Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain
Area: Inveraray to Crianlarich
Munros: Beinn Ime, Beinn Narnain
Date walked: 29/08/2009
Time taken: 5 hours
Distance: 21 km
Ascent: 1400 meters
Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain sit in a high Mountainous area near Arrochar a few kilometres West of Loch Lomond. The term, Arrochar Alps has been used to describe this Mountain region with high steep sided hills surrounded by deep Glens. These two hills are usually walked from Arrochar with the addition of the spectacular Corbett, The Cobbler (Ben Arthur) being added to the round. They can also be walked from Inveruglas by the shores of Loch Lomond to the North.
I have not ventured out to the hills since the first few days of the month due to the weather. I have been hiding from the rain lol. So this weekend having checked the forecast, and it looked like reasonable weather for Saturday, I decided to head up to Loch Lomond and bag some Munros.
I had a plan to stop overnight at Inveruglas visitor centre and cycle in and walk Beinn Ime, Beinn Narnain, Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich. If the weather was ok I could run some of it and try to do them all on the Saturday. A big task I know but I could always bale out and do one or two of them on the Sunday if need be.
So Brian, (my non-hill walking brother), and I drove up to Inveruglas by the shores of Loch Lomond and arrived at about 2100 on the Friday night. The weather on the drive up was reasonable but as we retired for the night the rain came on. I had trouble sleeping with rain and strong winds all night and felt terrible in the morning but after some breakfast and waiting for the rain to stop I finally set off on my bike at 0925. I cycled down the main road past the hydroelectric power station for approximately 1km then turned onto the tarmac road that leads all the way to the Dam. There is a locked gate here so I had to lift the bike over the gate and continue on my way. As I am cycling along I realise that I have forgotten my walking poles but I am not turning back now.
The road climbs up from about 50m to 300 metres to a junction approximately 4.5km from the main road passing the sheep and cows on the way. I now turned left onto a shale track across a small bridge. This track continues for approximately 1.5km to a clearing and climbs a further 100m. During the cycle the rain came and went but it wasn’t too heavy and I had my waterproofs on. The shale on the track underfoot was quite extensive and slippery in places so care was required so I didn’t come a cropper and fall of the bike.
Mind you I was walking with the bike for a lot of this inward journey due to the incline. It had taken me 1hr 5mins to get to the clearing at the end of the forest and park the bike ready to set off on my walk up into the hillside. There is a small memorial cairn here for some unfortunate guy. The Munro’s Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain are normally climbed from Arrochar with the cobbler thrown in for good measure so this is a slightly unusual approach.
The plan was quite simple. Just head up onto the pathless hillside in a south west direction for about 300m and then bear around to the north to pick up the path to the top of Beinn Ime. The underfoot conditions were very wet making the grass on the slope quite slippery and after 5 minutes or so the rains came on again. It would have been handy to have my poles with me at this point as it was quite tough going.
As I rounded up onto the Bealach the ground was a bit flatter and wetter. In no time at all I had found the walkers path and was now heading up to the Beinn Ime summit. The ground was sodden, the track was boggy and running like a river and to top it all freezing hailstones were been blown into my face at 60 miles an hour. I arrived at the summit after 2hr 21 minutes and I was in the mist/clag. I couldn’t see anything so I didn’t take any photos. I was also cold so I had to get my jacket out of my pack.
I met a couple of walkers and they said they were going onto Ben Arthur. I then headed back down from the summit to the Bealach at a reasonable walk/run. Due to the underfoot conditions great care was required which restricted my speed. As I was running down I spotted a group of 20 or so walkers descending Beinn Narnain. As I arrived at the Bealach, most of the group had descended the slope and they were getting ready to ascend Beinn Ime. I was surprised to see such a large group on the hills in these conditions and in fact it was the largest group I saw throughout my Munro round.
I now had a 300m climb up to the summit of Beinn Narnain. Nothing of note here except the sun had come out and I could see the hills around me. When I looked over to the Cobbler it was completely shrouded in mist. My thoughts went out to the couple I had met earlier because that was where they were headed. However the sun didn’t last and as it disappeared the rain returned. After 30mins I was on the summit. I took a couple of photos but they are not very good. Again it was a bit cold but I stopped for 15 minutes to have something to eat. A couple of guys appeared on the summit from the direction of Arrochar but they said they had come up a different way to bag some Corbetts at the same time.
So now it was time to descend back to my trusty steed. So I headed of back the way I came to the 700m point and then rounded North East and down into the valley. There is a fence going down the valley and although steep it makes a great descent. I am soon back on the bike and heading back down the track. Since most of it is downhill you can go quite fast but the large shale rocks make it a bit dangerous so I had to cycle with care. I cycled to the start point of the Ben Vane ascent but chickened out of this one on this occasion. I had been battered by the wind and freezing rain and I was wet through and through so I decided to go back to Inveruglas. After an uneventful cycle ride I was back at the van at 1425. The weather forecast for Sunday and Monday was much of the same so I decided to head back home.