The Cobbler – Arrochar
Ben Arthur – or most commonly known as The Cobbler – is a great day out and is perfect for inexperienced hikers (like myself).
The best way to get to Arrochar is to drive; there is a car park at the foot of the walk which only cost £1 to park for the full day – luckily for me, the machine was broken and I saved myself £1!. However, if you are just here visiting and don’t have a car there are some Citylink buses that got to Arrochar and some other local buses to Succoth which will stop in Arrochar. You can also get the train from Glasgow to Tarbet where Arrochar isn’t that far.
Depending how fast you are at walking and how experienced you are, will obviously depend on how fast you can complete this hike. It is a 7 mile/11km hike round trip so I recommend that you bring something to eat with you as there are plenty of places to stop and look at the view while you eat. I also recommend starting this walk around 9/10am so you can make it to the bottom again around lunch time leaving time to do other things in the afternoon.
I completed this walk with my mum and we totally under estimated how difficult it was going to be! Both of us have completed Ben Lomond so we thought that The Cobbler would pale in comparison… How wrong we were! We met someone we knew about 30 minutes into the hike and he told us it would take us around an hour and a half, however, he was a very experienced hiker. We are not. In total from leaving the car and getting back, it took us 5 hours!
(The reservoir around half way up – perfect place to stop and eat lunch!)
What to bring
Definitely wear some sort of hiking boots as the terrain can be quite rocky, uneven and muddy at some points. I would also recommend wearing walking gear as the weather can dramatically change the further up you climb (depending on the time of year).
When we started my walk it was a clear, sunny and warm day (well as warm as Scotland gets in April!) however, around half way it began to rain on and off for the rest of the hike, which wasn’t bad as it only lasted 5 minutes or so. The real problem began when it then started to hail which turn into snow nearer the top! And we were not adequately dressed for this.
As the top is 920m high it can get extremely icy and windy so if you are not walking in the summer I recommend that you have gloves with you. A walking stick may also be beneficial as it can get steep at some points.
This walk is perfect if you want to bring your four legged friend with you! I brought my dog and he was able to be off his lead the entire time as it was wide open space… (only recommended if your dog will come back!)
(Rocky and The Cobbler)
Recommendations – The Dos and Dont’s
The walk is very easy until you get to the base of the actual Cobbler. At this point you can either split off to the left or to the right. To the right is an easier walk with a gentler incline taking you to the top via the back of the Corbett and is more consistent and structured under foot. I would definitely choose this way if you are inexperienced or don’t want a steep climb to top. However, if you do go this way, do be prepared to be exposed to harsher weather as there is nothing to block the winds (or snow/rain/hail in my case) coming towards you.
If you decide to turn left (like we did) be prepared for some rock climbing!! This route is very rocky and doesn’t always have a clear path of where to climb. At some points you will have to seriously pull yourself up onto the rock faces. This was the only point where I had to lift my dog as it was too steep for him to jump up! The only bonus to this route is that as the Cobbler is on your right hand side it means it blocks most of the weather coming towards you. I would only recommend this path if you are able to climb a very rocky and steep incline. You can do this if you are inexperienced (like we were) however you may struggle at some points but it is still achievable.
I interviewed a fellow adventure blogger (@ProperAdventure) and he recommended “Taking in one of the neighbouring munros, Beinn Narnain, right next door has wonderful views south to Loch Lomond, Loch Long and west out to Mull and down Loch Fynne.”
When asked why he liked The Cobbler he said it “offers amazing views from anyone of its 3 summit points. For the brave ‘threading the needle’ and getting to the true summit on a clear day is incredible ”
(The steep side of the Cobbler – it gets much worse the further up you go)
- Bring lunch with you – there is a lovely reservoir about half way which is perfect place to stop to eat and enjoy the view.
- Bring warmer clothes if not walking in the summer as it gets very cold at the top.
- Bring plenty of water.
- Bring your dog – it’s a great way to tire them out!
- Start early.
- Keep looking back to enjoy the spectacular views behind you of Loch Long!
(View of Loch Long at the very top)
- Underestimate how quickly the weather can change at any time of year.
- Don’t forget appropriate foot wear, its seriously slippery when wet.
(Loch Long on the way down)
All photos are taken on my Sony a5100.