The Saddle by the Forcan Ridge Walking

Glen Shiel may be a ridge walking mecca, but given the rugged and precipitous character of its many superb Munros it is perhaps surprising that there is only one really notable scramble - the Forcan Ridge. This is the most interesting route on the area's most impressive hill, the sharp-peaked, multi-topped Saddle. With considerable exposure and some nice tricky bits the Forcan Ridge is classic grade 2 scrambling ground, though an opt-out path does exist for anyone determined to deny themselves the pleasure.

Sgurr nan Forcan and the Five Sisters  © Dan Bailey -
Sgurr nan Forcan and the Five Sisters

See our article on this route

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Detailed description

NG9684914265 From the layby take the well-used path across the level glen floor, then zigzagging up a broad shoulder. The trail soon cuts right to make a rising traverse of the steep flank of Meallan Odhar to reach a small col between this top and Biod an Fhithich.

NG9516414126 The path now cuts right, skirting the head of Choire Chaoil to gain a grassy saddle between Meallan Odhar and The Saddle. The jagged Forcan Ridge is now unmistakeable ahead; make for the base of the ridge. Climb a small slab, then a short slabby corner, soon gaining the narrow summit ridge of Sgurr nan Forcan. It's most enjoyable to stick to the crest, with a few interesting blocky problems and plenty of exposure. If you'd prefer to avoid the harder stuff look for an eroded path just below and to the right of the arête. Reach the sharp peak of Sgurr nan Forcan.

NG9402613056 Just beyond is a steep descent into a gap. It looks polished and scary, but actually goes at a comfortable grade 2 by the most direct line. Easier gullies cut down to either side. Beyond the gap a path follows the grassy crest. There are occasional brief scrambly moments, including at one stage an optional hand traverse along a rocky arête. Climb over the rocky east top of The Saddle to the cairn on the main summit beyond. There's a trig point on the crest a short way to the west.

NG9348713061 To descend drop roughly east-southeast into a little scree bowl - there's a rough path and an old stone wall to guide the way in mist. If there's time it can be nice to include the neighbouring Munro Sgurr na Sgine into the round: to do so cross the Bealach Coire Mhalagain. However if you're returning directly to Glen Shiel then don't descend as far as the bealach. Instead contour the slope below the Forcan Ridge (another length of wall is a guide to the line) to regain the approach path.

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