If you have read my previous posts on hiking, you will know that a hike never comes easy to me. I absolutely LOVE it, but there is always one thing that doesn’t quite work. When I hiked Goatfell in Arran, with my very bad choice in footwear, I fell on the way down. Twice. The first time I attempted to tackle Hiking The Cobbler , I ended up just walking around the base of an entirely different mountain for 10km. I put those two up to teething problems and decided to tackle Hiking The Cobbler once more. Feeling prepared and confident, what could go wrong this time? Try almost getting blown off the side of the mountain!

The morning of hiking The Cobbler was quite dull and grey but clear enough. Stepping off that bus in Arrochar, you really feel the temperature difference from the city and the Highlands. It was bitter! Eager to get our blood pumping we marched off with the other early morning hikers and made our way to the start of the trail.

Hiking The Cobbler
The head of Loch Long

Starting in Arrochar

Arrochar is a small village in Scotland, located near  the head of Loch Long in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. It’s one of those places I used to all the time when I was younger. It’s far enough away that it feels like you are in another world but close enough that it’s only about a 40 minute drive from Glasgow. Absolutely stunning in the summer, absolutely freezing in the winter.

So off we went to start our hike, with the path winding in a dizzying zig zag. The trail was steep and rocky to begin with, but by the end of this hike I would be longing for that winding rocky path again! After 20 minutes we came across a bench, and realised we had basically just walked the trail to the trail. The real work was still to come!

Hiking The Cobbler

The Serenity of Nature

I think my favourite part of a hike is just before you get to the real, mountain scaling trail, you always walk through a forest first. Or at least in my experience you do. There is something so peaceful and calming about the woods. Being in complete quiet except for your own thoughts and the odd song bird. I think about hiking sometimes and how it’s such a strange hobby. You go on these long adventures with friends and then spend hours not speaking to one another. Just be in each others company, but in your own heads. It’s pretty amazing, don’t you think?

As we cleared the forest the sky followed suit. The clouds were parting, the sun was shining. It was still absolutely freezing, but at least everything looked a little bit prettier. The stream of rainfall that was running down the path was turning to ice the higher we got untill, at one point, it was almost completely covered in a sheet of ice. After roughly 20 minutes of watching every step I made trying not to fall on my face, we hit the snow.

Hiking The Cobbler

Wait, We Have to Walk in the Snow?

Now, I’ve since learned that hiking in snow is a monster in its own right. If you have never hiked in snow before and you find yourself suddenly on the side of a white coated mountain I wish you luck. This soon became on of the most stressful couple of hours of my life. I was thankful in a sense because snow is considerably less slippery than ice. But snow that has been treaded on all day and flatted into the ground I would argue is even worse! If the scenery wasn’t so stunningly beautiful I would have hated it.

Hiking The Cobbler Hiking The Cobbler Hiking The Cobbler

Remember when I said I felt prepared and confident for hiking The Cobbler? Turns out being prepared for a snowy hike in 30mph winds is a different kind of prepared. My level of prepared was for the likes of a leisurely stroll. Nevertheless I was having a great time! I was a Saturday so the trail was very busy. You had your “Just going for a walk with my nice coat and a coffee” type people. Your “We’re hiking but aren’t entirely sure what we’re doing” type people, like us. And then there were you “Snow spikes on the bottom on my snow boots, climbing picks and full ski mask” people. THEY were prepared. They knew exactly what they were doing.

Make it to the Summit For Bragging Rights, or Not Die?

We decided we valued our lives more than bragging rights. The wind was so crazy it was picking the snow up of the mountain. We coudln’t see a thing. The path was gone. The only people left were the spiked-shoe-pros who were getting out their ice picks and harnesses. So we turned back. We didn’t make it to the summit. But hey, at least we climbed the right mountain this time, right?!

The trepidation I felt on the way up about falling and breaking my neck was gone. My hands weren’t numb, they were burning with the cold. I felt like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant (too much?) I wanted so badly to not be up to my shins in snow anymore. Please give me that icy path again? I will happily slide down on my back if it means I can have a nice hot cuppa.

Hiking The Cobbler

After a nice big meal looking out over Loch Long and that long awaited cuppa, we headed back to Glasgow just as the sun was setting. Attempt Number 3 of Hiking The Cobbler is coming this Spring. I ASSURE you that I will make it to the summit this time! If it’s the last thing I do I will stand on the top of The Cobbler before the year is up!

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Hiking The Cobbler

 

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43 thoughts on “Hiking The Cobbler Take Two: We (Almost) Made It”

  1. Omg we must be hiking soul sister! I am such a disaster prone hiker! Whether its going the wrong way and having to climb on my hands and knees up a mountain in the Andes in Ecuador, or sliding my way down a cloud forest mountain in Colombia, or trying to hike the Inca Trail and straight up having to turn back, I totally feel you, girl. Crossing my fingers for #3!

  2. Love this! I love hiking but like you am never really prepared. I would have been clueless coming up the mountain with all that snow! Great job making it as far as you did. Excited to hear about when you do make it up!!

  3. One of the most important things in hiking is knowing when to stop, return and/or quit. I did it a few times and don’t regret – safety first 🙂
    all this said… the photos are stunning, Chiera! I was hiking near the area (on West Highland Way in summer, the wintery landscape is just something else!
    I want to go back to Scotland and hike some more. I just had a tiny taste – not enough! Your post makes me think of returning to Highlands for some more walking! 🙂

    1. Yeah I definitely would not survived if we had tried to go further! I used to always say I would to the West Highland Way on my 16th birthday… I’m 25 and stil haven’t done it. Procrastination at it’s finest! haa

  4. Love this story! This kind of stuff always happens to me too. When I was studying abroad in Canada 8 of us attemped a hike we definitely shouldn’t have, that ended up with snow crossings, getting lost in the forest (where no one in the world knew we were there) and eventually turning back without even making it to the lake we were trying to get to, even though we had been walking 4 and a half hours! It was a loooong walk. And one girl was wearing Wellington boots… talk about unprepared! This really inspires me to get out and do some more hikes in Scotland though! Plus I just got a car so bring it on 😀

  5. Don’t they say three is the magic number? 🙂 I’m glad you turned around – as I was reading this and saw the pictures of the snow, I thought how dangerous it looked with just trainers and no crampons! If you come back on a sunny day, also consider Beinn Ime behind the Cobbler – it’s such a beautiful view from the top!!

  6. Very funny post! This is how I am when I’m hiking…looking around and realizing that I’m not meant to hike…I’m more of a walker. Spring sounds like a better time to be hiking mountains anyways…All the best!

  7. Haha loved reading this! Think the snow would’ve scared me off! Great effort for getting as far as you did!! Wicked pictures too – it looks very picturesque even if not practical!

  8. Coming from a complete hiker disaster I really enjoyed reading this, setting off with such high hopes and then having to basically choose to live haha. Well done for getting that far I wonder how many attempts it will take you!

  9. I love Scotland! But I am not as fond of hiking on ice and snow! I only did it once and it was just a few little patches of leftover ice…but I am not a super experienced hiker so it made things more difficult. I only wiped out once though! Your pictures are beautiful!

  10. Good luck on all your endeavor! I haven’t thought of hiking through a snowy mountain before I read your post. I always thought that walking on the snow requires more effort because it might be slippery. I did hiking before but not with snow. We do not have it here in the Philippines.

  11. What a great trip. The scenery is absolutely stunning! Not going to lie though, I would have turned back well before you did; I’m a wimp when it gets cold 🙂

  12. Good decision to not carry on – and you still managed to take some stunning photos. I love your descriptions of the different type of hikers – I’m definitely in the second group like you though with the ability of the first, coffee-drinking variety!
    #farawayfiles

  13. I really hate hiking in the snow. I loved reading this and I so want to climb this for myself! Saved for my next trip to Scotland.

  14. A+++ for effort, determination and common sense. Love how you have learned so much along the way and still want to go back and try more. There’s some stunning scenery captured too. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  15. Too bad you didn’t make it to the summit, but the hike looks beautiful and hope you make it on your third try. Hiking in snow is no easy feat especially a hike like Cobbler. You mad it quite far it seems without proper hiking gear. Thanks for sharing.

  16. How could something look so spectacular and gruesome at the same time?! I LOVE hiking, something about being one with nature and being alone with your thoughts. I find it very peaceful and enjoyable. Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. Never mind that you didn’t quite make it (and for very sensible reasons too), your photos are breathtaking so it was definitely worth it, right? Really enjoyed the story and very much looking forward to reading Part 3. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

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