Stob an Fhithich (Ardlui, Loch Lomond) - 419m
Monday 25th January 2016

Weather/Conditions: Nice day of pale, weak sunlight. Very windy at any altitude, but dry and bright enough.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 3.6km / 500m / 2h 25m
Accompanying: Alone

This was a day of a couple nice discoveries, well worth the trip out. Stob an Fhithich is actually a low subsidiary top of the far more massive Ben Vorlich, and I visited the summit primarily for completeness while on a broader walk - I went primarily to look at the large open-book crag high up on the hillside.

The banks of Loch Lomond are scattered with attractive looking crags, but having walked around a number of them, their rock quality lets them down and often a visit becomes an underwhelming experience.

I left the road and followed the stream up onto the hillside. Almost immediately I stumbled upon the twin Ardlui blocs, which had just previously been climbed out, giving some pretty hard problems. Chalk was evident, but they did not look overly-developed either. It's a quiet spot, for sure.

I continued up the forest to the big open crag at the top of the hillside. This cliff has a steeply overhanging back wall, a bit like Dumbuck in shape and size. But the schist is flaky, and does not lend itself to good lines. The side wall of the cliff is more impressive. And it looks a bit more solid and featured, too. These lines would need a good bit of cleaning, something there for whoever wishes to go up first armed with stakes and brushes!

It was nice to have a look, but as usual these Loch Lomond crags are always a little underwhelming - which is unfortunate really. Otherwise it would be a perfect area to climb in. I always think the top of Loch Lomond is disproportionately wild and rough, with boulders and birch forests toppling down the slopes. I love the place, so any criticism is solely in the context of the rock climbing alone.

Stob an Fhithich itself was a windswept detour to the summit. Views from the top extended down lonely Srath Dubh-uisge, then I disappeared back down the slope and to the car. I'd thought about bouldering on the Ardlui blocs but the elbows were sore from previous days of climbing.

Instead I drove to Glen Croe for a look at Precious, the mega prow in the forest just above the road. Having had a look, I abbed down the top and tried many of the moves. On this first day I linked a majority of the moves, with just the central crux section to work out. It immediately became a project, and in the long term would be one of the best bouldering experiences I've ever had.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 11.10pm Parking
(1.25) 12.35pm Stob an Fhithich
(2.25) 1.35pm Parking
Written: 2018-10-03