Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Kintail & Forcan Ridge, June'13

This was a two-day event, Munro bagging the Five Sisters of Kintail and day 1 and doing the Forcan Ridge and Sgurr na Sgine on day 2.

There was a fine forecast for today, if a little unsettled with 'occasional' showers. I met Sam, Dee, Marie-Ann and Susan by the 'Jac-o-bite' and we stuffed into my Land-Rover and drove up into Glen Shiel. We arrived at the intended lay-by and started the walk uphill through the recently felled forest. We could see another group arrive at the roadside who began to follow us. Further on, we stopped to let the group pass us - it's not great fun having a group of 25 folk together. As it turned out, they headed up Sgurr na Spainteach, whereas we aimed directly for Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe. A lovely day, only a gentle breeze around, though just a tad chilly. Some superb views.

We carried on, up Sgurr na Carnach, where the other group caught us and we enjoyed a good bit of banter. Cameras were out, clicking merrily away at the stunning views all around. One more major uphill pull and we were on our third Munro, Sgurr Fhuaran. Various groups were now gathering, and we sat slightly downhill, out of the breeze and away from the chatter. Sam realised that she didn't have her car keys - maybe lost on the hill, or perhaps just left in my Land-Rover. Either way, she was a bit distressed, so after reaching the col after Beinn Bhuidhe and ensuring everyone was ok following the obvious path, Marie-Ann and myself left the group and jogged the remaining route back to the cars. Marie-Ann then gave me a lift back up to Glen Shiel, where we found Sam's car-keys sitting on the back seat ! All was well !

Sam, Dee and Susan were only booked onto day 1, so Marie-Ann was the only member from Saturday's group who was doing our scrambling day on the Forcan Ridge on Sunday. We were joined by Dave and merrily began the day by walking up through grass and heather on a fine path. We decided to do the route clockwise, with Sgurr na Sgine first, the decision made primarily due to the forecast for better weather in the afternoon. Uphill and into mist. The mist broke occasionally to give some moody views and further on it eventually cleared completely. We could make out scramblers on the Forcan ridge, we were getting a little excited !

Down to the col between the Munros, then up the easy side of The Saddle, there was snow on the lee side of the hill. There was evidence of snow-holing up here and Dave found an iPod, a bit wet (but later charged and found to be sort of working). Dave wanted to bag the tops on the north-west ridge, so we happily trudged along. And the weather started to come in, mist at first. This part of the ridge is narrower than I remember it, and longer than expected. Cairns reached and tapped, we returned for the main event - the Forcan Ridge. Onto the Saddle, we met a father and son duo (son looking fresh, dad a bit knackered) and then the cloud really came in and gave us a bit of a soaking. Still we managed up the 'bad-step', but decided to descend to the wall thereafter and then return to the cars.

A brill weekend, hopefully better weather on the Forcan Ridge the next time !

More photos are on our Flickr site !