Glen Shiel

Saddle, Forcan Ridge and Sgurr na Sgine, 1-3 June 2019

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. Some days spend bagging the Munros on the south side of Glen Shiel, including the Forcan Ridge. John King and Christine Menhennet were leading, here's Christine's tale of the first day.

Saddle, Forcan Ridge and Sgurr na Sgine

Day 1 - Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine

The day started, for the early arrivals anyway, with a clear spot of a golden eagle escalating in easy, lazy circles above the layby where we were all to meet. Before long he was enveloped by the mist – which unfortunately, was also enveloping our target peaks! The unsettled period of low pressure was to continue, forecasts varying in their degree of optimism about cloud free Munros but with heavy showers a dead cert! Alistair – soon to be wed to the lovely Lara, smilingly declared himself a very reluctant bad weather walker and so we had our work cut out!

Crossing the A87 has its own challenges for the walker but once negotiated we started up the good track just south east of Achnagart; the route takes long easy zigzags up to the col between Meallan Oghar and the distinctive Graham summit, Biod an Fhithich (Point of the Ravens). After a pause to adjust layers and admire the now white waterfall streaked landscape below, we turned south over Meallan Odhar (Small Brown Hill) to the base of the famously corrugated (but sadly invisible) Forcan Ridge.

The forecast heavy showers on top of the previous day's persistent downpours meant that fellow guide John and I, agreed an early decision to put aside the exposed Ridge as our chosen route to the summit of The Saddle – conditions would have been extremely slippy and not much scrambling fun. Instead, we followed the rough path that leads to the Bealach Coire Mhalagain; this path runs alongside one of those high level drystone dykes that make you wonder about the hand size of those who built them! Here and there we spotted Kingcups, Moss Campion and Lousewort nestling between the damp rocks.

We found shelter from the wind in a low point of the bealach, had a bite to eat and then made good progress up through the boulder field above the bealach to regain the clear path to the trig point on The Saddle 1010m. Some summit posing by Julia! It was on the descent back to the bealach where we had another refuelling, that we were treated to some glimpsed views down into the corries, lochans and glens either side of us, but they melted away as fast as they had appeared.

We had a steady 246m climb from here up to the 'corner' of the Sgurr na Sgine/Faochag ridge, took a breather, then followed the ridge round to our second Munro summit of the day Sgurr na Sgine (Peak of the Knife) at 946m. More summit posing this time by both Julia and Trish! We returned along the, presumably blade of the 'Knife' and back at the corner headed east to the summit of Faochag. The weather was improving a tad and we were able to pause to take in the consistent steepness of the grassy descent before us – poles were definitely out for those with limited knee resistance!

A ray or two of sunshine, the day's targets achieved and the possible need to distract minds from the strain on older knees, seemed to promote discussion, towards the rear of the party anyway – wide ranging discussion from the B- - - - t word, to films and books. By the end of the walk, those of us at the rear had shared many recommendations and I now have an even longer list of films and books I must experience, thanks to our cultured clients! Even Alistair admitted to having enjoyed the day – well, most of it!

More photos by Christine Menhennet are here on Flickr.

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