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The Saddle, in memory of Amanda

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:52 am
by GillC
An event had been arranged some time back by John, a friend of Amanda Kemp who sadly passed away suddenly back in February. With Covid days and long lockdowns, this was arranged for 15th Aug to hopefully ensure we had sufficient access and travel under the Government guidelines, Heck,,maybe we should have had it in Barnard Castle,,,no restrictions there :shock: :shock: :shock:

Lynne and I had come up the night before and parked up in the layby in the camper van, Another van had pulled up right in front of us and there was much curtain twitching from our van to see who it was, but couldnt work it out. A bottle of prosecco and 1 gin later,,,bed time.

A wee gin? dont mind if i do

Slept well and woke early, head back down for another hour. Found out in the morning,,as I stood in the layby in me jim-jams, the other van was Alice Ashford and Cuillin the dug.

By 9:30-40, most of the group had arrived so we wandered down the road to the start point to wait for the stragglers. All present and correct by 10am as planned, 15 walkers and Cuillin. It was a busy day with a lot of other people on the move.

Heading for the start point up the road

The troops gather for the off, waiting for the stragglers

What i haven't mentioned yet was the weather forecast. This was going to be one hot day. Lynne sees this as a prompt to get the sun top and shorts on to build up the tan,,,I'm more COVER UP AND GET OUT THE FACTOR 50!!!! :shock:

The track up is great, easy going and you can simply see the day ahead. Views back down to Cluanie showed a lot of low lying cloud, the hotel must still be under cover.

Up the path, with a cheeky wee Graham in the distance

having a breather

Had a wee break stop at the beallach, no one willing to do the Graham that I had been carted up on my last visit to the area lol. Various degrees of undress now, Hugh was topless, Ann the Physio also stripped to her bra and trousers lol. While I'm still layering on the factor 50 and Smidge. The wind was almost nil so the midgies were around, not massively annoying at this point but still there.

Loitering on the beallach with the Graham behind

As we reached the turn off for the ridge, Alice suggested she take the bypass to give Cuillin a chance of some shade. I decided to join her, been on the ridge before and happy today just to saunter up underneath. Good views up to the ridge and the odd brightly coloured t-shirt (Jim) allowed us to follow the progress over the top.

The Ridge folk heading off

Alice and I wandered up beside the stone dyke, stopping to chat with a few people on their way down, or to fill up with water from some wee trickles, giving Cuillin a cooling water bath when needed. Wee chap was going good guns but a black dog in that sun, had to be careful.

Alice and Cuillin enjoying a breather on the scree ascent

A wee shot of the ridge

The whole ridge from below

Reaching the trig after the steeper scramble over the scree, we could see some people coming over the last summit on the ridge. None of ours, another couple from Edinburgh. A few discussions about the summit true,,its not the trig.

Arriving at the summit

I think the first person to reach us was Hugh, still topless lol.

Over the next hour or so, the remaining crew arrived, knackered, sweaty, sometimes swearing, at the summit. An absolutely glorious day so we just sat around, climbed the trig, boots off, taps aff etc and generally just enjoyed an amazing summit. There was practically no wind at the top so the midgies were buzzing around and a lot of deer keds too, rubbery little parasites, yuk.

Barefoot in the park


Down the ridge

John Stenhouse kindly said a few words about Amanda and passed on the good wishes and thanks from her family in appreciation of our wee trip in her memory.

A beautiful flower for Amanda

Discussions around continuing to Sgurr na Sgine ended with a group of 5 deciding to carry on. The rest of us gave in to the heat and opting to go back down the bypass. But, we were still missing 2 people as we gathered our gear to head off. Kerrie and Dale had been using the ridge to do some rope work / abseil practice and still hadn't arrived at the summit. We could see them a few bumps back along the ridge. We headed off and caught sight of them approaching the last bump before the trig and waved a goodbye (I think Alice and I had arrive at the summit 1hr 40 mins earlier) The down scramble on the scree was very fiddly but we got down and had a few chances to top up water bottles etc on the track down.

Reaching the turn off for na Sgine, the lead group headed off and up, the rest of us picked our way down the wall. The Sgurr na Sgine posse had said they would return this way also, instead of the knee trembling descent off the front of the hill,,,more on that later. :crazy: :crazy:

Garry and Ross had stayed at the summit for a bit longer but we could now see them on the downward path behind us.
8 of us had spread out on the way down but kept within sight of each other.

Lynne and Hugh on the track down

Had a call from Jim Wilson who had opted not to join us but was out on his motorbike and was in the layby below. We were still easily an hour away at that point, the pic he sent of his icelolly went down well lol

5:30, back to the layby and yep,,no ice lollies from Jim (although he did leave Lynne and myself a mars bar and some M and Ms. :D

Hugh had a bath in the river, Alice went for a dip too and I went to guide Lynne out of a tight parking spot, then it all went wrong, Flat battery. :? :? :? To cut a long story short, the repair job of attaching the fridge to the 'spare' battery had worked in that yes, we had a working fridge, but, the belief that a Merc camper has 2 leisure batteries AND a main battery is not actually true :lol: :lol: :lol: The fridge had been running off the main battery and draining merrily as the day went on.

Could have been worse, we had food and gin in the fridge, chocolate, sleeping bags and a bed, no biggy lol

We must have asked about 8 different car holders for jump leads, not a one. We were heading for Margaret and Brians in Morvich so I texted to say we would be late blah blah and she kindly offered to drive up with leads,,,result.

15 mins later, jump leads on ,,,Fridge OFF.,

A cracking overnight with Brian and Margaret in their gorgeous wee heilan hame before another cracking hill day on Sunday, see Sgurr an Airgid

Found out later, the na Sgine folks got off at 8pm,,,,Kerrie and Dale later and they came down the steep STEEP descent, I think Kerrie was a bit broken

This was an amazing, hot sweaty, midgie and ked infested day but, a fab day.

In Loving Memory of Amanda Kemp,

Re: The Saddle, in memory of Amanda

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:04 pm
by Sunset tripper
Great stuff Gill. I was on the Forcan Ridge that very same day. I started early and parked in the long lay by which was still busy even early doors. Looks like you had a brilliant weekend and a great way to remember your friend - hard to beat Kintail on days like these.
All the best. :D

Re: The Saddle, in memory of Amanda

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:16 pm
by GillC
Sunset tripper wrote:Great stuff Gill. I was on the Forcan Ridge that very same day. :D

Fab... It was a braw day indeed. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Re: The Saddle, in memory of Amanda

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:28 pm
by jmarkb
That was a good read: what a lovely, meaningful way to commemorate someone's life by making memories of a great hill day!

For anyone not fancying the knee-wrecking descent off Faochag, there is a good alternative down Coire Toteil, though the initial routefinding is not obvious - head SW from the summit of Sgurr na Sgine for about 300m, where you can drop down and follow an old stone wall that leads back towards the col. The corrie is a gentle grassy descent before you meet the South Shiel ridge path lower down.