Hillwalking

Beinn Narnain – First Munro!



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So I conquered my first Munro this week which should have been a joyful experience but turned out the complete opposite! A disaster to say the least.

Two days before, I was up the Kilpatrick Hills doing some mountain biking and basically wrecked my bad knee when landing a jump coming down the grassy section that finishes at Overton House. I continued on though and went back up to do the downhill section again as it was so enjoyable. Basically had 2900ft of ascent on the bike that day on a bad knee. Bad idea! Especially when I was planning to do my first Munro the following day. So I cancelled that and on the second day it felt fine. 100% actually, so I jumped in the car to Arrochar and set off on my route.

I had planned to do all 3 in the area that day, Narnain, Ime and The Cobbler so was looking forward to it. Following the guide from this site, I went straight up the old path, passing all the big concrete slabs. This was quite a steep climb but you very quickly got a good view back down to the start with Ben Lomond in the background.

Looking back to Succoth

Looking back to Succoth

It was about this time, that I started to feel my knee getting a bit sore. But I thought I’d press on as I didn’t want to give up on my first Munro attempt as I was feeling fit otherwise! Another false summit comes into view when you reach the top of the section with the large slabs. It’s pretty much a river you are walking up the whole way here but the weather had been dry for a while so there wasn’t much water around so was easy climbing really. I can only imagine how wet it would be with a few days of rain there.

The path leads to the first real rocky section of the route with a little bit of scrambling needed.

The path leads to the first real rocky section of the route with a little bit of scrambling needed.

After getting up the first rocky section I actually got lost and started to walk straight across to the left instead of turning to the right and heading straight up. I realised I’d made a mistake quickly though and got back on the path with The Cobbler coming into view now.

From here, it really does look a terrific hill!

From here, it really does look a terrific hill!

Once at the top of the next summit I stopped for a bite to eat and to rest my knee which was getting increasingly worse.

Sat on the rock to the left of the image for 5 minutes or so wishing my knee would get better with a wee rest!

Sat on the rock to the left of the image for 5 minutes or so wishing my knee would get better with a wee rest!

After the rest, I kept going up the hill and was greeted with this view. From this point it looked pretty steep but I stupidly continued on. I had started it and was well on my way so didn’t want to give up now.

I was struggling to actually see the line to take here but then I noticed 4 people were half way up ahead of me already right up the left hand side of the rock.

I was struggling to actually see the line to take here but then I noticed 4 people were half way up ahead of me already right up the left hand side of the rock.

The further you go, you descend a bit and you are then at the base of the rock looking up at the scramble ahead, looking quite tricky now.

I think the final section looks fantastic from this point.

I think the final section looks fantastic from this point.

So, I put my camera away at this point after one more picture of the path ahead up the left hand side as I thought it looked like quite a struggle and my knee was agony at this point but I wasn’t going to give up now.

The clouds are looming overhead!

The clouds are looming overhead!

I managed to actually scramble up here quite easily, the path was obvious but it was quite steep at some parts, steeper than I expected but great fun. Took the camera out to get a shot of the very last climb which was another steep scramble grabbing on with both hands. When I reached the top I spoke with a man about 50 years my senior who was going back down the way I came up. Must have been fit as a fiddle!

The final ascent.

The final ascent.

A bit of a wander about at the top to find the trig point, I thought I seen a cairn straight to the left and almost backwards after the final steep climb? Kept going anyway to finally reach the summit of my first Munro!

Trig point overlooking The Cobbler.

Trig point overlooking The Cobbler.

By this point the wind was blowing ferociously so had to throw the hats, gloves and jacket on in a hurry before I froze then stopped for some well deserved lunch.

Blowing a gale!!!

Blowing a gale!!!

After the stop, it was time for Ime. I got up and thought I’d walk down to the junction and decide then whether I should continue to do Ime or take the long walk straight back past Narnain Boulders and The Cobbler. I considered just going straight back down the way I came but I honestly don’t think it was possible without seriously injuring myself!

Looking up at Ime.

Looking up at Ime.

I quickly decided it would be daft to go on and made a beeline for the bottom. I found a path that cut left instead of going towards Beinn Ime. It joined the main path next to the small bridge near the foot of the route up the back of The Cobbler where I then made the long walk, or should I say limp, back to the car park passing the beautiful Cobbler on the way obviously.

Saving this one for another day!

Saving this one for another day!

The walk back was busy, being a bank holiday Monday, and even though I was hurting I overtook so many people just out for a slow stroll! The relief when I made it back to the car park was immense as at times I was thinking was I ever going to get off this mountain without the aid of a helicopter!

As great a hill as Narnain is with some classic scrambling sections, I just couldn’t enjoy it properly so will definitely be doing it again soon with Beinn Ime and The Cobbler this time. Was really looking forward to doing the eye of the needle too. Until next time…

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