Walk: Takin' a lichen to Castle Dounie

Argyll & Bute | Crinan | Half day walk | ★★★

[Castle Dounie]

Acres of dark forest cloak the hills above Crinan. South of the village the landscape seems devoid of all human activity apart from forestry operations; the lichen covering every bough with a rich tapestry of fur is a sign of exceptionally clean air. This region hasn't always been uninhabited though: go back a few thousand years though and the north top of Creag Mhòr was the site of an iron-age hill fort, now called Castle Dounie. Views from the rocky remains are fantastic, taking in Islay, Jura, Scarba and large swathes of coastal Argyll. It may have been our imagination, but we even thought we could hear the savage roar of the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, out of sight about 7 miles away. Let us know if you experience the same thing.

[Trees covered in lichen]

📌 Walk: Takin' a lichen to Castle Dounie ★★★
Start / finish at car park at Crinan Harbour, G.R.: NR 784942 ///stew.glad.users

▶ 7 km / 4 mi | ▲ 260 m | ⌚ Half a day | Moderate
Features: Crinan ★★★; Castle Dounie; △ Creag Mhòr north top (175 m)
Terrain: Clear paths and tracks; a bit muddy lower down with some steep sections. The section nearest Crinan may (just) be submerged at high tide.

Route map

Car park & Crinan Harbour - coast path to G.R.: NR 779942 - track junction at G.R. NR 775939 - Castle Dounie by direct route - return to track junction by northern loop - start by outward route. Route mostly waymarked in green and on map here (no. 6).

Route credit: Forestry and Land Scotland

On our visit

Wildlife: Several grey herons; small birds and ducks
Weather: Sun coming out after a cloudy start; light winds, about 5°C but ground partly frozen.

Chronological photo guide

[Crinan Harbour]

[Heron at the start]

[Bay at Crinan Harbour]

[View back to Crinan from the short tidal section]

[Coast path]

[Eilean dà Mhèinn in the bay]

[Sea views on the ascent]

[Paths are generally good, though with some wet spots]

[Approaching Castle Dounie]

[Trees covered in lichen]

[Castle Dounie]

[View north from Castle Dounie]

[Looking northeast]

[Looking west]

[Looking southwest]

[Empty landscape]

[Return track]

[View over the Sound of Jura from the return track]


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