Fhidhleir or Creagach? Let's say "The Butterbridge Corbett"

Route: Stob Coire Creagach (Binnein an Fhidhleir), Butterbridge

Corbetts: Binnein an Fhidhleir

Date walked: 09/12/2018

Time taken: 5.75 hours

Distance: 13km

Ascent: 950m

What is it with Corbetts, exactly :? ? Why do so many of them seem to suffer from identity issues of one sort of another? When it isn't a matter of three hills within shouting distance of each other insisting on all having exactly the same name (the THREE Carn Deargs of Glen Roy, no less :roll: !), it's a single hill in utter existential crisis, sporting multiple names like poor Ben Stacath / Ceann na Baintighearna / Stob Fear-tomhais :crazy: !
Presumably it must be the stress of their also-ran status; nearly-but-not-quite making the Munro grade must play havoc with their mental health I suppose. You have to feel particular sympathy for the Demoted-to-Corbett ones, like poor Beinn an Lochain: "Didn't you used to be a …. Um, oh, sorry …. More tea, vicar?"
Anyway, poor Stob Coire Creagach is yet another Corbett with identity issues :lol: . It isn't even named on OS maps, for pity's sake! And while "Stob Coire Creagach" is its official name according to the SMC, it seems to be popularly known as "Binnein an Fhidhleir" (The Wee Hill of the Fiddler) - although the Ordnance Survey reserve that name for its western Top, rather than for the true summit. Who knows what the heck is going on here :? ?
Anyway, the Name Controversy probably helps to keep it a bit quieter than its more illustrious Arrochar Alp neighbours - which is kind of nice, since it's a surprisingly impressive wee hill. I've driven past it on many occasions, but never gotten round to tackling it.
A combination of a rotten cold, rotten weather and the usual pre-Christmas social whirl nearly scuppered my chances of getting a walk done in December at all, but I unexpectedly found myself with a free day, a good weather window and the lurgie just about having abated, on the Sunday 9th December :) , so I decided to have a look at the Butterbridge Corbett.

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I managed to get an earlier start than expected, and made it up to the big car park on the south side of the road at Butterbridge just before 9 a.m. The sun was just coming up, and the early morning Clag looked to be clearing rapidly from the summits :D .
WR1 - Stob Coire Creagach from car park with Obvious Grassy Gully visible on R.jpg

As per the website route description, I walked a short distance along the A83 to the point where the Glen Kinglas track branches off to the north, then headed north uphill through a gate just at the start of the Glen Kinglas track. It looked a dauntingly steep ascent, but there was at least a path to help at first, and the sun appeared to be shining up there on Binnein an Fhidhleir!
WR2 - Ascent route from gate off Glen Kinglas track.jpg

Both the Walkhighlands website and the Cicerone Corbetts guide mention an "obvious grassy gully" that provides the only easy way up through the first band of crags. The word "obvious" in route descriptions always worries me a bit - sometimes the feature in question turns out to be anything but obvious, at least for the navigationally challenged like myself :lol: - so it was quite a relief to get a bit higher up and discover the Obvious Grassy Gully right enough, just sitting there in a grassy and obvious sort of way.
WR3 - The Obvious Grassy Gully.jpg

As I gained height, a grand view opened up to Beinn an Lochain across on the other side of the A83, with Loch Restil nestled at its feet, and Ben Donich in the distance.
WR4 - Nice view opening up of Beinn an Lochain and Loch Restil.jpg

An even better view of Beinn an Lochain from the Obvious Grassy Gully: presumably dreaming of Munro status and desperately hoping for some unexpected geological upheaval :lol: !
WR5 - Beinn an Lochain as seen from the Obvious Grassy Gully.jpg

A glimpse of a pointy wee hill in the distance up Glen Kinglas - Ben Vane?? or Vorlich?? I'm not sure to be honest.
WR6 - Is that Ben Vane in the distance - not sure.jpg

The ascent was pretty unrelenting right enough, although there was one short section where the gradient eased slightly before the second band of crags.
WR7 - at a brief levelling before the last steep bit.jpg

As I approached the steep and craggy final summit cone, it was a relief to see a second, only slightly less Obvious Grassy Gully that looked as though it should provide an easy way up, again a bit over to the right.
WR8 - second Obvious Grassy Gully to right and craggy final summit cone.jpg

I stopped for a quick glug of water about halfway up the second Grassy Gully, and enjoyed some fine views while I got my breath back. A rather nice into-the-sun shot of Loch Restil and Beinn an Lochain:
WR9 - rather nice into-the-sun shot of Restil and Beinn an Lochain.jpg
Another into-the-sun shot, this time of the Alps with the Cobbler prominent on the right:
WR10 - another into-the-sun shot - Alps with the Cobbler prominent to R.jpg
...And looking north-east up Glen Kinglas:
WR11 - looking NE up Glen Kinglas.jpg

It wasn't far from here to Stob Coire Creagach's summit cairn, where more fine views awaited. Beinn an Lochain yet again; undoubtedly a grand wee hill, even after its unfortunate Demotion!
WR12 - Beinn an Lochain from Stob Coire Creagach summit cairn.jpg

Looking west towards [the real] Binnein an Fhidhleir, with Loch Fyne visible in the distance:
WR13 - Binnein an Fhidleir from Stob Coire Creagach cairn.jpg

Looking NE up Glen Kinglas again:
WR14 - up Glen Kinglas from Creagach cairn.jpg

Another view of the Alps:
WR15 - Alps from Creagach cairn.jpg

Since I'd come all the way up here, it seemed a shame not to visit Binnein an Fhidhleir too. To my surprise, it turns out that most people must also opt to take the short diversion to the Binnein, because there was a fairly good path all the way there and back. The Binnein is a pleasingly rocky wee beast, and it feels quite a distinct hill from its parent Corbett - although the drop between the two summits must presumably be well short of the required 150 metres that would make the Binnein a separate Corbett, I suspect it is well over 100 metres. Anyway, there was a grand view of it from a pretty wee lochan on a shoulder as I approached:
WR16 - Binnein an Fhidleir from small lochan on shoulder - sea loch in distance.jpg

Binnein an Fhidhleir may not be the true summit, but it has much more impressive summit thingamajigs than Stob Coire Creagach: a trig point embedded in a big cairn, no less. Unfortunately I'd neglected to pack my violin, but perhaps just as well - the chilly December breeze would probably have played havoc with the tuning...
A Fyne view out west to Inveraray :D !
WR17 - nice view of - maybe Inveraray - and whatever that particular sea loch is called.jpg

Presumably those must be the Cowal hills over to the left :? ....?
WR18 - rather confusing view - is that Inveraray and Cowall hills to left - not sure at all.jpg

As I looked back east towards Stob Coire Creagach, I was very relieved that I'd managed a reasonably early start, because the dreaded Clag was starting to descend :roll: !
WR19 - looking back to Creagach summit with Clag starting to descend a bit.jpg

Thankfully it didn't take long at all to get back to Creagach's summit cairn. It hadn't completely been swallowed up by the Clag at this point, and there was a nice hazy view down to Loch Restil:
WR20 - back at Creagach cairn with pleasingly hazy view of Restil.jpg

I didn't much fancy trying to find a safe route down through all those crags on descent, especially if I didn't have a clear view of where I was going, so I opted to descend by the longer, but safer, route of Creagach's long and undulating NE ridge, then back to the car park via the Glen Kinglas track.
The NE ridge starts out in grand fashion, being well-defined and mildly craggy in parts, with a bit of a path … needless to say, that doesn't last for too long, however :lol: !
WR21 - looking down humpy NE ridge with a bit of a path at first.jpg

However, after half an hour or so, the undulations started to become a bit irritating - there is a lot more up-and-down on this ridge than is shown on the map; and the path had become intermittent at best. The ridge just seemed to go on for ever without getting much lower, too. I got occasional glimpses down to the Glen Kinglas track, and I was briefly tempted to try to make a short-cut down the steep south side of the ridge, but a quick look at the map soon put me off this idea: there are substantial hidden crags all the way along the southern edge, until the ridge finally ends at a minor hump named on the map as Stoban Dubha.
It was quite a relief to reach Stoban Dubha at last. I was mildly surprised to find its summit marked by a fairly substantial cairn. This would definitely be handy in Clag - don't try to descend before this point :o !
WR22 - Cairn on Stoban Dubha.jpg

From just east of here, a steep but straightforward route becomes visible just to the west of a line of pylons, plodding down long, tussocky grass all the way to the Glen Kinglas track. It was pathless and rather hard work, all the same, and it was a relief to get down to the track at last. There was a fine vista back down the glen, although the Clag really started to congeal at this point, and it even started to rain briefly - something that had definitely not been mentioned in the www.mwis.org.uk forecast for today :roll: !
WR23 - nice view back down Glen Kinglas with Beinn Chorranaich on L and Beinn an Lochain at end.jpg

I think this photo shows why it wouldn't be a good idea to descend too early from the NE ridge: those really are fairly substantial crags along its southern edge :shock: !
WR24 - why not to descend too early from NE ridge - big hidden crags along south edge.jpg

Another grand day out on a fine wee hill that probably deserves to be better known - once it finally makes up its mind what its name is :lol: !

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Comments: 5

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Sub 2000s: Black Craig
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Attachment(s) Munros: Gairich
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User avatar
Activity: Walker
Pub: Kilchoan Hotel
Mountain: Cir Mhor
Place: Arran
Gear: walking poles
Member: none at present
Ideal day out: A multi-peak walk with good views.

Munros: 174
Corbetts: 30
Grahams: 32
Donalds: 19
Hewitts: 2
Sub 2000: 23

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