The Cobbler, Beinn Narnain, Beinn Ime & Beinn Luibhean Walking

The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain are generally climbed from the more spectacular Arrochar side, but a start in Glen Croe is a nice alternative. Combining them with neighbouring Beinn Ime and Beinn Luibhean makes for a logical and longer round, and might miss some of the crowds too. And if you're counting, that's two Munros and two Corbetts to add to your tally.

The Cobbler from Beinn Narnain  © Dan Bailey -
The Cobbler from Beinn Narnain
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Detailed description

NN2427006009 For the walk-in up Coire Croe there's a path on either side of the valley. The better trail is on the north side of the burn, so from the car park first go left to cross the burn, then follow the path uphill past a pine wood. The path continues roughly northeast above the burn (nice waterfalls). While a direct ascent of The Cobbler from here would make a neater looking circuit on the map, its northern flank is unremittingly steep and it's arguably better to outflank it by carrying on up-glen.

NN2487506613 Having crossed the side burn coming down from the Bealach a' Mhargaidh, continue upstream on the north side of the main burn for a little under 1km more, before bearing slightly right. Cross a fence and continue up the head of the coire, where the burn braids into several watercourses - there's a path of sorts. The slope soon runs up onto the Bealach a' Mhaim, the boggy central saddle from which The Cobbler, Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime are all climbed.

NN2620906933 First for the out-and-back leg to The Cobbler. Turn right (south) on a well-engineered footpath to a trail junction immediately under the hill. The path up The Cobbler's northeast flank begins as a staircase of stone blocks, but degenerates into a more eroded stony surface as height is gained. It's worth making a detour to the diving board-like North Peak, then backtracking for the well-trodden ascent to Centre Peak. The true high point is a famously airy rock pinnacle, reached via a crawl through a cave and an exposed grade 3 scramble along a ledge to finish up well-polished blocks (the only way back off is to reverse this manoeuvre); if you're not into heights then the adjacent ground will have to stand in for the summit proper.
South Peak and Centre Peak from the east  © Dan Bailey -
South Peak and Centre Peak from the east
© Dan Bailey -, May 2019

NN2594405834 Descend the way you came to the Bealach a' Mhaim, and pick up the well-trodden path up the north-western flank of Beinn Narnain. It's a steady ascent with some rough rocky ground and a choice of trails to follow at various points; all lead to the top. It's worth continuing briefly east beyond the summit trig point to look at the crags of the Spearhead.

NN2716706664 Go back down the northwest flank, this time staying slightly closer to the edge of the mountain's steep northern corrie, to make a beeline for the fence that crosses the middle of the Bealach a' Mhaim. Here join the well-trodden path up the southern side of Beinn Ime. This is a long plod of an ascent, with its fair share of sloppy ground. Towards the top, skirt just left of a little fore-summit to reach the big cairn that marks the day's high point.
Beinn Ime from Beinn Narnain  © Dan Bailey -
Beinn Ime from Beinn Narnain
© Dan Bailey -, May 2019

NN2551908485 A direct onward route from Beinn Ime's summit would be too steep and craggy, so first backtrack a few hundred metres. On about the 900m contour, leave the path and make a descending traverse west on rough grassy ground below a band of outcrops. Once overlooking the Bealach a' Mhargaidh, skirt around the right side of a small steep crag, descending steeply to reach gentler - albeit boggy - terrain down on the bealach. Pick up a faint path heading towards Beinn Luibhean. This first bears left before cutting back up right to follow the skyline of the mountain's rocky eastern spur. Thread up through the rock outcrops to reach knobbly ground up on top. The summit cairn sits on top of a little schist crag, and overlooks the road way down at Rest and be Thankful.

NN2431107902 Descend the mountain's blunt southern spur. At first there's a trail of sorts that weaves down through scattered schist outcrops (some nice easy bouldering potential). On the steep, grassy lower slopes the path tends to fade out, so just keep descending almost due south to meet the trail down in Coire Croe.

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