You are invited to join us in appreciation of the late Mr Banks, Scottish novelist
On the evening of 16th June 2018, we will gather at at Castle Dounie, Crinan Ferry, Argyll, to celebrate literature, wilderness, and single malt whisky. We will meet at the car park in Crinan Harbour at 4pm and walk up to the hill-fort following the directions below:
The walk begins from Crinan Harbour; the road bends right as it reaches the sea to pass a few cottages, just beyond which is a car park on the right hand side. There is an information board about the walk here; it is waymarked with little ship symbols and begins from a signpost a short distance back along the road where it bent to the right. The walk does not head into the garden of the white bungalow but instead takes to the pebbly shore.
Once beyond the bungalow a marker post indicates where the path leaves the shore and climbs up into the trees. The path now runs parallel to the shore for some distance, passing through fine remnant oak woodland – a wonderful habitat for wildlife. Wooden duckboards avoid the boggiest sections, and a short distance further on a wooden bench enables a leisurely appreciation of this beautiful spot. Soon the path bends to the left and begins to climb steeply, passing alongside a felled area on grassy ground. The ascent is steep, but there are a couple of benches along the way and grand views back over Loch Crinan, the many boats and Eilean da Mheinn, an island complete with a house.
The climb ends for the moment when a forestry track is reached; turn right here. When the track reaches a signed junction, close to another panoramic bench, turn left, marked for ‘Forest walk’. The sea is soon lost to sight as the track heads inland. Continue along it for around four hundred metres until a well-signed path goes off to the right. Take this grassy path which winds between two rocky hillocks and passes yet another finely located picnic table.
The path then descends slightly and passes through a gap in a drystone wall. Beyond this is a fork; the return route to Crinan Harbour is off to the right, but before going this way turn left in order to climb up to a pointy little summit viewpoint. The path up to it is clear and the detour is a short one but is well worth making. The hill is crowned with the remains of ‘Castle Dounie’, an iron-age dun or hill-fort; there are clear sections of outer wall remaining complete with some small chambers. The main attraction, however, is the view, which is simply stunning. The summit is very steep on the other sides which gives great drama to the views up and down the coast, as well as across the sound to Jura and Scarba, divided by the famous Gulf of Corryvreckan and its whirlpool. More distant are Mull, and if the day is clear, Ben Cruachan.