Now that the freelance season has come to a close, it was time to reunite with friends for a weekend getaway to Arrochar, nestled at the head of Loch Long in Argyll and Bute. While many people opt for destinations like the Fort William area or Cairngorms for their Scottish trips, Arrochar holds a special place in my heart, and the fact that it's only a five-hour drive from home makes it all the more appealing. This marked our fifth visit to this beautiful area in as many years.
Arrochar serves as an excellent base for those who wish to explore the numerous Munros in the vicinity. Within a 30-minute drive, you can access car parks for Ben Lomond, Ben Lui, Ben Vorlich, and many more. Additionally, from the village itself, you can embark on hikes to summit Beinn Ime, Ben Narnain, and the famous Cobbler, (even though this doesn't hold the Munro status.)
Our journey began on a Thursday afternoon, with the first evening spent at the Village Inn, enjoying a few beers and food. We planned our trip for the next day, which was meant to be a leisurely outing and an opportunity to catch up with Amanda and Lyndsey, as we hadn't seen each other in a non-professional capacity for nearly 12 months.
Friday's Walk in the Sunshine:
On Friday morning at 9:30 AM, after indulging in a hearty Scottish breakfast, we set out from our hotel. Our route took us to the end of Loch Long and then to Glenloin House, where we joined the marked path on OS maps, part of the "Three Lochs Way." Initially, the path was obscured by overgrown Rhododendrons, and we had to push through without signs of recent activity. However, we soon reached a well-used path that led us to the base of Cruach Tairbeirt, standing at only 415 meters. There was no marked path on OS maps leading to the summit (as paths in Scotland are not mapped as extensively as in England and Wales), but someone had placed white arrows on the trees within the forest to guide us. After about an hour of walking and chatting, we reached the summit.
The summit featured a Trig point offering fantastic views of the nearby Lochs (Long, Lomond, and Sloy) as well as the surrounding Munros, (too numerous to list here). After capturing all the breathtaking scenery in photos, we descended to Tarbet and joined the Three Lochs Way path for our return to the hotel.
Cruach Tairbeirt proved to be a delightful hill, with the potential for stunning views on the right day. It is unquestionably worth a visit if you have a few spare hours to spare.
Saturday: Rest and Thankful:
On Saturday's hike, we were joined by Deb, Colin, Tom, and Sian. Our journey commenced from the car park at Rest and Thankful, a name derived from a stone inscribed with these words by soldiers who constructed the original road (a military road) in 1753. Our path led us to Ben Donich, a Corbett standing at 847 meters. Though the first stop was Coire Culach at 660 meters. Surprisingly, we encountered a few hikers descending, although I wasn't aware that this mountain was quite popular. Unfortunately, unlike the previous day, the weather conditions were less favorable, and we were predominantly enveloped in clouds as we ascended to the summit. The cold weather at the top discouraged us from lingering, so we promptly took photos and enjoyed a quick snack.
Upon descending, we headed southeast off the main path toward the Brack. The journey took us off the beaten track and required patience as we navigated the contours around crags, streams, and steep sections. At the 575-meter point (marked on OS maps), we stumbled upon a sizable cairn unlisted on the maps, and the clouds lifted to reveal spectacular views down the valley. This area showcased remarkable rock formations, with deep rock crevices harbouring their own unique ecosystems—a true geologist's dream.
Finally, we re-joined the forest track and made our way back to the cars.
In conclusion, it was a remarkable trip with wonderful friends, and I'm already looking forward to our next adventure together.