leaves the wooded area behind, a fresh cool breeze was coming down the through the airy glen between the Cobbler and Beinn Narnain.
After an hour, it was time for to be fed and watered. I looked either side of me and the tops and lower down were shrouded in mist, not what I had hoped for. Roddy had alerted to me that fellow PARC member Craig HCF was heading just to the SW of me on Ben Donich. I started the steady climb up the glen floor on a well maintained path.
I reached the junction of the path at the bealach where routes to Ime, the Cobbler and my target Narnain break off, just under 1,000 ft of height still to gain.
The bealach and path was in a drier condition than I expected especially after the deluge that fell the previous day. A worn and occasionally rocky path headed slowly upwards towards what looked like a very claggy summit but I kept going until I met the more serious of two rocky scrambles over large scree rock, little did I know the after this one, the summit was within reach.
About three-year ago, Euan had originally wanted me to go with him up the direct route from Arrochar and on a day like it was today, I’m glad I chose the what would be called the ‘Tourist Route’ and for once, I never questioned ‘why I was doing this ?’…
The trig point eventually came in sight through the cloud, I had summitted. A quick look at the trig, it is a pity all the trig points were not built in this style. I looked around and found a sheltered bit to the east of the trig and settled down to grab a quick bite and set up for 4m, I chatted with someone who had arrived via the direct route then I called out on 4m and called and called. No takers here today. A hit and miss band lately.
Whilst calling, I assembled the 5 ele yagi for 2m and then took down the 4m JPole, attached the beam and first call, I worked Craig HCF on Ben Donich which fleetingly appeared and disappeared as it suddenly got cooler, next in the log was Stuart OXQ from Paisley then a third PARC member Roddy 2MØIOB called in from Gourock. The cloud then got thicker and as it chilled down, the rain came on lightly at first so I thought, a quick activation but I called again on S20 and worked Rick CIN from SW Ayrshire. I next worked Jack COX from the Lanarkshire area, I had heard Jack on my way up the last ascent and had wondered if he was out and about but not today. Billy AHJ from Glasgow then Barrie KZX from Dumbarton popped in.
The rain had now started to get heavier and I spent some time trying to cover everything up but I nipped back to s20 and worked Morgan CDW then Eric FSZ from Girvan and after a quick chat about the previous day, it was back to call again and Alan VCV from Greenock answered my call followed by Andy, USU a regular chaser from Falkirk.
Finally I was to work Martin, PXI who was on the summit of Brown Carrick Hill just south of Ayr, Martin wasn’t doing SOTA so a chasing point and a STS lost. I called again on s20 and searched through the band but nothing was heard or answered my call. It was still raining so a quick break down of the station then it was time to head off a wet summit. I looked for the cairn and headed off down the path I had come up. I’d had been earlier asked if I wanted to head back down the direct route but I thought as the rocky parts would possibly be slippy with the rain I would be safer going off the way I had arrived.
As I left the summit, possibly about a couple of hundred feet lower I came out of the clag to what looked as if the weather was starting to clear and I could see most of the surrounding hills, Ime was still hidden beneath cloud which was a pity as I intend to return to activate it. The mysterious summit awaits me at some point in the future. I headed down to the bealach taking care as I descended the now damp grass.
I was back on the main path back towards the forest area and enjoyed the descent passing the famous Narnain Boulders, I finally got a signal on my phone and arranged my lift back home. Dropping steadily I reached the forested area where I again never tarried due to the curse. I met a walker who had rather sillily stopped and was being eaten alive, classic midge attack.
I reached the car park and waited on Katie then it was off home to dry everything out.
12 contacts on a day which turned for the worse weather wise but I’d bagged another Munro, I’m now about 3% towards compleating them haha. Looking back on it, it was worthwhile getting out and the weather obviously put literally a damper on the day. I’ve decided to go back to the old Bawb activating weather, blue sky and no clouds before I head…
A good day spoiled by the lack of a view from the top but who knows I may return.
Thanks goes to Wikipedia and to those I have linked to.
928m (3,044 ft)
a Munro, Marilyn..
translated as ‘the hill of notches’
Munro number 259
GeoHack info HERE
Climbing info HERE
Local climbing history HERE ( I think the video links are down)
Click on images to view full size !!