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Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp


Postby mrssanta » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:32 pm

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

Date walked: 08/07/2013

Distance: 14.5 km

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Well lots of folks have written excellent reports recently about these two hills so I just drop in my two pennorth on our smashing week we have just had in Kintail. How to start writing about it? words and pictures don't do it justice, but as much as anything I do this so that I can enjoy the experience all over again in the future.
CW&H was on a residential week playing her cello so we dropped her off at noon on sunday the 7th and drove up to Kintail, via tea at our favourite place, the Real Food Cafe. With a bit of trepidation we got out of the car at 8pm planning to walk and camp with smidge and headnets at the ready. but there was a lovely wee breeze and so they were not necessary. What a delightful fragrance as we set off walking, with bog myrtle and meadowsweet to start with, and wild thyme as we climbed uphill. I always stuff a sprig of myrtle behind my ear as I love it so much.

We went up the usual excellent stalkers path which traverses up the hillside reaching a flat area at about 600m where we camped not far from the start of the Forcan Ridge.
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First view of Forcan Ridge from the North

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how's this for the view from your sitting room?

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- and from your kitchen while eating breakfast

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orchid

Not a midge to be seen anywhere and after a comfortable night we struck camp and stashed our stuff in an orange bag under a rock (easily visible from the ridge as it happens!)

having heard a lot about the Forcan Ridge we were a bit nervous but in fact it was all very doable particularly if you are a lover of bypass paths, and it was a dramatic climb with bits of cloud blowing in from the South side and bright sunshine on the north. We were up on the top just before ten am, unfortunately a bit of cloud blew in at this point so no view from the top but we got plenty of views the rest of the day so no fretting was necessary.
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dramatic mist

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more dramatic mist

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view to the summit

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view to the summit from the start of the "bad step" off Sgurr na Forcan. Over here, right? Er, no. we went down the gully to the north (left) and bypassed it safely.

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Rudolph on the top. although he says it hardly counts as evidence, as the tiny piece of rock you can see could be anywhere. However, I was there, so I can tell you it is true.

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me on the top.

The path then goes down and up to the second top with the trig point, then down following an old wall.
I am fascinated by these walls and why they were built, by whom. Were they built as boundary walls, famine walls, or what? If anyone has any information on these I would love to know.
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sea pinks

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one of the wee lochans at the bealach, looking over to the first three sisters.

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interesting rock

There are remnants of a wall or fence all the way from The Saddle to Sgurr na Sgine which we followed from the Bealach Coire Mhalagain to the second summit of the day, reaching the top of Sgurr na Sgine just before noon. Here we were just under the cloud base but much of the South Cluanie ridge was in the cloud.
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Rudolph on the top of Sgurr na Sgine

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and me.

Retracing our steps to the Bealach Coire Mhalagain, we came across two lads whom we assumed were Canadian (as they spoke a mixture of French and transatlantic English). They were carrying enormous packs and walking the Cape Wrath Trail. They had just walked up from Kinloch Hourn and were heading for Shiel Bridge for the night. We were a bit faster as we had only stuff for the day.

We found our way back to our campsite following the wall traversing from the bealach to the foot of the Forcan Ridge. After picking up our stuff all that remained was the walk back down the stalker's path to the car for a change of socks and tops before the next adventure!
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From the top of the stalker's path, looks a long way down, steep, but these stalkers path builders knew how to build paths at the right gradient.

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view up Glen Shiel


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mrssanta
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby Alan S » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:06 pm

Well done mrsS
I loved this route and have always said I will be back, A wild camp looks tempting 8)

Cheers
Alan
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:21 pm

Ah you did get a great week for Kintail - though maybe a little too hot?? :shock:
Great to see you in the Saddle - want to have a go myself in a fortnight on the way to a weekend on Skye.
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:50 am

Great to see you got this midge free and in good weather. :D

I'm planning an excursion with a group up Sgurr na Sgine via Faochag and down by the corrie to the east - mainly because we used your stalker's path last summer when we did the Forcan ridge and it's nice to try something different. Could you see much of a path heading east off Sgurr na Sgine's summit? My grandson (10) wants to come so it would be good to have some reassurance it's doable! 8)
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:29 pm

Good stuff Mrs S and a nice idea to camp esp without the midges. Didn't manage the ridge last year but am hoping to sometime - think I'd prefer a light day sack though ! - cheers :)
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby Graeme D » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:12 pm

Very sweet. Shamefully still on my to-do list! :roll:
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby jonny616 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:13 pm

One of my fav walks. Lovely 8)
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby SusieThePensioner » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:20 pm

Glad to see you out camping again and a great report, mrs s :thumbup:
Some lovely photos :D
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:34 pm

Good stuff and a grand camping spot :clap:

Most of these dyke's where put up from 1792 , Bliadhna nan Caoraich (Year of the sheep) onwards and marked the "great sheep walks" made up of the cleared population's various common hill ground. The height of this madness was during the Napleonic wars , when mutton was in huge demand and the Highland pasture's after hundreds of years of good husbandry ,meant 1st class grazings for the landlords sheep .....once the folk were dispersed.

Many had to work on these dykes in return for a "holding" usually not large enough to support the family.

Fuadach nan Gaidheal :(
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby quoman » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:43 pm

well done Mrs S...this walk is still in my top 5 hills what a place it is.
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby mrssanta » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:51 pm

quoman wrote:well done Mrs S...this walk is still in my top 5 hills what a place it is.

was a smashing day indeed.
Collaciotach wrote:Good stuff and a grand camping spot :clap:

Most of these dyke's where put up from 1792 , Bliadhna nan Caoraich (Year of the sheep) onwards and marked the "great sheep walks" made up of the cleared population's various common hill ground. The height of this madness was during the Napleonic wars , when mutton was in huge demand and the Highland pasture's after hundreds of years of good husbandry ,meant 1st class grazings for the landlords sheep .....once the folk were dispersed.

Many had to work on these dykes in return for a "holding" usually not large enough to support the family.

Fuadach nan Gaidheal :(

thanks for that information, I had thought it would involve some kind of injustice right enough.
SusieThePensioner wrote:Glad to see you out camping again and a great report, mrs s :thumbup:
Some lovely photos :D

thanks susie, it was such a good day hard to take a bad one, my wee camera screen is not very bright and often I can't see what I'm taking at all!
jonny616 wrote:One of my fav walks. Lovely 8)
thanks
Graeme D wrote:Very sweet. Shamefully still on my to-do list! :roll:

you'll get there eventually, I've waited a long time for this one!
rockhopper wrote:Good stuff Mrs S and a nice idea to camp esp without the midges. Didn't manage the ridge last year but am hoping to sometime - think I'd prefer a light day sack though ! - cheers :)

you'll probably do the whole south kintail in a oner with these two going by your recent exploits!
dogplodder wrote:Great to see you got this midge free and in good weather. :D

I'm planning an excursion with a group up Sgurr na Sgine via Faochag and down by the corrie to the east - mainly because we used your stalker's path last summer when we did the Forcan ridge and it's nice to try something different. Could you see much of a path heading east off Sgurr na Sgine's summit? My grandson (10) wants to come so it would be good to have some reassurance it's doable! 8)

I don't think you could go East from Sgurr na Sgine summit, because it is a cliff both to east and north. you can probably go southwest from the summit and then round East to the Bealach an Toiteil where you could then go downstream and pick up the stalkers path off the south cluanie ridge, but I would not like to comment on any paths there. This is the route Steven Fallon recommends on his website for continuing to Sgurr a bhac chaolais.
weaselmaster wrote:Ah you did get a great week for Kintail - though maybe a little too hot?? :shock:
Great to see you in the Saddle - want to have a go myself in a fortnight on the way to a weekend on Skye.

hot indeed. It got hotter later in the week, I'm still writing the report for that one.
Alan S wrote:Well done mrsS
I loved this route and have always said I will be back, A wild camp looks tempting 8)

Cheers
Alan

thanks Alan, it is really a very good campspot with running water not far away as well.
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Re: Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine with high camp

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:37 am

"I don't think you could go East from Sgurr na Sgine summit, because it is a cliff both to east and north. you can probably go southwest from the summit and then round East to the Bealach an Toiteil where you could then go downstream and pick up the stalkers path off the south cluanie ridge, but I would not like to comment on any paths there. This is the route Steven Fallon recommends on his website for continuing to Sgurr a bhac chaolais."

Yes, that's what I had in mind - round east to the Bealach an Toteil. I read somewhere someone had done that with a large entourage including kids for his last Munro - which is what gave me the idea. :D Or we could descend by the stalker's path for the Saddle. Just don't fancy going down Faochag for the poor old knees! :lol:
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