How to explore the Cobbler in Scotland
With 884 meters, the Cobbler (officially Ben Arthur) isn't a Munro (which are mountains of 3.000 feet, or 914 meter high). But still, the Cobbler is one of the most spectacular mountains of the Scottish Highlands. That is not just our opinion, but also the opinion of a large number of mountaineers and climbers: the Cobbler is one of the few places in the southern Scottish Highlands where you have rock climbing possibilities. Although we would have loved to try this out, we only did a hike to the top to see the iconic 'Needle'.
From our Bed & Breakfast in Arrochar, we only had to walk a few meter to the trail head. The first meter of the hike started pretty tough: an old trail through the forest that ascended quite steeply.
Once we arrived at the stream, the path levels out. Before us, we could see The Cobbler, with the three summits. The center one has the iconic 'Needle', which was clearly visible from miles away. To get to the top of the 'Needle', we had two option: take the 'stairs' or follow the stream. We were advised to follow the stream on our way to the top and take the 'stairs' on our way back. So we did. This required a little bit of scrambling, but it wasn't difficult at all. The last few meters were on a normal path again, and before you realize, you are facing the 'Needle'.
The 'Needle' is so spectacular because it is a square piece of rock with a hole inside. You can crawl through this hole and climb to the top of the 'Needle' via a small ledge. You don't have to be afraid of heights as there is a 100 foot drop below you. And remind yourself that reaching the op isn't too difficult, getting down (while facing the 100 foot drop) is way more intense. As the rock was damp from a previous rain shower, we were unable to climb to the top of the 'Needle', as the rocks are way too slippery when they are wet.
After hanging around for quite some time, we returned to our Bed & Breakfast in Arrochar. Instead of taking the same trail back, we now took the 'stairs'. This is indeed a much more gradual descent, but also more boring. When we arrived at the stream, it started to rain. And when we say rain, we really mean it started pouring down on us. Almost the entire trip back to the Bed & Breakfast, we walked in the rain. But that is Scotland!