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The Forcan Ridge in winter
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Glenshiel Saddle by Forcan Ridge

Location: Above west side of Glen Shiel, western Highlands.

Length: 15km / 9.33 miles

Ascent: 1365m / 4480ft

Time: 9 hours

Difficulty: The Forcan Ridge is a magnificent rocky scramble of considerable exposure and interest; climbed directly it is Scrambling Grade 2; however, by choosing the easier line it can be done at Scrambling Grade 1.

The high ridge that curves round Coire Uaine provides no technical difficulties, although it is undulating and of some length it can be made shorter and easier by using a stalker's path.

  The Forcan Ridge in summer
     

 

Seasons:

Summer conditions may be expected from May to September and winter conditions from October to April.

Geology:

The lower rocks are of mica schist - they are solid and offer sharp-edged flake holds, though they become slippery when wet. Higher and beyond, the rocks are of grey gneiss banded by quartz and pegmatites, and these are rough and solid, a delight to walk or scramble over.

Flora and Fauna:

Golden eagle, raven and ptarmigan amy be seen, also red deer and weasel. Mountain avens, rowan and alder grow in this region.

  Glen Shiel
     

Comment:

In an area which is unsurpassed for the quality of its ridge walks, this is the most challenging and aesthetic of them all. Heading west on the 'Road to the Isles', before you reach Loch Duich and the famous island castle of Eilean Donnan,before the Kyle of Lochalsh and the magical Island of Skye, you will come to Glenshiel.It divides two sublime areas of mountains, both famed for their outstanding ridge walks: to the south Glenshiel, and to the north Kintail and its famous Five Sisters.

The outing described here lies within the Glenshiel group and is considered by many to be the most challenging and rewarding ridge walk of the region: to climb the steep, slender, rocky nose of the Forcan Ridge, to cross the (apparent) twin peaks of The Saddle, and finally to traverse the peaks skirting the sharp-rimmed basin of Coire Uaine - this is a truly glorious expedition.

  Loch Duich - Glen Shiel
     

The Saddle is one of the great Scottish mountains; seen from the site of the Battle of Glen Shiel it forms one of the best known views in the Highlands. The Saddle has two summits: the westerly one has a trig point, but it is not obvious which one is the true summit. Munro baggers had better climb both to be sure.

The summits:

Meallan Odhar - 615m / 2018ft

Sgurr nan Forcan - 958m / 3143ft

The Saddle/ Sgor na Diollard - 1010m / 3314ft

Spidean Dhomhuill Bhric - 940m / 3084ft

Sgurr Leac nan Each - 919m / 3015ft

Sgurr a' Gharg Gharaidh - 683m / 2241ft

 

 

 

  River Shiel

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