No matter how worried we should be about the latest record-breaking temperatures in Scotland and across Europe, it does provide some cracking opportunities to get out there and enjoy our wonderful country. I took advantage of our latest heat wave and we decided to return to a much-loved hill, Ben Arthur, aka ‘The Cobbler’.
Parking on the side of Loch Long at Succoth, the path onto the hill is well marked and easily found. The numbers of walkers were relatively few given the excellent forecast in the middle of the local school holidays. Perhaps the heat warnings had put people off.
A shared love
One of the joys of walking up a hill are the other users, some of whom you get to talk to along the way. The Cobbler didn’t disappoint. Three young Glasgow-based women who had taken to hill walking during lockdown, no boots, map or much relevant experience. One got that summit picture and passed us on the way down, inspired to return to the city, join a walking club and get back into climbing, having seen others on the rock faces of the Cobbler.
The Irishman who started the day reading his book by Loch Long but who couldn’t resist an afternoon ascent on this most beautiful of days.
The young man on holiday with his Scottish wife whom he had left with her parents, and he had taken himself off for some adventures in the hills. He claimed to have walked in the Himalayas but said that walking in Scotland presented greater challenges and greater rewards.
The heart-in-mouth moment as the free climber (solo, with no rope) took off up the right-hand face of the mountain and picked his way carefully to the top. Free climbing is not for the faint hearted and I have reached an age where I realise that it is not a spectator sport that I enjoy.
Get out there!
The Cobbler walk involves a distance of 7.8 miles and a height gain of 2,895 feet, according to my Strava. Remember to wear sunblock on our best days and have a long sleeve shirt to cover up. Once you are out of the trees, you are exposed in the sun for hours and need to protect yourself accordingly. Finally, enjoy it. We live in a great country. Some of us are fortunate and know this already. Others are just coming round to this realisation. Whatever group you are in, get out there and enjoy it, but enjoy it safely.