SATURDAY 29 AUGUST
There is options throughout the route to 'escape' off the ridge if it's feeling like a long day or your tied. or both! Allan and I had a good, strong group who were all moving at a nice steady pace with plenty of breaks for food. It was a cooler day than we've had recently, so no midges! We were off and on with waterproofs, hats and gloves as the rain and cloud arrived or disappeared. Autumn is knocking on the door and your kit should now be tailored to these conditions.
A great effort by the group and we got down to the glen in time for dinner and well earned pint in the newly revamped Cluanie Inn.
SUNDAY 30 AUGUST
A slightly sorter walk today. The Forcan Ridge onto the Munro, The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine. The Forcan Ridge is probably the finest route in Glen Shiel. Indeed it probably ranks in my top 30 mountain routes. We had two smaller groups today, Alistair and I on the Forcan Ridge whilst Allan guided the others on a easier, walking route avoiding the scrambling up to The Saddle.
The two routes set off on a fabulous, well constructed stalkers path from Glen Shiel. An easy angled trail takes you up to almost 500m at the Bealach Craiobhe where you get your first profile view of the Forcan Ridge. Unfortunately the cloud was sat some way down on the mountain and we didnt get to see this impressive sight.
The path continues in a lazy fashion all the way to the toe of the ridge and start of the scrambling. We had just arrived at this point in time for a light rain shower. Once again the forecast of '5% chance of rain' seemed optimistic! Nevertheless the Forcan Ridge group were up for it. We parted company with the other half of the party, Allan taking 6 folk along the walking route which runs below the ridge while Alistair and I guided 7 folk along the ridge.
Shortly after the first section of scrambling, the rain ceased and the cloud lifted to reveal the fabulous sight of the ridge. Looking very fine and intimidating at the same time! Despite a fierce looking angle the scrambling is quite easy and any harder sections we bypassed.
Around 3/4 of the way along there is a sudden down scramble which is quite steep and probably the crux of the route. This is easily avoided by a steep path down and around this section.
The sun popped out just at the right time for the classic view of the ridge. Looking stunning. We had the whole ridge to ourselves with just 2 folk way ahead of us. Waterproofs off now as the temperature rose. It was a fair bit warmer than yesterday.
The scrambling is virtually finished once you reach the Munro Top of Sgurr nan Forcan. It's just a short walk from here to the main Munro summit of The Saddle. The cloud rolled in again and no view but everyone happy after an exciting and thrilling scramble. Our day wasn't over, we continued with a walk up to the adjecent Munro, Sgurr na Sgine.
It's a fair descent on a rough, bouldery path before heading up again to this 946m mountain. More cloud and some more drizzle. We met up with the other group just before the cloudy summit and walked back down together. The rain stopped and cloud lifted again.
Good to get the 'profile view' of the Forcan Ridge on the way back to the glen.
A great couple of days with a fun and lovely group of folk. Good to be working with 3 too chaps too.