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The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel

The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel


Postby jwramsay » Tue May 28, 2013 9:29 am

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

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

Date walked: 25/05/2013

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 1350m

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Followed almost exactly the route from the Walk Highlands website, but parked on the southbound A87 layby right at the END of the walk, where you access the road via the large gate.

This is the end of the walk:
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What a morning for it, I'd picked Peter up in Glasgow at 7am and we never saw a cloud in the beautiful blue sky all the way up the A82 and A87, arriving at the layby at 11am.

The whole of the drive was incredible and cemented what a truly beautiful country we have here in Scotland, so we were disappointed when most of the people we met all weekend had travelled up from England, I mean come on folks, it's right on your doorstep. Anyway, this is preaching to the converted, as if you are reading this report then you already love the Scottish scenery!

The ascent up the hillside is a total delight. a great path with no bog and views opening up all the time to the North of the 5 Sisters of Kintail and the Brothers. In no time at all you reach the col where you gain your first glimpse of the complete Forcan Ridge with the Saddle sitting majestically in the midst.- oh yeah!

Peter appreciating the lovely ascent path - no bog here!:
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Peter and The Forcan Ridge:
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Peter and those sisters:
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The Saddle:
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A skirt around the Meallan Odhar brings you to the start of The Forcan Ridge. At this point you can no longer see The Saddle, it is eclipsed by some of the other tops of the ridge.

Looking back to some of the five sisters:
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If you don't fancy the ridge, you follow the dry stone dyke and go up the descent path from The Saddle,but doing so would miss out on the sheer delight that the Forcan Ridge is.

Looking up to The Forcan Ridge from the decision point:
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View to the ballach from the decision point:
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East to the ridge with the drop off the snout of Faochaig:
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Looking back up Glen Shiel (height diff from here to Cluanie Inn is 700 feet!):
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The start has a nice bit of hands on scrambling with no exposure, if you are troubled by this, take that bypass route along the dyke!

After the initial scramble you come across a flat ridge at 90 degrees to the main ridge, so you get great views watching other climbers attempt the ridge (check my video for a fair bit of footage of 2 couples in front of us tackling this section). I have to admit, what we witnessed looked rather hairy, but as usual, when you get there and try it, it's much easier! And so it turned out to be. Really pretty easy stuff, only pockets of exposure, lots of bypass paths to take if you don't fancy going over the top of the rocks (and unlike the Aonach Eagach ridge bypass paths, these are not roads to nowhere).

The five sisters of Kintail and a few brothers:
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The start looks daunting but it's fine!:
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Climber taking on the steep ascent:
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View over to the 2nd Munro Sgurr na Sgine:
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Ben Nevis and the mamores:
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The Forcan Ridge snakes it's way around to The Saddle:
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Climber on the summit of The Saddle:
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View back up Glen Shiel:
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View North to The Five Sisters of Kintail:
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Steep but ultimately easy ascent lies ahead:
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Peter shows his prowess with the hands on scrambling:
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I was very surprised to reach what I thought was the summit only to see the same again in front of me! I did wonder what had happened to that infamous 10m drop! We hit that soon afterwards. I had a peek at the drop, and I must say that the exposure at both sides is quite significant, especially the right hand side (back to the A87). This is not Aonach Eagach 3000 foot exposure but its quite a drop. All bypass paths so far had been to the right but the guide said to go left, so we did. You drop around 15m into a chimney and then an easy ascent back to the base of the 10m drop. I took looks of video of all of this, so check it out, it shows clearly the main drop and the bypass patch left and the one to the right (which I didn't fancy at all!!)

Peter checks out The Saddle summit - a wonderful sight to behold:
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Looking back at the 10m drop as seen from the next rise:
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Looking closer at the steepness of the 10m descent path:
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The bypass to the left showing the 2nd munro of the day - Sgurr na Sgine:
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The exposure to the right of the 10m drop:
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The couple in front of us, had split up at this point, the (well spoken) man who we met at the trig point followed his son and his wife to the top whilst his wife descended down towards the dyke bypass route - yes escape is doable here unlike on the Aonach Eagach!

We pushed on and gained in confidence, taking on more of the rocks and a final push us to the 1st summit with the cairn. The views to the West and South were amazing! Eigg, Rum, Skye, Knoydart. The views North amazing - Torridon mountains, etc. The view over to Kintail - amazing. The view of the South Glen Shiel Ridge - amazing. All the way over to Ben Nevis and the Mamores - amazing! We could see all the way to the snow topped Cairngorms!

Spidean Mialach and Gleouraich I think:
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The Trig Point, a short distance from the summit cairn:
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Looking back at the Forcan Ridge:
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We then began the descent into the beallach but the path was snow covered, so we zig zagged out way down to the midst of the beallach, from where there was a small Lochan with great reflection of the coastal munro Beinn Sgritheall. A well defined path leads to the ridge and then a fair walk west to reach the summit of the 2nd munro of the day Sgurr na Sgine. Great views here too, although not as good as from the Saddle.

The Forcan Ridge from the descent into the beallach:
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Beallach view over to Beinn Sgritheall:
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The Saddle left of centre and the complete Forcan Ridge as seen from the climb up to the 2nd munro:
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RAF Seaking makes a low pass over The Forcan Ridge:
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Looking at the South Glen Shiel Ridge from the 2nd munro:
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We then headed back and long the ridge to the head of the Corbet Faochag where the official route says leads right back to the A87. I was a bit worried about this, as the sides are near vertical, so it was with some intrepidation that we began the descent. Absolutely no problems here at all, and very recommended means of descent. You then need to cross the river but there are plentiful stepping stones. I was finally worried about the deer fence but there is a large wooden door that opens and you are back on the road and a short walk to the car.

Looking out onto the ridhge to Faochag from 2nd munro:
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Looking back to the top of Faochag:
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We finished at 9:45pm after an 11am start. We took our time, enjoyed the day and got tons of photo and video, which I hope you enjoy.

I must say that this was probably my favourite hillwalk yet and these were my 71st and 72nd munros, so passed that 25% figure at last! I give The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle 10/10 - brilliant!!

We got in the car and drove up to the Cluanie Inn where we pitched out tent on the road to Cluanie Lodge and walked down for a quick pint before chucking out time at 11pm. It was a great pint to round off a truely great day!

Lights out at The Cluanie Inn:
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And the locals come down to eat their grass:
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Youtube video:
Last edited by jwramsay on Tue May 28, 2013 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jwramsay
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Re: The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel

Postby Collaciotach » Tue May 28, 2013 5:43 pm

Yet to do this

Grand pics and report :clap:
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Re: The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel

Postby jwramsay » Tue May 28, 2013 6:08 pm

Video of the Chopper rescue on Kintail here. This RAF seaking flew right over The Saddle first as you see in my video.

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Re: The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue May 28, 2013 8:00 pm

Great report, the passion & enthuasism certainly comes across :D
I am always harping on at my colleagues at my work to get out & enjoy what is on our doorstep, I work with some folk who have hardly been out of Fife, but been to Spain etc, not my idea of fun :wink:
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Re: The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel

Postby Stuart Angus » Tue May 28, 2013 8:29 pm

Very nice J Dubya. Cracking pics, cracking weather, cracking route = Cracking Day :thumbup: Must've been good planning or just plain jammy! :lol: ...........either way, I hope I get weather like that when I do it. :D
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Re: The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel

Postby soapy27 » Tue May 28, 2013 8:35 pm

Great report ,photos and video there :clap: very informative and gives good insight to whats actually involved in the ridge Thanks for this :D
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Re: The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel

Postby jwramsay » Tue May 28, 2013 8:41 pm

Stuart Angus wrote:Very nice J Dubya. Cracking pics, cracking weather, cracking route = Cracking Day :thumbup: Must've been good planning or just plain jammy! :lol: ...........either way, I hope I get weather like that when I do it. :D


Pure dead jammy!

This was our target but I had loads of WH trip reports printed off.

Any mountain in Scotland would have been doable on Saturday, and the major plus was that I never saw 1 midge all day despite being equiped with the Skin So Soft which messed up my rucksack as I'd lost the lid.

Best of luck with the weather!
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Re: The Forcan Ridge and The Saddle up in Glen Shiel

Postby BatleyWalker » Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:37 pm

Superb report and video. Am planning to do the opposite way around but that has been very helpful particularly the 10m drop and the way up The Saddle from the Sgurr na Signe. A lot of snow for late May
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