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Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail


Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:06 am

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

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

Date walked: 25/08/2014

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 1350m

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It looked like everything had stacked up for a wonderful day on the Saddle and up the Forcan Ridge. The weather was stunning, barely a cloud to be seen and we were joined by our son who was home for a few days holiday and he could provide extra mountaineering skills when I got jittery on the ridge. The canine part of the team wouldn't be joining us, but treats had been organised for them. So early start and off along the A87 to get to the start of the walk by 9:15.

First glimpse of the Saddle and the route down from Faochag
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Once we got out of the car we were a bit surprised at the strength of the wind, but it would keep us cool on the route up. From the A87 the path is clear and zig zags easily up to the coll between Biod an Fhithich and Meallan Odhar. For some reason I seemed to be walking more slowly than was usual even for me, but then I'd had a month off the hills with a gut problem that had been reluctant to clear up so I put the slowness down to that and assumed I would gradually speed up. :?

Sleeping beauty or Rip van Winkle?
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Glen Shiel to the west
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Glen Shiel to the east
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After a brief rest we carried on until we got the first full views of the Forcan Ridge, by which point we were high enough to be feeling the wind again.

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At this point there was a family conflab – to Forcan or not to Forcan? For: it looked great, it would be a challenge, the conditions were dry and great visibility. Against: very gusty wind, I didn't seem to be moving easily in the hills (and to be honest am a well known coward :shock: ). Outcome: we'd go for the bypass path. It was with a mixture of relief and disappointment that I headed for the bypass – the other two were very gracious in missing out what would have been the most interesting part of the route for them. :clap:

The bypass path itself isn't a doddle, it follows the remains of a drystane dyke though a boulder field, and then up a fairly steep ascent though more boulders and scree before coming out just below the trig point from which we accessed the main summit. Once at the top the morning's hard work to get here was all worth while – the views were just stunning (once the humans move :lol: ).

Pleased to be here :lol:
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Twin peaks
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Beinn Sgritheall and the Cuillins
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Ladhar Bheinn
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The Ben
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Saddle and sisters
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The wind was still too strong to want to have lunch high up so we set off down the path for some shelter and food.

The route down
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The un-Forcan-ed Ridge
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It was only when going down that the problem I'd been having all morning became painfully clear – some over enthusiastic gardening had caused a back problem. So what to do? We could come off the hill the way we'd come or continue up Sgurr na Sgine.

Sgurr na Sgine
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Sgurr na Sgine looked relatively benign and although I knew the descent off Faochag would be hard I didn't really fancy descending the way we'd come up either. So Sgurr na Sgine here we came :? :? – no more disappointments for this walk. With hindsight I'm happy with this call but at the time what it meant was a very slow (and for me uncomfortable) walk, which was perhaps rather unkind for my companions :( Still the day was lovely and the views worth the effort. :D

North Glen Shiel siblings
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After a photo shoot and tea break on the summit of Sgurr na Sgine we set off for the final part of the walk.

Ladhar Bheinn and Knoydart
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Sgurr na Ciche
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Loch Quoich Hills
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South Glen Shiel Ridge
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Northwest view from Sgurr na Sgine
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Cheesecake perhaps
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Father and son
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Coming off Sgurr na Sgine I chatted to a walker from Skye who seemed to climb these hills often, and added his warning about the bone crunching nature of the descent to all those I've read on WH.

The Saddle and Forcan Ridge
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Faochag and the route down
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A final view of Beinn Sgritheall and the Cuillins
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All I can say about the descent was that it was slow painful and best not pondered on. One bright spot – I noticed a large white heather plant – I've never seen white heather growing in the wild before – but that could be because I don't usually move at this speed. (No photo – didn't have the energy to get the camera out of the bag). We were over taken, or at least caught up, by everyone else who was doing this route that afternoon, but that meant we got down to the car with a bit of welcome banter.

After a quick de-boot we were off into Inverness and a well earned fish supper before home and an email to the dog sitter to let her know all was well. And the back – well 10 days later still a bit stiff, but not impeding some gentle hillwalking. :D
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby Silverhill » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:36 am

Wow fantastic pictures and what a great walk! 8) Good to know about the by-pass path in case of gusty winds. Well done on that steep descent with your back!
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby Johnny Corbett » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:12 am

Stunning, the photos are superb. All the classic ridge walks i did, i done on a good day with the exception of this one but i will return on a fine day, more so now after this report. :D
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:36 am

What a day you had for the walk! Really inspiring photies that brought back some great memories from earlier this year. :clap:
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby litljortindan » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:07 pm

Excellent pictures. A pity about the Forcan ridge but I certainly wouldn't fancy it in gusty conditions and with a back problem. In fact when I did go up there, albeit that was in a warm gusty wind, I found it very difficult to adhere to the ridge proper.

P.S. I'd speak to a physio about your back or look on the nhs website for exercises. Take it easy in the morning! In my case lying on my front and doing back extensions helps.

P.P.S. Was thinking about the spaniel recall question and thought of dog biscuits but when we throw them on the floor for Bracken to chase we often have to point put where they've landed. I can just imagine her trusted hooter sending her off on a wild goose chase if we tried that on a hill.
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby AnnieMacD » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:10 pm

Wow, amazing pictures. So sorry about your back but well done for continuing and then getting down safely. I'm always last off the hill - it's no big deal :wink:

I was planning on going to the Kintail region this weekend but the weather forecast is awful, and after seeing your photos, will definitely wait for some views.

Hope the back improves soon.

PS Do you think the dogs could have done the bypass?
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:02 pm

Silverhill wrote:Wow fantastic pictures and what a great walk! 8) Good to know about the by-pass path in case of gusty winds. Well done on that steep descent with your back!

Thanks Silverhill - the bypass lacks the drama of the ridge, but it has its own features - like steep scree :?

Johnny Corbett wrote:Stunning, the photos are superb. All the classic ridge walks i did, i done on a good day with the exception of this one but i will return on a fine day, more so now after this report. :D

Definitely worth a revisit - I must admit I'd like to try this one again :roll:

Alteknacker wrote:What a day you had for the walk! Really inspiring photies that brought back some great memories from earlier this year. :clap:

Thanks

litljortindan wrote:Excellent pictures. A pity about the Forcan ridge but I certainly wouldn't fancy it in gusty conditions and with a back problem. In fact when I did go up there, albeit that was in a warm gusty wind, I found it very difficult to adhere to the ridge proper.

P.S. I'd speak to a physio about your back or look on the nhs website for exercises. Take it easy in the morning! In my case lying on my front and doing back extensions helps.
P.P.S. Was thinking about the spaniel recall question and thought of dog biscuits but when we throw them on the floor for Bracken to chase we often have to point put where they've landed. I can just imagine her trusted hooter sending her off on a wild goose chase if we tried that on a hill.


Thanks that makes me feel less of the feartie a really am :?
Referred myself to the physio and am doing exercises - the 'take it easy in the mornings' sounds excellent advice :D
If you are ever out on the hills and you hear someone shrieking 'biccies, biccies' its probably me calling Biggles - with about 40% chance of success :? Thinking back about that event the real problem was that we weren't really taking too much notice of him at that point - if we can see a disobedience event about to happen we can sometimes get him under control before its too late ... but there again even that doesn't always work, so there are times when the lead is the only option :?

AnnieMacD wrote:Wow, amazing pictures. So sorry about your back but well done for continuing and then getting down safely. I'm always last off the hill - it's no big deal :wink:

I was planning on going to the Kintail region this weekend but the weather forecast is awful, and after seeing your photos, will definitely wait for some views.

Hope the back improves soon.

PS Do you think the dogs could have done the bypass?


Thanks Annie - it was too good a day to be anywhere but in the hills, and you are right to save Kintail for good weather. The back is recovering - got our son to do some of the heavy gardening :D
Yes the dogs would have been fine on the bypass path, except for the scree, which can scuff their paws, particularly quartz scree (which I don't think this was), but there wasn't too much scree - they enjoy the boulder fields more than I do :?
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby dogplodder » Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:48 am

Been looking forward to reading this and it didn't disappoint. Your photos ate fabulous and what a day you had. You did well to manage these two with a sore back - hope it's better now. :D
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:16 am

Great report and photos as always.

I'm a bit worried about this gardening thing, I may cut back just to make sure I'm fit for the hills :lol: :lol: :lol:

Hope the back is better now.
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Re: Saddle up lite for a ride in Kintail

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:18 pm

dogplodder wrote:Been looking forward to reading this and it didn't disappoint. Your photos ate fabulous and what a day you had. You did well to manage these two with a sore back - hope it's better now. :D

Thanks DP - the back is much better, but then I've been careful to back out of anything I don't want to do that could hurt it :lol: It was a stunning day, and I really love the Kintail/Loch Quich/Knoydart hills - the Saddle was a great viewpoint.

Gordie12 wrote:Great report and photos as always.

I'm a bit worried about this gardening thing, I may cut back just to make sure I'm fit for the hills :lol: :lol: :lol:

Hope the back is better now.

Thanks Gordie - you're right about the gardening - got to get the priorities right :lol: :lol:
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