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The Saddle & Sgurr na Sgine, Maps 414S & 33
16th March 2006 & 26th September 2008

Route: Ascent 1800m = 5900'; 10.3 miles; 8 hrs.


Photographs of The Five Sisters of Kintail from The Saddle:

Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr na Carnach & Sgurr na Ciste Dubh Sgurr na Ciste Dubh, Saileag & Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr na Carnach & Sgurr na Ciste Dubh Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr na Ciste Dubh, Saileag, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg, Aonach Meadhoin Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr na Carnach & Sgurr na Ciste Dubh Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr na Ciste Dubh, Saileag, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg, Aonach Meadhoin

Photographs of the Forcan Ridge:

The Forcan Ridge The N ridge of The Saddle The Forcan Ridge from Meallan Odhar The knife-edge on the Forcan Ridge The two summits of The Saddle The corrie below the summit of The Saddle The summits of The Saddle from the Forcan ridge. The N ridge of The Saddle Sgurr na Forcan (963m) from its 958m top Sgurr na Forcan (963m) and its 958m top The summit of The Saddle and tops of Sgurr na Forcan The summit of The Saddle from the trig post.

Photographs of The Saddle:

The Saddle trig post and snow caves Looking down the N ridge from The Saddle trig post. The summit and N ridge of The Saddle The two summits of The Saddle (left) Spidean Dhomhuill Bhric and Sgurr Leac nan Each Spidean Dhomhuill Bhric and Sgurr Leac nan Each Sgurr Leac nan Each from Spidean Dhomhuill Bhric. Ben Sgritheall from Spidean Dhomhuill Bhric. The W top (left) and main tops (right) of The Saddle The twin tops of The Saddle and Sgurr na Forcan The twin tops of The Saddle and Sgurr na Forcan Sgurr na Forcan and the Forcan ridge

Photographs of Sgurr na Sgine & Faochag:

Faochag and the N Glen Shiel ridge Faochag The ridge from Sgurr na Sgine to Faochag Faochag with the S Glen Shiel ridge behind Sgurr na Sgine with Gleouraich and Sgurr a'Mhaoraich behind. The two tops of Sgurr na Sgine The ridge over to Sgurr na Sgine The ridge over to Sgurr na Sgine The ridge E to Faochag Creag nan Damh with Sgurr an Lochain and Gleouraich

Rating: Classic Route, deservedly 5 star status.
Access: Park opposite forestry on A87 at Malagan, 3.9 miles east of the petrol station at Shiel Bridge, 7.8 miles W of Cluanie Inn, 1.75 miles after Eas-nan-Arm bridge over R. Shiel.
Route: As usual, my route includes all the associated Munro tops. On west ridge of The Saddle there are of two these, which adds 2.5 miles to the distance and 340m (3100') to the ascent. The Munro Sgurr na Sgine is usually included with any ascent of The Saddle. The shapely Corbett top Faochag (a deleted Munro top) is an excellent finale to the day and requires almost no extra effort.
The Forcan ridge is a straight-forward, but slightly exposed, scramble along a ridge that is literally knife edge at one point: you can sit astride it! Watch out for the big step after Sgurr na Forcan: a 20m near vertical drop. This is the crux of the climb, technically slightly harder than the In Pin, but it has a superfluity of excellent holds and is not difficult, just exposed. The two guys behind me used a rope. That did not seem necessary to me even in the snowy conditions, but only after having completed its descent. From its orientation, the sun keeps the face fairly dry and so it is probably often ice-free in winter. It is a ridge worthy of comparison with those in Skye. If you enjoy this, then you'll do fine in Skye. There are plenty of pictures of the bad step to study on the internet. If you have not done any scrambling before, don't attempt the Forcan ridge yet. Gain some easier experience first. Apart from anything, one of its difficulties is that the Bad Step is descended, making finding the route and the holds less easy. However, it is possible to by-pass the "step" if the conditions are right.
Map: Use the OS 1:25000 map. The 1:50000 does not have enough detail. Note that the OS post is not at the summit.
Conditions 16/3/06: Cold but dry, mostly cloud-free day. 4°C at car. Light but sharp E wind. Snow above 600m, crampons necessary above 750m.
Conditions 26/9/08: Stiff, cool breeze; overcast; dry.

16/3/0626/9/08 Description Ht.Asc.Dist. Grid Ref.Mob.
08550650 Park immediately SE of Malagan Bridge   40   00.0 milesNG97301378No Orange
09550755 Walk NW along road 350m beyond Malagan
Bridge to gate at path end. Ascend formerly
excellent stalkers' path (now degraded by
modern amateurish "repair" work) up
Cnoc Dubh to bealach N of Meallan Odhar.
4964701.85 milesNG95181417 
10300830 Continue S/SW on path up
Meallan Odhar to foot of Forcan ridge
6706502.6 milesNG94841312 
 0845 Scramble up to top of first section of ridge 8257952.85 milesNG94431313 
11150905 W up ridge to T Sgurr na Forcan 9639553.1 milesNG94031305 
   W down exposed big step (20m) to col 935 3.2 milesNG93911305 
   W to top 9589753.25 milesNG93831304 
   WNW to col 935 3.28 milesNG93761307 
11450930 WNW to true summit M The Saddle 101010503.4 milesNG93611313 
   SW to dip 995  milesNG93551310 
11500935 SW to The Saddle (trig pt) 101010653.5 milesNG93481307Orange
   W/WSW to col 950 3.7 milesNG93101291 
12250955 The Saddle – W Top 96810753.95 milesNG92781282No Orange
 1005 W to col 891 4.2 milesNG92361284 
12451010 WNW to T Spidean Dhomhuill Bhric 93911254.3 milesNG92221294No Orange
   W to col 853 4.5 milesNG91951300 
13051025 NW/NNW to T Sgurr Leac nan Each 91911904.7 milesNG917133No Orange
   Return S/SSE/SE to col 853 4.95 milesNG91951300 
13251042 E to T Spidean Dhomhuill Bhric 93912755.1 milesNG92221294No Orange
   ESE to col 891 5.25 milesNG92361284 
13501100 E to The Saddle – W Top 96813455.5 milesNG92781282No Orange
   ENE to col 950 5.7 milesNG93101291 
1415
-1425
1120
-1125
ENE to The Saddle (trig pt) 101014055.95 milesNG93481307Orange
15001155 Descend SE ridge and then E across corrie
to Lochan Bealach Coire Mhalagain
699 6.7 milesNG94401252 
15251215 Path SE to ridge cairn (almost at top) 88015856.9 milesNG94521212 
15351220 Path SW/S to col 857 7.07 milesNG94441189 
1545
-1550
1230 S to T Sgurr na Sgine, NW Top
(Not a very worthy Munro top.)
94216607.27 milesNG94381158No Orange
   SE to col 921 7.33 milesNG94451152 
16001240 SE to M Sgurr na Sgine
(Orange 5m from summit)
94616857.45 milesNG94581138No Orange
   Return NW to col 921 7.55 milesNG94451152 
16051250 NW to T Sgurr na Sgine, NW Top 94217057.62 milesNG94381158No Orange
   N to col 857 7.82 milesNG94441189 
16201305 N/NNE to top (near cairn for path up) 88017157.97 milesNG94521212 
   E to col 855 8.25 milesNG94931224 
16401320 E to Faochag 90917908.6 milesNG95461234Orange
 1405 Path NE down ridge towards Allt
Mhalagain path: Stile in deer fence
280 9.45 milesNG96641309 
 1420 Gate in deer fence & river ford. (There is
a bridge slightly upstream if necessary)
  55 9.83 milesNG97091351 
17551430 Track N back to car.   40179510.3 milesNG97301378No Orange


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