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Report on Stob Coire Creagach
29 December 2007   (3315 views)

Stob Coire Creagach, 817m, Arrochar Hills

A report on a walk undertaken by club members Keith and Anita, along with former club associate Guy Hansford.

We?d originally thought of joining Irene on Ben Challum last Saturday but with the days being so short, my snails pace and a relatively late start, I thought better of it. I?d never have got to the top and back before it got dark ? and I?m not a happy chap when I have to turn back!

So then an alternative was needed and a hill much looked at over the years but never climbed seemed to be the answer. Stob Coire Creagach at 817m seemed a much more modest target. It?s situated overlooking Glen Kinglas not far from the top of the Rest and Be Thankful and rises very steeply from the road to the summit offering a short if strenuous day.

Guy decided to join us and despite the relatively short walk we went for an early start and after collecting him from Kilwinning station at 6.40am we headed up to Arrochar in the gloom. By the time we arrived at the top of Rest and Be Thankful there was a small amount of light in the sky ? enough anyway for Nita and Guy to see both fairly low cloud and snow. It started raining almost immediately as we booted up and by the time we set off at 8.20 am there was just about enough daylight for me to see. In these conditions though, Nita wears a little set of flashing lights (originally designed for cyclists I think) around the top of her boot so that I can more easily follow her in the gloom. At least being near Christmas she looked quite festive and it did stop me from falling into too many ditches for the first part of the walk!

The Corbetts guide book did say this route was unrelentingly steep ?and it was right. We were quickly looking down on the road below and above us the first band of big crags loomed. The route led up a big steep grassy gully that cut diagonally through the rocks and it looked and was quite impressive. Needless to say, many stops were required just to admire the view!

Above the gully the gradient eased considerably for a short way and about here we met both the snow and cloud. The second and larger band of crags, (looking exceedingly steep in their covering of snow) rose up ahead and at their base we decided it was time to get out the axes and crampons. In places like this we normally let Guy pick the route, although whether this is wise is sometimes debatable, he likes a challenge! On this occasion though I don?t think he could have picked an easier or less steep route, it was all steep. The way was long and in places made for a very steep scrabble / scramble, using the picks of our axes banged into the snow covered turf to haul ourselves up. It was quite exhilarating though especially when higher up the cloud briefly thinned and a weak sunshine lit up the snow covered hill around. Finally after much swearing (on my part) and almost three and a half hours, we arrived at the small cairn marking the summit. Success!

Descending by the same route wasn?t really an option so we set the compass and headed off along the NE ridge, a knobbly affair with little on it of any visual note to assess our position. Despite this we resisted the temptation to get out the GPS and instead decided after walking about 2 km that we?d gone far enough along the ridge to avoid the major crags and so cut down steep grass for what seemed an age before reaching the track in the base of the glen ?just as it was getting dark. We got back to the car at around 4.45pm.. a great winter day, but I think Ben Challum might have been slightly easer! I?ll wait to read the report.

Keith Salmon

Getting steeper
Guy pointing the way
Below the summit
Heading towards the steep
The first gully
view from first gully
on the final steep
putting on crampons

Photos: Keith Salmon

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