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The Saddle in Winter

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The Saddle and Faochag in Winter

The Saddle in Glen Shiel is one of the finest mountains in the Scottish Highlands and its ascent via the Forcan Ridge presents the climber with one of the country's classic winter routes. Glen Shiel is but a short distance from my home in Invermoriston so I regularly pass by The Saddle and its shapely if diminutive neighbour Faochag and I have often captured them from the bed of the glen beside the River Shiel.

On this occasion I was motivated to climb onto a short and easily accessible ridge above the Glen Shiel battle site. There had been snowfall overnight, and as I crested the ridge I was greeted with frequent snow and hail showers funelling through the glen on a cold, strong and bracing north-westerly wind. Setting up the camera on the tripod and maintaining its stabilty was something of a challenge and I regretted my decision to bring only my lightweight equipment, but thankfully I was able to achieve my objective during occasional pleasant interludes of calm and bright sunshine.

From this elevated and somewhat isolated viewpoint the full topography of the area is fully revealed - particularly the unrelentingly steep slopes of Faochag and the rock steps on the Forcan Ridge of The Saddle. Indeed, the perceived elevation of this location is accentuated by the descending hillsides that flank the River Shiel as it makes its way to the coast and Loch Duich.

The contrasting light of the snow lit peaks and the deep shadowy glen required the use of a graduated neutral density filter to achieve a balanced exposure.

Photographic Details :-

Time of Year : March
Location Map Reference : 991132 : Dundonnel Forest. Time :1040 GMT
Equipment : Canon EOS 5D Mark III Camera, Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L Lens @ 65mm. Gitzo tripod, Arca Swiss tripod head, Lee 0.6 ND Soft Grad Filter.
Camera Settings : Shutter 1/160 sec, Aperture f11, ISO 100.

Mountain Prints by Ian Evans