Sunday, 26 January 2014

Arrochar, near Loch Lomond where nature poses for you

Sunrays and grey clouds near Cobbler

Arrochar lies on Loch Long, in Argyll and Bute, not more than 2 miles to the west of Loch Lomond. Vikings have attacked the region in 13 th century and after severe battle withdrew from the land forever. Many visitors nowadays are attracted to the village for the reason of climbing the famous Ben Arthur (The Cobbler). The hill was first explored in 1889 by the founders of Scottish Mountaineering Club and thereafter many people appreciated its spectacular features.

View through window of the hotel in Arrochar
A tiny strip of land stretches on both sides of the lake. Numerous Bed and Breakfasts and several small hotels offer excellent view of the Loch Long itself and one can fall into the illusion of staring at a picture, hanging from the wall. 

The Cobbler is the hotspot (or coldspot) for the dedicated hikers. Not a big fan of strenuous exercises? There are few not so demanding walks around Arrochar to enjoy: down to the nearby cottages (south) or to Tarbet. 

View of snow-capped Ben Lomond and Arrochar
The starting point of the trekking route is on the western side of Loch Long, close to the car park. Within the first one hour, the elevation is relatively moderate. Nothing to scare a trained hiker. There are occasional trails intersecting, I assume they might take you to the next village to the south. Your goal is the mountain ahead. I saluted several hikers on the way, all fully equipped, using trekking sticks. I am not a fan of those, honestly, they are getting on my way and seem rather clumsy to me. Taking a look back over your shoulder you will admire the ocean of greenery, dominating the whole region. 

There is a cluster of rocks, close to the peak, where you might consider having a quick snack and making up for the lost calories. After that spot is the turning point where most probably you will venture into the realm of snow faerie (end of February). The grass (sporadic) is mossy and tricky so make sure you have your hiking shows and waterproof clothes on you. I crossed a river (left) and it was there, where I got into a short snowfall. It turned out that peak was not part of the marked walk, but still a nice area. Although, if you are not into good shape don’t stray away from the main path!

Snow blizzard peak, near Cobbler

Depending on your stamina you can continue as the way goes round the hill to see the actual summit. Snow everywhere but luckily the footsteps of the fellow tourists guided me. Sun rays were fighting with grey clouds in the skies above me and nobody around to witness this beauty. Final steps were a bit challenging but the grumbling nature around posed for me to make great photos. 

Looking down from the peak of Ben Arthur

Arrochar Alps proved their name was not given by chance but one must approach the mountain cautiously. The weather is changing abruptly so do not take excessive risk. Leave yourself enough time to climb down, don’t underestimate the mountain.

Loch Long, Arrochar

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