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No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

No need to curse on the Forcan ridge


Postby kevsbald » Sun May 24, 2009 7:25 pm

Route description: The Saddle, Forcan Ridge and Sgurr na Sgine

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr na Sgine, The Saddle

Date walked: 24/05/2009

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I had been asked to go to a Rannoch dinner up in Skye and decided to hit a few hills on the way up on the Friday. The Rannoch ethos is a bit bizarre. Par exemple, if one of the group went missing or doesn't turn up from a hill day, there's a fight for that person's dessert before a search party is arranged. Who were this motley crew that I would be dining with? I digress. The drive from Glasgow to Kintail was smooth as we left at 0630. We (Big Al and I), parked at the layby and walked over to a wee gate, where we could make out the excellent stalker's path up to the bealach.
IMG_2870.JPG
From the bealach looking back at the path
It really is a great path and it wasn't long before we popped on to the bealach and my first view of the Saddle was had - it looked quite foreboding but at least it had stopped raining.
IMG_2872.JPG
From the bealach to the Saddle
We strode onwards and upwards before reaching the bottom of the scrambly stuff - I wasn't sure what to expect.
IMG_2876.JPG
Just about to start on the scrambling
Books and reports suggested one or two awkward points. Having done some indoor climbing, I felt comfortable with what lay ahead. The initial part is easy scrambling but it isn't long before you're scrambling with some nice exposure on either side.
IMG_2878.JPG
Looking across to Sgurr na Sgine
I would say about 30 minutes into the scramble, there was one point, which was an awkward pull up a slopey boulder but it was very positive. I could now see the other path, which avoids the ridge completely. The ridge is a must but does require a good head for heights. More excellent scrambling led to a fairly precipitous 20 ft drop. There were two paths off this, which are quite tricky to get down but with care, it shouldn't be a problem. We chose the route more or less straight down, which was interesting and involved down-climbing but with deliberation, we got there.
IMG_2881.JPG
The awkward down-climb/descent
This is an awkward part and will put people off - I think it helped that I had some experience indoors but it doesn't prepare you for the wet and sharp rock you have to grip for. From here, there was a great path all the way to the top and a rewarding view across to the peaks in the other areas.
IMG_2883.JPG
Not far off the summit and looking back
From beginning of the ridge to the summit took us 90 minutes - we were quite quick along this.
IMG_2884.JPG
The Saddle summit - happy chappy
We had lunch and Big Al played some Rammstein (Du hast Milch) - the peace was shattered by his hi-tech faux-pas but it psyched us up for our descent/ascent to Sgurr Na Sgine. Why someone would build a bloody great wall off this hill and down past the bealach is beyond me but by following it, it took us nicely to the bealach and afforded a fine view along the Saddle. We climbed up the side of SnSgine and it wasn't long before we walked along towards the summit cairn - it's a dramatic drop just off the edge of the cairn and there was a perfect wee howff for two to take tea. From there, we decided to descend off Faochag (the whelk) but it meant an excellent view back to Sgurr na Sgine.
IMG_2894.JPG
Sgurr na Sgine from Faochag
The descent off Faochag - my god, it was an unrelenting, quad-bursting descent but done in quick time due to its steepness. My legs are still buggered. Big Al wasn't sure of the pronounciation and after the descent called it 'F**kpig' - I don't think that was quite right though. However, once across the river, that feeling of achievement and a great day on the hill was had and we enjoyed a great drive up to Elgol for a the dinner gathering at Major General Gav's pad - and were rewarded with a wonderful view of the Cuillin ridge at sunset. Dram in hand and legs weary I looked across and revelled in what had been a great day on the hill.
IMG_2905.JPG
Heaven
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby cjwaugh » Sun May 24, 2009 9:48 pm

Great report and pictures Kev cheers :D
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby mountain coward » Mon May 25, 2009 1:05 am

kevsbald wrote:We had lunch and Big Al played some Rammstein (Du hast Milch) - the peace was shattered by his hi-tech faux-pas but it psyched us up for our descent/ascent to Sgurr Na Sgine. Why someone would build a bloody great wall off this hill and down past the bealach is beyond me but by following it, it took us nicely to the bealach and afforded a fine view along the Saddle.


Firstly, the wall would be a boundary wall - they usually traverse at least some bloody awkward places but they give me much comfort knowing at least someone has been there before!;-)

LOL to the Rammstein - that's what I need to do before my scary ascents/descents - take my mp3 player and play myself some Megadeth! :lol:

Great report and pics - I'm glad you included Sgurr na Sgine as I needed to see some pics of it before I do it. Of course I won't be doing the Forcan myself though! How scary would Faochag be for cowards? Is it craggy or super-narrow towards the top? Looks a bit awkward... I'm planning on going up it not down though...
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby kevsbald » Mon May 25, 2009 10:07 am

Hi Mountain C,

it would be far preferable to walk up Faochag, N face but it'll be a fairly steep trudge and it is unrelenting - it's fine until about halfway up but it does get narrow towards the upper section - with care, you'll be fine and it's an airy summit with great drops either side but nothing too exposed. The walk along to the bealach affords fine views of Sgurr na Sgine and the Saddle. The walk back from the bealach between these two Munros would be a joy compared with going back down off Faochag.

Kev
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby Paul Webster » Mon May 25, 2009 10:17 am

Mountain C

Faochag has a path up that steep ridge and there aren't any tricky bits. I don't think you'll feel exposed.

Kevsbald

Great report, good to have a photo of that tricky descent pitch too. Have your photos got slightly vertically stretched? :shock:
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby kevsbald » Mon May 25, 2009 11:20 am

Paul,

I think it might have been because I altered the ratio, due to the pixel limit.
I'll rectify for the next report, the technophobe that I am.
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby Alan S » Mon May 25, 2009 2:51 pm

good report again kev

im heading up that to glen sheil next month but not sure about the saddle yet but would love to do the ridge
i like the last pic best but it would only be heaven if i was there with the fly rod aswell :)
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby kevsbald » Mon May 25, 2009 2:58 pm

Alan,

I'd recommend it. A super hill. There was a girl up there who was scared of heights and she managed it, just by taking her time and opting for easier bits of the ridge - it can be as hard as you make it, if you choose to tackle various bits e.g. the down-climb or an awkward bouldery move with plenty of exposure. But there is good opportunity to come down off wee paths to the right hand side, if need be.

Kev
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby Paul Webster » Mon May 25, 2009 6:13 pm

Kevsbald wrote:Big Al wasn't sure of the pronounciation


I thought it is closer to "For a shag" :D

Actually the pronunciation is here, as there is a Corbett of the same name: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/corbetts/faochaig
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby mountain coward » Tue May 26, 2009 12:33 am

Paul Webster wrote:
Kevsbald wrote:Big Al wasn't sure of the pronounciation


I thought it is closer to "For a shag" :D


And there I was thinking you were very refined Paul! :lol:
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby mountain coward » Tue May 26, 2009 12:35 am

Paul Webster wrote:Mountain C

Faochag has a path up that steep ridge and there aren't any tricky bits. I don't think you'll feel exposed.

Kevsbald



Unless it's hot and I walk it unclothed :wink:
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby mountain coward » Tue May 26, 2009 12:36 am

kevsbald wrote:Alan,

I'd recommend it. A super hill. There was a girl up there who was scared of heights and she managed it, just by taking her time and opting for easier bits of the ridge - it can be as hard as you make it, if you choose to tackle various bits e.g. the down-climb or an awkward bouldery move with plenty of exposure. But there is good opportunity to come down off wee paths to the right hand side, if need be.

Kev


She did The Saddle? or The Forcan Ridge??!!
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby kevsbald » Tue May 26, 2009 9:53 am

MC, she was halfway along the Forcan ridge and saying she'd buy her partner a beer if she got off the hill. I said what about me?
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Re: No need to curse on the Forcan ridge

Postby mountain coward » Tue May 26, 2009 11:18 pm

Ah - that says it all - she hated it!! Don't think I'll do it - I'll send Richard that way and go up the bealach/col way myself... he'll love it!
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