Hillwalking

A dreich day on Fhidhleir



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I noticed this awesome looking ridge a lot recently in the background of some of the other walks I’d done in the area and thought it looked worth a punt. Not many reports on here for it so I was worried it might not have been worth the effort but turns out it was, even if we could hardly see anything with the mist!

My pal Peter came along this time, his first hillwalk so I chose this thinking it was going to be a fairly easy wee day but I was wrong.

We arrived at Butterbridge car park quite late in the day, threw our gear on and we were on the hill for 12pm. Someone had camped right next to the bridge much to our amusement considering it’s right next to the road. I’m sure they would have got a fright during the night when the odd car came flying by.

It was quite a simple enough walk, through the gate near the car park, aim for the gully high up, turn left and keep walking until you reach the trig point.

When you go through the gate you just go straight up the hill along the right side of the fence. It was very thick with grass and fern and we quickly found out how boggy it was. I stuck my foot into the ground about half way up my shin within 10 minutes. So we tread more carefully after that. It was actually steeper and harder than it looks so we were done in quite quickly and had to slow the pace down.

Puggled already!

Puggled already!

You cross over a high style soon after and then it seems like you have a choice. It looked like there was an easy less steep path straight to the left along the fence but we decided to head straight for the gully taking on anything it could throw at us. Which turned out to be the weather!

Heading for the gully.

Heading for the gully.

It was time for lunch after a couple of hours and we found an awesome big rock to hide behind the wind from.

Shelter finally.

Shelter finally.

We then tackled the gully which was pretty steep as we thought, and boggy the whole way up. I never though any hill would be so grassy and boggy still so high up but this was. Lots of rocks scattered about but I don’t think you ever had to scramble across any. We considered cutting up left and missing the grassy gully out but it looked dangerous and didn’t want to risk it in the rain and with the mist fast coming in on us. So we just stopped for some posing near the top instead!

Couple of posers.

Couple of posers.

Couple of posers.

Couple of posers.

As soon as you get to the top we were treated to quite a far view of the hills behind. I don’t really know what was there as the mist covered a lot of it. Turning to the left, we were treated to this (lack of) view of the first summit.

No view.

No view.

We hit the top quite easily though, but the cairn was so small we didn’t think it was the true summit. We were expecting a trig point there seeing as Stob Coire Creagach is the highest point but we both chucked a stone on there for good measure anyway.

Pure joy!

Pure joy!

The next hour or so was pretty messy. The rain was heavy, the mist was thick and we didn’t realise it would take so long to get to the next summit of actual Binnein an Fhidhleir. There was a second summit before that though which we somehow missed due to the mist! After a long slog, and safely creeping past some angry looking sheep we eventually reached the trig point and the clouds cleared just long enough for us to appreciate the view all around. And also some more posing.

What's that over there?

What’s that over there?

Again, the way back was very messy. The mist came back with a vengeance and my GPS wasn’t updating in real time on the back side of the hill for some reason so every 10 minutes we’d realise we were off course and had to turn to correct it as the GPS track shows. For a descent, we seemed to do a hell of a lot of ascending which wasn’t good for our motivation.

Wait for me!

Wait for me!

We made it back to the gully, thinking it looked a bit treacherous to go back down and it was a quite dodgy at times with the wet rock and grass. The sticks were out to help the old knees!

Low cloud incoming.

Low cloud incoming.

We managed to spot all sorts of wildlife on the way down too. The rain brought out loads of slugs and frogs. A baby dear was spotted on the flattish section running about and also some sheep that looked frozen in stone.

Plenty of these guys to avoid squashing.

Plenty of these guys to avoid squashing.

All in all, it was an awesome day out. Clocked in at six hours which is probably longer than normal but we really took our time and stopped quite a lot. Never spotted a soul the whole day though so I reckon it’s not a very popular hill to walk. I say go for it though! It was quite steep in places, but no rocky scrambles. Just some major boggy sections to watch out for. There were also a few gaping holes a foot or two wide that could cause some damage in the snow if you don’t notice them.

Just a shame the weather was terrible. I fancy it again on the clear, dry day, so I can actually see where I’m going.

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