Beinn Narnain

  • Distance – 11.3 Km
  • Ascent – 1074 m
  • Height – 926 m
  • My Time – 6 hours
  • Season completed – Winter
  • Difficulty – 3 / 10
  • Weather – Sunshine, with strong north wind (freezing but no snow)
  • I just want to see the photos to get a feel for the hike – click here
  • Route Map

Starting point

There are two large car parks for use when heading into any of the hills beside Arrochar. One is just opposite the petrol station and the other is closer to the starting point, just a short distance round the corner from the first one.

Make sure you bring either a load of change or your bank cards as parking costs are steep! It’s £1 per hour, so if you are there all day then it will set you back £9, and of course you pay up front. So even if you think you’ll do it in 5 hours, but maybe 7 if you stop frequently then you have to pay up based on what you think will be your slowest time ☹

You can see from the route map below that for doing Beinn Narnain I’ve missed the direct starting point, but it didn’t really matter. The actual straight up route wasn’t obvious so I took the path that you’d take if you were to do The Cobbler. After a short winding section you reach a forest track, turn right and head along that for a short while.

Below is the view that you’ll get once you reach the first forest track. Turn around and that is Ben Lomond. Sun was just starting to rise here.

Again the track that take you right up to Beinn Narnain wasn’t obvious and I’d gone passed it as I could see a fork in the track turning up and on the OS maps you can see that it has a path there. This photo shows the marker and what you’ll see. From the point of the photo, right behind me is the track heading up, after this point you can’t go wrong. It’s a case of head up.

Unless there is snow on the ground, you can’t miss the path here. Even with snow it will be clear where to go due to the clear route through the trees.

Once through the initial patch of trees, the way is clear. You can’t see the Cobbler or the summit just yet, but you do get some magnificent views. The above photo was right in front of a small stream and due to the freezing conditions water had frozen over the vegetation. In the background you can see Ben Lomond (left) and the sun rising over what is probably Ben Reoch (661 m).

Found some icicles, which made for some cool shots. Or maybe as someone thought, I’d manage to capture one of Scotland’s unicorns and got it to take me to the top!

The hike itself is fairly uneventful, in that you follow the path and it’s such a popular hill that they’ve made some great efforts to put in a good path, especially where it may be slightly steeper. This is great, not only stops erosion but does help to make it a rather pleasant walk.

As you continue to gain height then you are rewarded with some great views down Loch Long. Once you reach around 630m, you are now able to see the Cobbler, which is another very popular hill even if it isn’t a munro. It’s a beautiful looking summit and well worth doing if you have the time. In the summer with the longer hours you could easily do The Cobbler, Beinn Ìme and Beinn Narnain in the same day. That would be hard going for those of average fitness (that’s me) but certainly do-able.

Loch Long

Tricky portions

Now if you’ve made it this far, this is where the only tricky part is. I recall looking at the Ordnance Survey (OS) map and using the online 3D mapping tools to do a fly through, one part stood out. The 3D mode gives you an excellent feel for the route you’ve picked and looking at the route there was a rather steep, exposed and rocky portion.

I’m not a mountaineer, I don’t carry ropes and I’m not up for anything that may require those skills. The tricky looking portion is around 800 m up. When you look closely at the aerial views you can just make out the path. It weaves it’s way up and through the rocks. When you’re on the path in person, it’s actually another really good path. Depending on the wind direction it could feel very exposed, but on the day I went the wind was coming from the north. So I was perfectly sheltered by the hill. So absolutely issues here at all.

Wind?

Had it have been a strong south/westerly wind then it could have been a different matter. If the wind was very strong from the south, I’d maybe even suggest hitting the summit from the north and then doubling back on yourself – a bit boring, but much safer in strong winds.

This is me looking roughly NE along the ridge that comes from the summit of Beinn Narnain towards A’ Chrois
The Cobbler as seen from the high level path going up the side of Beinn Narnain

Now that you are almost at the top, one last obstacle is in the way. There is a small about of ‘climbing’ do be done. This is very minimal, a few leg stretches and a bit of pulling yourself up and you’ll be sorted.

Look at the below photo – this is your last portion before the summit! Looks very rocky with some big boulders, but not to worry the path makes the way clear. You can see two people in the photo and you go up and just to the right of the large rock formation.

Looks tricky – but there is a good path going up and through.

Once you’re passed that portion, that is you on the summit and after that there is nothing that should phase you if you’ve made it this far. You can get some brilliant views of Beinn Ìme from the summit , not to mention the Cobbler.

Beinn Ìme

For me, that was my day done. In a winter walk the hours are very short so don’t overstretch yourself. I used to do that, and end up rushing a 2nd or 3rd summit in and it’s not worth it. Relax and enjoy. So for me I carried on to complete the loop. You head in the same northerly direction and cross a small boulder-field before re-joining an established path.

Path heading down and across the way is the Cobbler.

Once on the path you head back towards the car park. You are now between both hills and the path is wide and well established. The worst portion is right towards the end, when it beings to weave back and forth, it’s more than a little worn out. So all in all if you’re looking for a munro that’s “simple” and is near Glasgow, then you can’t go far wrong with this one.

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