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The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in winter

The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in winter


Postby Petr Dakota » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:32 pm

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

Munros included on this walk: The Saddle

Date walked: 04/01/2016

Time taken: 7.07 hours

Distance: 12.2 km

Ascent: 1106m

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Kintail was the destination chosen for my monday's trip. The weather forecast was not so good for most of Scotland: rain, poor visibility and very strong wind...Kintail area promising for visibility and no rain, but strong wind there as well :? :roll: I was looking forward to climb some rocky mountains and despite the wind I wanted get the views, especially in such a beautiful place as Kintail is. This idea was supported by the fact that I have been there in Summer, but misty tops everywhere - I missed the views from the South Glen Shiel Ridge. Then I was more lucky when doing the Kintail Brothers & Ciste Dhubh & Am Bathach later in the Summer, but somehow I love the Winter's views more than the Summer's greens :wink:
Decision made, prepared all my mountain stuff incl. Ice-axe, crampons, goggles and spare insulated jacket I set alarm for 3:00 am. I expected difficult scrambling and the strong wind so I left my camera at home and decided to make photos by my mobile phone as it will be easier to remove and handle in the worse conditions - spare battery and my outdoor charger packet like usual :wink:
Checked the recent forecast in the morning again I left home at 4:15 am, then heading to Kintail via Stirling, Perth, Dalwhinnie, Spean Bridge... It was rain almost all the way, which made me worries about the trip, but hope dies as last, I believed it will be ok there. The rain was really heavy in some areas and the road full of water...holding the steering wheel strongly because of the flooding, it kept me awake all the way :shock: :? :crazy: :roll: :)

My goal was to enjoy the day in mountains despite the wind or any weather difficulties and my priority was the views. So, if there is an dillema about the time, I was decided to enjoy the Forcan Ridge, even if it means a delay and one Munro only in the worse conditions, rather than to do both Munros by the easier way there.




20160104_084113.jpg
Arrived around 8:30 am, parked my car at the layby of A87. Quiet there in the morning, daylight just started...no rain, good visibility, but strong wind !
20160104_090416.jpg
Very good initial path over the gate after crossing the road ( short distance back on 87 ). Easy ascent to the 1st level...
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Looking back down to the road, Five Sisters opposite...
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Towards North-West
20160104_100742.jpg
The Saddle: Sgurr na Forcan in the front, Forcan Ridge hidden behind...
20160104_102020.jpg
The bottom of the ridge, there is a path on the left which you can use to get the Munros only ( The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine ) avoiding the Forcan Ridge.
20160104_102437.jpg
Easy scrambling on the beginning...looking back to Glen Shiel
20160104_104610.jpg
Five Sisters...Kintail Brothers...Glen Shiel again from the higher level
:D
20160104_104628.jpg
The ridge...this part is still comfortably doable
:wink:
20160104_104640.jpg
Towards North-West from the ridge
20160104_104818.jpg
Sgurr na Forcan - South side...
:)
20160104_105309.jpg
...and Sgurr na Forcan - North side
20160104_110138.jpg
Looking back, this part of the ridge done without any serious difficulties...Glen Shiel in the background
20160104_112356.jpg
North-West again...
20160104_112430.jpg
The ridge continues...
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Happy for the clear views around: Glen Shiel North part...viva Kintail !
:D 8) :D
20160104_114512.jpg
The Saddle finally visible, but this part ahead is more difficult, especially in Winter conditions and the strong cold wind...Let's the real scrambling begin !
20160104_115527.jpg
The view from the ridge, some clouds are coming to Glen Shiel...
20160104_115548.jpg
Some harder work with good concentration ahead...the rock is wet, icy or snowy in some places...any mistake or bad step or grip means fatal finish. It looks like short distance from here, but some descents and ascents, knife ridge in some places...it will take more time...and the strong cold wind is really dangerous on the ridge
:roll: :? :crazy:
20160104_115559.jpg
Sgurr na Sgine...and Knoydart mountains in the distance
20160104_115637.jpg
The challenging adventure ahead...
:)
20160104_121635.jpg
Towards North
20160104_121707.jpg
The rock...and the view
20160104_130424.jpg
Looking back...
20160104_130932.jpg
...this part done
:D




Here is a video - views from the summit:

sorry for the unsteadey video as my hand was shaking in the strong wind... :crazy:




The report incl. the summit, the trig point and the views around, continues in the comment ( post ) below :wink:
Last edited by Petr Dakota on Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Petr Dakota
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Location: North Lanarkshire

Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Petr Dakota » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:33 pm

20160104_131214.jpg
Looking back on the ridge
20160104_131529.jpg
The Saddle summit
20160104_131555.jpg
The ridge from the summit
20160104_131738.jpg
Glen Shiel from The Saddle

20160104_131753.jpg
Towards South-West, need to continue over this part of the ridge to get to the Trig Point top ahead
:o :D
20160104_133110.jpg
All the beauty of the mountain: the ridge, the summit and the view from the trig-point
:D 8) :D
20160104_133149.jpg
Trig Point of The Saddle...no much snow, icy stones and windy...windy...windy !
20160104_133152.jpg
Trig Point again...

20160104_133321.jpg
Looking back over the trig point...happy for the views ! satisfaction...
:D :D :D
20160104_133326.jpg
20160104_133329.jpg
Towards North
20160104_133516.jpg
Towards West
20160104_133529.jpg
Towards East
20160104_133535.jpg
Towards South-West

20160104_133858.jpg
South West again
20160104_134303.jpg
20160104_134545.jpg
Looking to the Glen before descending
20160104_134552.jpg
Forcan Ridge from the South
20160104_135120.jpg
the ridge again...
20160104_135131.jpg
Sgurr na Sgine
20160104_135137.jpg
Knoydart
20160104_150653.jpg
Near the final descent. My car is still there
:lol: :D :wink: :D :D



Nobody else seen in the mountains there, even every layby was empty that day...so different from the Summer :lol: :lol: :lol:



One Munro done only, but I was happy for the adventure with the great views from Forcan Ridge. :D It's not everything just about the volume or numbers, but about the enjoyment and feelings... Especially the connection to the nature...to the mountains...I love it ! :D 8) :D
...and every hardships around like a bad weather or darkness makes the feelings more sensitive, makes our senses working harder and productively...getting more experiences and definitely unforgetable days ! :D 8) :lol: :wink:
Last edited by Petr Dakota on Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Petr Dakota
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Location: North Lanarkshire

Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby PerthAlly » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:50 pm

Petr

You're a brave man walking the ridge in lousy weather. I did it in August with the sun on my back. Dry rocks mean less chance of falling 100 metres :lol:

Nice one though
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Jaxter » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:43 pm

You are insane!! :shock: :shock:

I think I'd be nervous on there in good weather...looks like your visibility was about 100% better than ours though, you picked the right part of the country :D

:clap: :clap:
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Petr Dakota » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:58 pm

PerthAlly wrote:Petr

You're a brave man walking the ridge in lousy weather. I did it in August with the sun on my back. Dry rocks mean less chance of falling 100 metres :lol:

Nice one though

thank you Ally :D originally I planned this mountain for a warmer longer day, but the opportunity of clear winter views won :D


Jaxter wrote:You are insane!! :shock: :shock:

I think I'd be nervous on there in good weather...looks like your visibility was about 100% better than ours though, you picked the right part of the country :D

:clap: :clap:

thank you :D I was really happy for the views, but it costed some time to find the right place with the forecast for good visibility without a rain :lol: :D :wink: :D
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Petr Dakota
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby dav2930 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:14 am

Impressive stuff Petr - tricky conditions! :clap: Great report and brill photos. :clap: I totally agree that it's not all about numbers. One Munro in challenging conditions like those can be more memorable than four or five easily ticked off on a summer's day! :thumbup: 8)
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby basscadet » Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 am

Lovely photos :clap: shame there wasn't more snow - Forcan is brilliant iced up! but probably better how it was in that wind :shock:
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:33 pm

Good stuff, quite an achievement in high wind on slippery rocks.

One I should do again, it was cloudy and dirzzly when I did it 20+ years ago, so saw nothing!
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Petr Dakota » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:11 pm

dav2930 wrote:Impressive stuff Petr - tricky conditions! :clap: Great report and brill photos. :clap: I totally agree that it's not all about numbers. One Munro in challenging conditions like those can be more memorable than four or five easily ticked off on a summer's day! :thumbup: 8)

thank you :D definitely memorable in the windy and slippy condition, but the views and the fresh enjoyment was the worthy reward :D
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Petr Dakota » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:15 pm

basscadet wrote:Lovely photos :clap: shame there wasn't more snow - Forcan is brilliant iced up! but probably better how it was in that wind :shock:

thank you :D I expected more snow, especially on the higher level, but this January is just wet instead... :roll: :o :crazy:
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Petr Dakota
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Petr Dakota » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:17 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Good stuff, quite an achievement in high wind on slippery rocks.

One I should do again, it was cloudy and dirzzly when I did it 20+ years ago, so saw nothing!

thank you Mal :D I wish you clear views in your next visit there :wink:
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Petr Dakota
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Nigels3011 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:02 pm

Great photos. Really makes it look very cold on the summit.
I have done the Saddle twice and I would still say the most dangerous part is the walk along the road at the beginning and end of the day.
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby ancancha » Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:38 pm

Excellent :clap:
An adventure to make you pay attention to what you are doing that's for sure, judging by the looks of the knife edge ridge :shock:
Cool pics and video 8)
An interesting feeling being in the mountains knowing there's no-one around for miles and miles, another great adventure and report Petr :clap:
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby katyhills » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:25 pm

Fantastic Petr :D
Terrific photos and report - as always. Any hill with a bit of exposure, or a tricky ridge, is hard enough on a half decent day. You must be unbelievably fit and tough to do the amount you do. The early wake up calls would kill it for me right away!
Here's hoping you get many more fine days in the hills. You'll surely reach your 200 before too long :D
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Re: The Saddle: fighting against wind on Forcan Ridge in win

Postby Petr Dakota » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:24 pm

Nigels3011 wrote:Great photos. Really makes it look very cold on the summit.
I have done the Saddle twice and I would still say the most dangerous part is the walk along the road at the beginning and end of the day.

Thank you :D I agree about the road, especially in the main season in summer :lol:
You are depend on your own skills, decisions and experiences in the hills,
but on the road...the dangerous, racing drivers can change everything... :crazy: definitely attention need along the road.
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