Continuing our drive up into the Scottish Highlands, I had planned for us to stop and attempt to hike the Cobbler, or Ben Arthur, before stopping for the night.
It’s one of the most impressive looking peaks in the Highlands so I was keen, but I might have let Sharon know about this plan a little too late. She was wholly unprepared for a long hike on her first day of travelling. “Which one is it?”, She says pointing up in the distance. I sheepishly pointed to another small hill nearby, knowing full well is was a fat lie. The outline of The Cobbler is unmistakable: a craggy outcrop of multiple peaks, said to resemble a cobbler hard at work.

Going up, with the peaks still ahead of us. Credit: NathanDukesArt

So off we went.

First pointer for encouraging a Sharon up a hill: don’t shit talk like you would to a teammate on the sports field. Gentle positive reinforcement is best, especially when the sun goes before the mountain and the cold air kicks up a howling wind.

Just before it starts getting steep.
Credit: NathanDukesArt
The grade of incline. Credit: NathanDukesArt (right side)

We thought about quitting more than once. We thought about a slow cold death after twisting an ankle more than once. It was getting late and we were probably the last people up the mountain for the day, so we were probably closer to death than we realised at the time. By now we were on hands and knees scrabbling up the steep cliffs. The photos do it no justice.

We made it. Credit: NathanDukesArt
The view over Ben Lomond from the top.
Credit: NathanDukesArt

Fearless, we clawed and scrapped our way to the very top. Golly gosh. The view was spectacular. Seeing the peak of Ben Lomond and the Loch Lomond National Park in the distance above Arrochar was truly brilliant. Second best news of the afternoon was the gentle slopping path of return down the other side of the mountain.

The view down over the lock. Credit: NathanDukesArt

Anyone interested in attempting this hill walk should allow a good 4 hours. There’s a large carpark with maps and information near Arrochar on the A83 just across the end of the loch.

Posted by:Nathan Dukes

Nathan is an Australian journalist, photographer and graphic designer

One thought on “Our first Scottish hike: The Cobbler

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