A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Arrochar Alps,

12-13 December 2015
Our weekend in the Arrochar Alps was being led by John Walker, here's his tale of the days..... After the recent run of stormy days, (in which I was caught right in the middle of the Lake District as it flooded - scary!), I was very pleased to see the benign, cold forecast for the weekend in Arrochar.

Laggan Munros 1 Saturday

On Saturday, it was just Helen and myself and we ascended the Cobbler (or Ben Arthur, its correct name), via the North East ridge, and had an enjoyable scramble through the 'Eye of the Needle' and up onto the summit block. It is only a short scramble, but an excellent bit of frisson on this superlative Corbett.

The swirling cloud slowly lifted, and the skies brightened as we descended to the bealach en route to Beinn Narnain, our first Munro of the day. The snow conditions were excellent, and we quickly heel-plunged down the shallow gullies, over-taking folk teetering down the icy path on crampons. The ascent of Narnain is a straightforward plod, made interesting by the ever-improving weather. The views from the summit were spectacular, with Ben Lomond looking like Mount Fuji.

In Monar Heading North by Northwest, we tramped off-piste to the bealach and the normally boggy ascent of Beinn Ime, made easier by dint of the freezing temperatures. As had been our luck due to our less-travelled route, we had the summit to ourselves again, and the views back over the Cobbler, to Ben Cruachan and Ben Nevis in the distance were expansive.

The plan had been to take in Beinn Luibhean, the Corbett so overshadowed by its more iconic neighbour, but the time was against us, so we elected on a descent down the burn back to the car just as the light faded. A splendid day.


Laggan Munros 1 Sunday's forecast was even better for the daytime, slowly deteriorating by dusk. Helen and I were joined by Christina and her daughter Rosa, not only on her first winter outing, but her first Munro ! It would be fair to say she wasn't relishing it, and found the -3°C in the car park too cold, let alone a mountain! I lent her my down jacket as we fitted crampons, then off we went, initially along the road from Inveruglas, and rapidly up the hydro road and into Coire Grogain.

The badly eroded path onto Ben Vane is much improved by the coating of ice and snow, and as we ascended in crampons, Rosa began to enjoy herself. By the time we made the summit in the sun, she was positively beaming, (we won't mention the many false summits en route!). The couple of icy, rocky steps add a real mountaineering feel to the climb, and we all enjoyed it immensely.

In Monar After many photos, we descended off-piste down towards the Loch Sloy dam. In the snowy and icy conditions, there was much slipping and sliding, resulting in a few wet backsides and much laughter. At the dam, Christina and Rosa decided that one quality winter Munro was enough perhaps wisely, as Helen and I faced the direct 600m+ Route One ascent onto Ben Vorlich.

We knew we would be pushed to make the summit by dusk, and the weather was showing signs of changing. We ummed, we arred, and then we gritted our teeth and went for it. We absolutely flew up it, making the bealach in less than an hour. Being ahead on Naismith's timings in those conditions was a top effort, and we high-fived at the top. The continuation to the summit over Vorlich's gnarly ridge was fun, and we made sure despite the gloom and mist that we passed the trig to the real summit, a mistake often made by many.

The descent in the dark was uneventful, apart from Helen suddenly thinking she had lost her car keys whilst pulling out her head-torch at the summit - What would I do? The idea of going back up as the forecasted wind increased and the blizzard set in wasn't exactly inviting. Oh joy, there they were in her rucksack! Phew!

We were down in 8hrs, a more than respectable time in winter conditions, tired but very satisfied. A great day out ending a great weekend. So far so good on the winter!

More photos are up on our Flickr page !

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