Cobbler, or Ben Arthur to use the correct name is just short of a
Munro but is still one of Scotland's most spectacular mountains due
to the unusual skyline and fabulous views. The Cobbler is one of a
group of mountains known as 'The Arrochar Alps' and was the happy
hunting ground of many of Scotland's early climbers and climbing
The Cobbler is a serious climb and should not be taken lightly,
especially in winter or conditions of poor visibility as a few steps
in the wrong direction near the top can lead to fatal falls on the
Although not a Munro, The
Cobbler is a hill not to be missed. Its magnificent
shape can be seen clearly on the skyline, and its final
peak is not one for the faint hearted. Located close to
Glasgow (only an hour further north, by road or rail)
its magnificent shape can be seen clearly on the skyline
as you approach the start of the walk.
Starting at the car park
cross over the road and take the new path which zig
zag's up the slope and joins the old path at 1,100ft. At
about 1,050ft a level track is encountered and turn left
to have a welcomed rest on a fairly level walk
southwards for nearly a mile with great views to the
south and Loch Long.
Eventually the track turns
right and the Cobbler with its three summits becomes
clearly visible. Pass a huge tilted boulder and take a
left fork at the track - this is very steep but leads to
the foot of the rocky scramble to the summit ridge.
Follow the track to the right and this leads to the
Cobblers head. Care is required at the summit.
To access The Cobbler by
Road: From the south follow the A82 (T) north along the
banks of Loch Lomond (from the north follow the same
road south) to reach Tarbet. Turn westwards, on the A83
(T), towards Arrochar. Pass through Arrochar, passing
the parking area at the very tip.
Some excellent rock routes for the
adventurous are to be found around the summit.
Walking Up The Cobbler from Arrochar
The old path soon deteriorates into a
very badly eroded track which essentially follows the bed of a hill
burn straight up the slope through 'clearfell' and crossing a forest
track to just over 400 feet. Careful as you look for the way as you
cross the forest track - it doesn't look like a track - more like
the bed of a burn. The path is steep and tiring but quicklt attains
height to provide some excellent views down Loch Long to the south
and over Arrochar to Ben Lomond to the east.
At about 1050 feet a level track is
encountered - turn left here to take a welcome rest on a fairly
level walk southwards for nearly a mile with great views to the
south along Loch long..
Eventually the track turns right and
the Cobbler with its three summits becomes clearly visible.
Following the clearly defined track,
now facing north-west and occasionally rough paved, a small
reservoir on the left is tempting on a hot day as are a series of
photogenic waterfalls a little further upstream.
three peaks are now clearly visible with the figure of the 'crooked
shoe maker' - the Cobbler, clearly distinguishable on the right hand
peak. Pass a huge tilted boulder - often used as a shelter by
animals (and walkers) and in a short time the track forks. Take the
left fork to tackle another steepening track - very hard going when
wet - which leads to the foot of the rocky scramble of two or three
hundred feet to the lowest part of the summit ridge.
As you scramble up this part, take a look up at the immense rock
looming above you - you may see a party of rock climbers tackling
the huge, very challenging, overhang.
Now on the summit ridge, follow the
track - or one of the many tracks to the right which lead to the top
of the Cobbler's head. The last part of this entails a scramble up
some polished slabs which are tricky and treacherous when wet.
Care is required on the summit as the south and east facing sides
are precipitous and unexpected in poor visibility.
Views to the south open up to Loch
Long, Gareloch, the Firth of Clyde, Bute, Arran and the Atlantic
beyond. To the east are views over Arrochar to Loch Lomond, Ben
Lomond and as far as the Lake of Menteith in the hazy distance.
Views to the north take in a huge swath of the highlands with many
well known peaks identifiable with the help of map & compass. The
view to the west is still obscured by the outline of the centre peak
with its difficult access through the eye of the needle.
Head back down to the ridge and west
towards the centre peak. This peak is usually crowded on a good day
by an 'audience' waiting to watch those daring enough to tackle the
To access this centre peak, the walker has to pass through a small
opening in the rock which leads to a narrow ledge facing a 150 ft
vertigo inspiring drop. Once on the ledge an awkward sloping ramp
leads to a final step onto the flat summit rock - on which few
choose to stand upright.
Many never attain the centre peak because of this final obstacle.
Views to the west open up here which
on a clear day can reveal the isles of Jura, Islay and the Atlantic.
You can now follow the track below the
'eye' to the third peak - worth while but not quite as spectacular
as those already visited.
Descend either by re-tracing your
route, or by turning north west from the ridge as you approach the
east peak and descending via a circuitous, less rocky but rather wet
path round the base of the east peak then south east between Cobbler
and Bein Narnain to rejoin the original track at the fork.