walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

The Forcan Forty

The Forcan Forty


Postby Jaxter » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:19 pm

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

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

Date walked: 22/05/2017

Time taken: 7.41 hours

Distance: 16.37 km

Ascent: 1679m

7 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Previous Part

Darren and I had driven to Kintail the previous evening, had a leisurely evening and an early night. Given the forecast was excellent for the morning albeit it very windy, and wet from 1pm, an early start was in order :thumbup:

I managed to persuade Darren to get up at "something with a 6 in it??!" :shock: And we were away from the campsite, found the correct layby and booted up pretty quickly. It was only just after 7 when we set off up the good stalkers path headed for the Forcan.

The wind had been strong overnight and was forecast to drop a little during the course of the day but not very much, however the 50mph gusts were at least dropped to 40ish by the time we reached higher ground.

The path made for easy height gain and the banter flowed healthily as we kept up a decent pace. Although the wind caught us here and there, it didn't seem toooo bad yet :roll: We had that wonderful feeling of an early start and enjoyed being first on the hill. We also enjoyed stopping for photos to allow the heart rate a little recovery :lol:

Glen Shiel
Image

I was worried Kintail would be disappointing after Skye but it is stunning in a different way. And the weather was better here 8)

Zigzagging higher, we eventually reached the col between Meallan Odhar and Biod am Fhithich. The wind picked up a little here again, but on we went.

Coire Caol
Image

Looking back towards the Brothers
Image

Glen Shiel again
Image

Brothers and Sisters panorama
Image

The Forcan began to come into view and looked imposing and awesome.
Image

Looking pensive
Image

We continued around Meallan Odhar and this brought us to decision time. To Forcan or not to Forcan, that was the question? How bad was the wind? I could stand in it without too many difficulties, it should have been dropping a little... bypass paths were on the right which would be sheltered from the wind should we need them... :crazy:

Glen Shiel – the ridges starting to come into view
Image

Loch Duich & the mountains beyond
Image

We decided to have a look...the initial scramble across flat slabs was interesting, my new found rock climbing abilities led me to some heroics which Darren found amusing :lol: (we later realised that this was entirely avoidable, doh :roll: ) and I was asked "have we just passed the point of no return?" We laughed....reversing it would be possible but definitely undignified :lol:

Carrying on, we scrambled easily but cheerfully, nothing too exposed yet. We found the crampon marks useful to follow, figuring that if someone could manage it in winter then we ought to manage today!

Practising…something… :crazy:
Image

We agreed that although bypasses were for pussies, there was no shame in it in today's winds and some were used, although not all :wink:

Climbing out the top of the initial section, we were hit by stronger winds and sat down, engaging our fifth points of contact and admired the ridge ahead.

Image

Sgurr na Sgine
Image

Neither of us really fancied chickening out now...we'd got this far after all. Care was obviously required but I figured that so long as I held on I'd be fine :lol:

Image

Windy!!
Image

Darren initially led the way, carefully scrambling and stopping for photos! He then used me as a guinea pig for a narrow scramble around an exposed slab.... :shock:

Image

Spiky rocks
Image

Back doon Glen Shiel
Image

Darren still smiling
Image

We discovered that we were having a fantastic time, jokes and banter were flowing, in between moments of "gust coming, hold on!", careful route finding and some short person problems for me!

The end a wee way ahead…
Image

Although there was a fair amount of exposure, there were no moments where I was actually worried. Care was required obviously but the only technical difficulty was one that neither even thought about attempting - "The Downclimb" and we quite happily took the bypass to the left, with only one difficulty - a narrow gap in the rock where we both had to squeeze a bit!!

Image

Looking back we couldn't work out how anybody could get down that…and it looked a lot worse actually there!
Image

We were trying to work out which bit was Sgurr nan Forcan, but couldn't be bothered to check the map. We agreed that there weren't many route choices here anyway... "forwards, backwards and death" :shock: :lol:

Darren negotiating a tricky bit
Image

The final stretch ahead
Image

Me having fun :D
Image

Looking back
Image

From here, confidence seemed to rise. The crest of the ridge rose ahead and we looked at each other....in true Marty McFly style I said "Nobody calls me chicken!!" And attacked the scramble. Unfortunately I had a short person problem and engaged 6th and 7th points of contact - my two knees. Darren was enjoying laughing at me but kindly didn't take any pictures until I was at least back on my feet :lol:

Darren following
Image

We reached the final stretch of the ridge and still elected to take the hardest options. "Why would we make it so hard?" "Because we can!!" :D

I was actually disappointed to reach the summit as it meant it was over (although we couldn't remember at this point whether the summit was before or after the trig point, so we visited them all but elected to take pictures at the safest location :lol: pussies? Maybe... :lol: )

We were totally buzzing, the sun was shining and the wind was blowing...we couldn't believe it had taken us an hour and a half to cross the ridge!

We decided this was Knoydart
Image

Looking back along the ridge
Image

Knoydart & Sgurr na Sgine
Image

The Saddle conquered
Image

Onwards we went, down the path alongside the wall, before heading for Sgurr Na Sgine. A healthy debate followed about the pronunciation of that, and other hills as we climbed which made the steep ascent less noticeable.

I'm not a fan of boulder fields and the path became easily lost. Darren decided we were going in the right direction as we were going up...seemed good enough logic for me.

The views back to the Forcan ridge were just out of this world.
Image

The Saddle, Forcan Ridge and Brothers ridge
Image

Forcan again
Image

Still buzzing, we made it without incident to the top of Sgurr Na Sgine; undoubtedly a less interesting hill in itself but it more than made up for it with the views. We reckoned we'd identified most of what we could see and felt quite chuffed :D

Knoydart
Image

Forcan ridge in glorious sunshine
Image

Beinn Sgritheall with claggy Skye behind
Image

South Glen Shiel Ridge
Image

Brothers & Sisters and South ridges
Image

Beinn Sgritheall & Skye
Image

Darren deciding not to walk with Jaxter again :lol:
Image

Jaxter special
Image

We had a quick bite before heading off. We could see the weather starting to come in right on schedule and although we were happy to have done most of the walk in good weather, we also wanted to stay dry...

We bumped into our first person of the day back at the bealach - we had decided that we didn't fancy "The Descent" from Faochag having heard about its knee destroying abilities! We followed the wall along the base of the Forcan ridge, marvelling at how we had crossed it earlier, and rejoined our outward route.

Looking back up at the Forcan
Image

Image

I hate out and backs but the day seemed like it had been interesting enough to get away with it :lol:

Graham – Biod am Fhithich
Image

There was talk of popping up the Graham Biod am Fhithich but we decided to be sensible (Darren seemed to forget this plan as he missed the path down...I was tempted to see how far he'd go but I was feeling kind :lol: )

The rain which had been threatening for a while finally started for real and we hurriedly added waterproofs, but didn't care at all - it had been such a good day that nothing was going to ruin it....or so I thought :crazy:

It was a long descent and we were both tired, I was trying to be careful with my knees but also now eager to be back at the car. Blondie was shining like a big yellow beacon.

Arriving back in the tipping rain we both prepared for the long drive home, Darren heading off first and me following shortly after. Fantastic end to an amazing weekend which will live long in the memory :thumbup:


Forcan.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Last edited by Jaxter on Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Jaxter
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1365
Munros:205   Corbetts:125
Grahams:61   Donalds:46
Sub 2000:87   Hewitts:60
Wainwrights:69   Islands:26
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby BobMcBob » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:08 pm

Another nice report. I think Kintail grows on you, I used to think of it as "that bit you pass through to get to Skye" but now I stop regularly.

As for "that downclimb", I ripped a pair of trousers stretching for a foothold to get down that, so I think "short person problems" would have been an even greater issue :D
User avatar
BobMcBob
Rambler
 
Posts: 1420
Munros:73   Corbetts:14
Grahams:7   
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:12   
Joined: Jul 26, 2011
Location: In a van, somewhere

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:36 pm

I have a huge affection for Forcan Ridge since it was the first hill I went up after a more or less 20 year break, and that rekindled my love of mountains.

And you've got some excellent panos of it from SnS - which gives the lie to your comment that it's not such an interesting hill: it's a fellow of Sgurr na Stri, and many other hills - wonderful because of the wonderful views it affords of its more sexy/spectacular brethren.

PS: the Jaxter flying pose looks a bit tentative on the Saddle.... :D
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2995
Munros:169   Corbetts:30
Hewitts:237
Wainwrights:100   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Coop » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:25 pm

Great report.
Had to do the bypass along the dyke and miss the ridge when I did this pair as there was too much snow on it.
2 fantastic hills with great views

Cheers and well done
Coop
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1033
Munros:268   Corbetts:109
Grahams:46   Donalds:68
Sub 2000:7   
Islands:5
Joined: Jun 5, 2016
Walk wish-list

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:43 pm

Great report, you do like to do things the hard way, narrow ridges on a windy day :crazy: .
We used a rope on the down climb, and I haven't got a long reach so ended up doing a cheval on one of the narrow sections when I couldn't reach a hold :lol:
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 690
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Andymac75 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:34 pm

Forcan heck! :)
That's a impressive ridge.

Another good read from you.
And I love The shot of Darren collapsed , getting a moments respite :)

Good work
Andymac75
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Feb 23, 2016

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Mal Grey » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:49 am

I've often thought I should return and do the Forcan Ridge again, and your description and images has reinforced that desire. All we saw was the inside of a cloud. At least it wasn't windy, its pretty exposed in places.

Agree with others who say that S n S's views are great, though I would go further and say its a good hill in its own right. Aren't they all? Well, maybe not quite all, but most!

Good call on not descending Faochag, having gone up it, going DOWN would be brutal on the knees.

Another fine tale...
:clap:
User avatar
Mal Grey
Wanderer
 
Posts: 3397
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby jmarkb » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:42 am

Mal Grey wrote:Good call on not descending Faochag, having gone up it, going DOWN would be brutal on the knees.


A reasonable alternative is via the Bealach an Toteil. A direct descent from the top of Sgine isn't feasible, though: you need to head about 300m south-west before you can drop down to an old wall and follow this back towards the col. Then head down Coire Toteil on pleasant grassy terrain until you meet the path at about the 400m contour.
jmarkb
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 4261
Munros:241   Corbetts:96
Grahams:78   Donalds:29
Sub 2000:42   
Joined: Oct 28, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Dunblane Bagger » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:36 pm

Hey Jaxter,

Loved the Forcan ridge when did it last year, and your report brings back some great memories.

There is something special about getting "hands on" and you certainly do on the ridge.

Excellent report. Thanks for posting.
User avatar
Dunblane Bagger
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 97
Munros:63   Corbetts:16
Grahams:1   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:4   Hewitts:19
Wainwrights:6   
Joined: Mar 13, 2015
Location: Hopefully up a mountain somewhere

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:01 pm

jmarkb wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:Good call on not descending Faochag, having gone up it, going DOWN would be brutal on the knees.


A reasonable alternative is via the Bealach an Toteil. A direct descent from the top of Sgine isn't feasible, though: you need to head about 300m south-west before you can drop down to an old wall and follow this back towards the col. Then head down Coire Toteil on pleasant grassy terrain until you meet the path at about the 400m contour.


I can certainly confirm that the direct descent is VERY steep and tricky going, having done it this way when I did the ridge traverse. I'm sure that jmarkb's route would be both quicker and safer :roll:
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2995
Munros:169   Corbetts:30
Hewitts:237
Wainwrights:100   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Jaxter » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:09 pm

BobMcBob wrote:Another nice report. I think Kintail grows on you, I used to think of it as "that bit you pass through to get to Skye" but now I stop regularly.

As for "that downclimb", I ripped a pair of trousers stretching for a foothold to get down that, so I think "short person problems" would have been an even greater issue :D

Thanks :D Yikes...I'm even more glad I didn't attempt it now :shock: :lol:



Alteknacker wrote:I have a huge affection for Forcan Ridge since it was the first hill I went up after a more or less 20 year break, and that rekindled my love of mountains.

And you've got some excellent panos of it from SnS - which gives the lie to your comment that it's not such an interesting hill: it's a fellow of Sgurr na Stri, and many other hills - wonderful because of the wonderful views it affords of its more sexy/spectacular brethren.

PS: the Jaxter flying pose looks a bit tentative on the Saddle.... :D

Aye not a bad spot :thumbup:
Was mighty windy to be standing on one leg :lol: :lol:



Coop wrote:Great report.
Had to do the bypass along the dyke and miss the ridge when I did this pair as there was too much snow on it.
2 fantastic hills with great views

Cheers and well done

That's a shame - still, a good excuse to go back :wink:



Cairngorm creeper wrote:Great report, you do like to do things the hard way, narrow ridges on a windy day :crazy: .
We used a rope on the down climb, and I haven't got a long reach so ended up doing a cheval on one of the narrow sections when I couldn't reach a hold :lol:

Ah I like to keep things interesting..bit of wind to spice it up :lol: :lol: See everything I hear about that downclimb makes me more glad I stayed away :lol:



Andymac75 wrote:Forcan heck! :)
That's a impressive ridge.

Another good read from you.
And I love The shot of Darren collapsed , getting a moments respite :)

Good work

Cheers, it's a great walk! If you venture onto the mainland you should give it a go :wink: :lol:



Mal Grey wrote:I've often thought I should return and do the Forcan Ridge again, and your description and images has reinforced that desire. All we saw was the inside of a cloud. At least it wasn't windy, its pretty exposed in places.

Agree with others who say that S n S's views are great, though I would go further and say its a good hill in its own right. Aren't they all? Well, maybe not quite all, but most!

Good call on not descending Faochag, having gone up it, going DOWN would be brutal on the knees.

Another fine tale...
:clap:

Cheers :D Definitely go back...although at least in the clag you cannae see the drop :lol: :lol:



jmarkb wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:Good call on not descending Faochag, having gone up it, going DOWN would be brutal on the knees.


A reasonable alternative is via the Bealach an Toteil. A direct descent from the top of Sgine isn't feasible, though: you need to head about 300m south-west before you can drop down to an old wall and follow this back towards the col. Then head down Coire Toteil on pleasant grassy terrain until you meet the path at about the 400m contour.

An option for next time :wink:



Dunblane Bagger wrote:Hey Jaxter,

Loved the Forcan ridge when did it last year, and your report brings back some great memories.

There is something special about getting "hands on" and you certainly do on the ridge.

Excellent report. Thanks for posting.

Cheers - aye something about gripping rock (especially when you're holding on in high winds :lol: ) that is so exciting :D :D
User avatar
Jaxter
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1365
Munros:205   Corbetts:125
Grahams:61   Donalds:46
Sub 2000:87   Hewitts:60
Wainwrights:69   Islands:26
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby dogplodder » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:59 pm

Loved the Forcan ridge and good to get a wee reminder with your great pics! :D
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3675
Munros:231   Corbetts:57
Grahams:17   
Sub 2000:25   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:9   Islands:23
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: The Forcan Forty

Postby Andymac75 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:20 pm

Venturing onto the mainland would result in nosebleeds,and require a read of the Highway Code the night before :crazy:

Never climbed anything further afield than Cruachan or Nevis(once a month these days.)

Definitely going to attack Buch Etive Mor next time heading south.Its there :D
Andymac75
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Feb 23, 2016

7 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DougieR1980, Eva M, PeteR, Shuginho, SuperMillie, Walavyn and 82 guests