Distance: 14 miles
Time: 7 hours (incl stops)
Weather: Overcast, mild, gusty on top, later clearing
Munro Tops Summited: Sgurr Leac nan Each
Corbetts: Sgurr Mhic Bharraich
Lesser Peaks: Sgurr a Gharg Gharaidh
It was overcast and mild as I headed through Shiel Bridge, skirting the campsite and heading south towards Sgurr a Creige, the nearest end of The Saddle. I learnt a valuable lesson as at a fork in the track (NG 936 185) I carried straight on and found myself heading through trees that clung to the sides of the gorge. After battling my way along a little way I realised my mistake and scrambled up slithery, grassy slopes to regain the track at the top of the slope. The notes about this had all said to avoid the new track but I didn’t realise it was a three way split rather than a two. Later in the day I came down the correct track!
From here it was much more straightforward. The path is excellent and the views quickly open up. First you get a good look at the Forcan Ridge to your right, and then you get to apprecaite the majesty of The Saddle, a series of alpine peaks ringing a wide, bowl-like corrie.
I carried on up following the main track until a branch ran off to the east. Behind me the Sisters had appreared over the ridge of A’ Mhuing dramatic in their symmetry. This smaller track led me winding up over boggy ground to the steep final slopes up towards Sgurr a’ Gharg Gharaidh.
From here I had spectacular views, the Five Sisters in all their glory, the Cuillin of Skye in the distant west, and closer at end Sgritheal and the Ladhars in the Kingdom of Knoydart (with a tip o’ the hat to Ronaldo).
I now made my way along the knobbled ridge, gradually gaining altutiude, and getting in a wee bit of scrambling. I passed the lochan shown on the OS Map and started the final climb up snowy slopes to Sgurr Leac nan Each. The snow was soft enough to step through with boots and an ice axe for support.
The steepest part came just below the summit, a slope that was covered with snow. I zig-zgged my way cautiously up it until I gained the southern and snow-free side of the ridge. From here it was a pleasant stroll up to the summit cairn.
It was hugely blustery here but the views were worth it. I could see the ridge all the way round to the Saddle’s summit.
Away to the south the Ben reared its mighty back and to the north I could see across Ben Damph to Ben ALligin and Liathach in Torridon.
I could also see my second target of the day. Not having crampons I didn’t want to get marooned further around the ridge so retraced my steps to Sgurr a Gharg Gharadh.
From here I contoured around to Loch Coire nan Crogachan. It was then a quick pull up trackless, heathery slopes to the summit ridge of Sgurr Mhic Bharraich.
Again it was wildly windy but the views over upper Loch Duich, the Sisters and back to the Saddle were superb. I enjoyed the view from the large summit cairn before making my way off down the mountain, choosing a more direct route down slope to the Loch.
After considering the idea of heading west and picking up the Pass of Ratagan I went for the surer option and took the track back down to the Allt Undalain. I was back at Shiel Bridge just as the evening was closing in. A very satisfying day despite adding “only” a Corbett to my cache.