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The Saddle

The Saddle

Postby JonetCol » Wed May 25, 2016 3:08 pm

Date walked: 22/05/2016

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 1010m

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Having walked Bla Bheinn in relentless rain the previous day, we left the lay-by in bright sunshine to head up the stalker's path. Near the top of Meallan Odhar a biting wind arrived, bringing with it more heavy, icy rain. We continued along the path in waterproofs to the steep lower slopes of the Forcan Ridge, which we left to join a dry stane dyke. The rain eased to a drizzle cum mist as we traversed alongside the dyke to reach the beallach. The path was rough and still boggy from Saturday's prolonged downpour.

We had a breather at the beallach, enjoying clear views of both The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine during a break in the cloudh. We then ascended steeply alongside another dyke towards the summit of The Saddle. We met a school party on their way down. Their leaders offered conflicting advice (neither of which was good) on the best way up. We did all agree that the best plan was to head for a snowfield and reassess from there. On the way, Steve wandered way far too far left (again) and had to be brought back. From the snowfield we could see (through occasional gaps in the mist) a number of options to bypass the steepest, rockiest parts of what looked from below like a sheer cliff. After a little scrambling we were within site of the trig pillar, which we reached without difficulty to begin our celebrations, take our 'evidence shots' and enjoy lunch.

The mist cleared to reveal spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and - to the W - the sea and Skye. Great!!! Our idyll was interrupted by a man and two women, who informed us that the true summit was a scary looking buttress150m to the North, which was the Southern summit of the Forcan Ridge. We hastily repacked and headed for our new goal. This entailed an airy but straightforward scramble. At one point however, the ledge was barely 3" wide - and Steve slipped rather dramatically after crossing - but came to no harm. A little more scrambling took us to the summit cairn where a few more 'evidence' shots confirmed we'd genuinely reached the summit - and my 100th Munro. Steve was generous in his congratulations, adding that he'd meant to bring a bottle of bubbly. Immediately after 3 large pigs flew past and did a victory roll.

With all the breaks and lengthy viewtaking time was escaping us and we reluctantly(?) opted to skip Sgurr na Sgine
to ensure we would get back before the weather worsened or night fell. I was also unsure how much further Steve could go. I reckoned I could but didn't relish it. We returned by the route of ascent, weary but with a nice sense of achievement from our 2 days walking.

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Posts: 161
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Joined: Feb 10, 2010

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