So after almost 2 weeks of solid storms, 100mph winds and driving rain, temperatures going up and down, snow coming and going, its easy to see why more than a few people think the Highlands are a hard place to live. But when its good it’s really good!
Myself, James and Craig made our way north to Glen Shiel with the aim to get to the top of The Saddle via the Forcan ridge. We started the walk in through deep powder and made our way to the start of the ridge with views all around of snowy peaks.
The pictures speak for themselves but the ridge was amazing, a new route for all of us in winter it was a mini adventure. With a lot of powder lying over everything it was good to break trail along the ridge to try to find the best route. With a few little tricky steps to negotiate we arrived at the 20m abseil. But there was still more to come of the ridge with the thinnest section before making the summit.
We all expected a simple rocky ridge with a few harder sections but under these powdery conditions concentration was needed most of the way along with good footwork, you get a lot for your money at the moment.
Yesterday myself and Claire who works for Marine Harvest were up north near the Isle of Skye and Knoydart to walk up Beinn Sgritheall to take some photos. There is a salmon farm in Loch Horn and Claire was required to take some photos of it from the summit at 957 meters. So we spent the morning being driven round the Loch taking photos of the farm from various different angles and then made our way back to Arnisdale. With the way the timings worked out we left the little village at 11am in the heat of the day and started to make our way up the path, luckily following a stream, as the temperature was in the high 20s. We soon made it to the saddle where there was a tiny lochan with lots of life, including newts and headed up the steep slope to the first summit at 907m. Here we got the first glimpse of the views. We made our way along the broad ridge to the summit which we made in just under 3 hours. Here we got the 360 degree view to Knoydart, Skye, Glen Sheil and the western isles.
With the photos taken we made our way back down where the temperature got hotter the closer to sea level we got. And just before 4pm we were back at the village. A hot but good day out, seeing a different part of the highlands. I hope the photos are worth the effort.
Today I headed to Glen Shiel to tackle the south ridge. After driving the whole way in thick fog I had slight doubts when I pulled up and couldn’t even see the other side of the road. But I kept my faith in the weather forecast and after climbing about 250m I popped out of the cloud to the white peaks and clear blue sky. I headed up towards Creag a’ Mhaim over some very frustrating snow. With an icy crust from the night freeze and powder underneath it was hard to get any rhythm.
Once on the top I headed west along the ridge taking in the views and the peaks along the way. With the snow conditions improving and less powder it turned out to be a day for looking at the views. After 4 hours along the ridge I came to Sgurr an Lochain and headed back to decend down the broarder ridge of Maolie an t-Searraich for the 4km walk back along the road to the car. From the car back to the road 7 hrs, not bad I think.
Hannah and Lisa with the south Glen Shiel ridge in the background
Hannah, Lisa and myself had a day out in Glen Shiel today. With perfect weather and 360 degree views we couldn’t have asked for more. The snow under foot was deep and tough going in places with deep drifts and compacted areas of wind slab across the tops. But with some hard graft we made it to the top of Carn Ghluasaid then around to Sgurr nan Conbhairean, with views across to Skye and Torridon. For Lisa’s 2nd winter day and 3rd and 4th Munros it was a good achievement. After much bum sliding, diving and falling in the snow we were back at the van after 12km and 6.5 hours of walking.
Hannah and myself had a great day out with the aim of heading up Mullach Fraoch choire then across to A’ Chralag. The cornice formations upto the Mullach were amazing, very alpine like. However after reaching an exposed, consequential step we were halted. With the alternative being a bit of a long walk down and round we headed back to 1008m then onto A’ Chralag. There was a lot of compacted windslab on the high tops and very big cornices on the Eastern slops, with a stiff westerly wind blowing most of the day over the exposed ridges.