I looked North and saw hills shrouded in low cloud, will I won’t I?
I’d the rucksack packed just waiting. Yeah, time to go….
I’d worked a couple of SOTA stations the previous weekend and thought it was time to stick on the boots and head into the hills
But what hill?
Plenty of choice within an hour from home, the Arrochar Alps with it’s four Marilyns, Ben Donich amongst many others. I can sit here and see thirteen ‘Marilyns’ from my window.
I settled on Ben Arthur or as it is more widely known, The Cobbler, last visited in 2013 so time to renew our acquaintance. In Gaelic Artair, one recent TV programme suggested a possible connection with King Arthur, mmm.
The day started well, a drive to the car park at Succoth, still only a quid , I’m sure if this was the Lakes or Snowdonia, a much heftier charge would be made, well done to the local council.
Boots on, quick check, rucksack on the back and I said goodbye to Katie. The first mile and a bit is spent ascending up through a purpose made path through a conifer forest, advice here is to keep moving as this area is notorious for its midge population. Just under an hour later, I was on open ground slowly rising on a well worn path running alongside the Allt. The Narnain boulders are handy for stopping for a break.
Mist still clung to the top of the Cobbler and the south west steep flanks of Narnain, it promised to clear around midday. I came to the junction, The junction on the path at this point leads you on to an improved path to near the base of Beinn Ime, there were volunteers working on repairing a section of the lower Narnain path, eight lads I assumed from the Forces as they passed me on the lower forestry section, some carrying pinch bars. I asked if this was a daily occurrence, one lad said ‘Our last day’. The mist was still around 2,200 ft but I turned left up the steep rock stairs of the north flank, slow progress was made as by this time it had got hot, a steady pace soon found me on more level ground and in the disappearing mist I could see the last push to the main summit. The hill was busy today. I should have done some more walking on the lead up to this.
Most folk tended to be on the north summit and I arrived to an almost empty summit with two lads ‘threading the needle’ (see the Wikpedia article for this). Once I had been fed and watered, I erected the mast and tried my luck on 4m FM first, two contacts, Paddy IPO Paisley then Steve XPZ Greenock. I gave a few calls but nothing, time to head to 2m FM. First call back was CMK sitting at Tyndrum, Stuart ROT in my home town was next. I now swung the beam to point south and had a listen but I’d started much later in the day around 2 PM. I’m almost up and away by this time on other occasions. I like to have a couple of hours working the bands but midweek especially on a sunny day would be quieter.
Off again and spoke with Eric FSZ in Girvan, chats are normally kept short due to weather conditions but today would have no WX problems apart from a strong sun beating down, bringing my wide brimmed hat was a good choice.
Norn Iron next with Bernie POC calling me from Bangor. Things started to slow down and I finsihed with ZNC Bill in KIlmarnock, XPZ Steve, WER James in Paisley and finally Niall SXV on the Haul Road above Helensburgh.
Ten contents in just over an hour, I walked around and snapped some photos before packing everything away, a drink of water and a phone call to Katie. The views were a bit hazy and not as clear as previous visits to the hill.
It was off the hill, I took my time heading down the ‘steps’ and soon was on the path down the hillside, at the Narnain Stones, I watched eight deer making their way up the side of the track. The small dam looked tempting but I imagine the water would be freezing cold, pass.
The forest was quickly passed through and I saw Katie waiting in the car park, she had visited nearby Dunoon and Inverary.
A cold drink and cookies were waiting, nice.
Another enjoyable day if not too hot.
Thanks again to Wikipedia…
Click on the images to embiggen.