The Saddle - 1011m
Sgurr na Sgine - 946m
Monday 15th July 2013
Weather/Conditions: Wet and misty on all hills. Persistent rain on The Saddle, in spite of the sun in Kyle... Not nice and was glad to get out of it.
Distance/Ascent/Time: Sgritheall: 7.6km / 1120m / 3h 20m
Saddle: 13.4km / 1380m / 4h 50m
Due to being behind schedule, this is exactly what I did. I was finished at Arnisdale, and headed back around to Shiel Bridge, rushing to keep as much time as possible. The hours always slip away so fast. On Sgritheall, I'd realised I'd lost my phone cable, which is a bit of a necessity. I had a lot of big days ahead, and it was bad news not to have a means of charging my phone.
When struggling to work out what to do, it always helps to talk it over with someone. So I phoned home. The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine needed to be climbed, and I really couldn't afford to leave them out today. So I rushed back to Kyle of Lochalsh in the car, picked up the much-needed cable from the computer shop, and rushed back to Glen Shiel.
This was the first time I'd really seen the 'peninsula effect'. Kyle of Lochalsh was nestled under a patch of permanent blue sky, but the surrounding mountains were hidden and black in the cloud.
I set off up The Saddle, my head not really in the game, just walking to get it done. It didn't help that I hadn't done The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine before, and it's always harder to walk to a schedule, under the pressure of not knowing what to expect.
I picked up the stalker's path leading to the base of the Forcan Ridge, and warm, stuffy air of the glen was replaced by a brisk wind, cold air and spitting rain that soaked. Sweat built up from the inside - an unpleasant combination.
I wasn't going to take a chance on the Forcan Ridge today. It's probably well within my capabilities, but I wasn't in the mood for risking it. It was the afternoon and these hills needed to be done - now. So in the mist and falling rain, I navigated up between my two Munros and cut a line up towards The Saddle. It was somewhat intense; looking at ground features in the mist, working out where I am; taking a note of ground markers, lochans and fence posts, keeping them in my mind in case I needed to pull back.
On the side of the Saddle, I began picking up a path of footprints which actually took me all the way to the summit. It undercut the Forcan Ridge and brought me up to the trig point where I got some photos and moved on. Rain fell persistently, the clinging mist swirled. It wasn't a place to be hanging around.
I was shocked to see ice floes in the summit lochan. It's July... I took a picture and moved on.
Sgurr na Sgine was easier on the navigation. It's just a long slope, leading to a ridge, leading to the summit. I took each bit of navigation in turn, getting steadily more soaked in the rain that didn't stop falling. Cairns in the mist have been a rarity of this trip, I've generally had summit views. So I didn't get a view, just turned around on myself and escaped back to the sanity of Glen Shiel down the huge wedge-shaped mountain Faochag. This hill drops in one massive slope to the Glen, and I was down just before darkness came on.
I headed up to Lundie on the shores of Loch Cluanie, pitched my tent, put on a curry and went to bed.
My first day of getting back on schedule was complete, but there's still a long way to go.
(1.40) 8.50pm Arnisdale
(2.00) 10.30pm Beinn Sgritheall East Top
(2.00) 10.50pm Beinn Sgritheall
(3.20) 12.10pm Arnisdale
(0.00) 3.45pm Glen Shiel
(2.10) 5.55pm The Saddle
(3.24) 7.09pm Sgurr na Sgine
(4.50) 8.35pm Glen Shiel