Castle Dounie Circuit Argyll

Last weekend Julie and I put Hannah in her “Bush Baby” backpack carrier and tried a beautiful small hillwalk with great views over Jura and Scarba and the Corryvreckan. These are three images of Julie holding Hannah after her urgent feed, (despite me being the one that carried her!), I got a tiny cereal bar!!!

This one is a candid shot of Julie revealing what is becoming apparent about her, she is becoming a photographer of some passion herself. I bore anyone I can corner about my views and learning about picture taking; the amazing thing is that I might not have put Julie off. Julie is seen here with her Canon 500D and Sigma 17-70 IS lens, lost in looking. Even the photo-backpack makes me feel it’s time to start nervously glancing over my shoulder at my rival:-)

The final corner on the well kept path before the summit of Castle Dounie, (which seems like a play on the old word “dun” for a hill-fort or hill dwelling), gives the most visually dramatic lead in to the best viewpoint over Jura that I have yet seen. This view is just south of Jura.

This however is the view of the famous Paps of Jura in the distance from the Iron Age fort that is Castle Dounie. I think this might be my favourite viewpoint from Argyll so far. The forestry track below gives some scale to the picture. Can I tell you that Hannah’s 8+ Kilos plus pack were taking their toll on my non hillwalking shoulders by this point.

This is the Southern view from the same spot looking over the Argyll coast in the Oban direction.

Nearly back at our car, this is the starting point of the walk. It begins at Crinan Harbour with its dense pack of moored boats.

This final image is of some Montbretia or Crocosmia, (keep me right gardeners), which I particularly love, picked out by my Canon 500D’s onboard flash. I like the dramatic shape of these flowers so much.

 

I took my Canon 500D and Sigma 18-200 lens on this stroll as I could easily hang it from the waist-belt of Hannah’s carrier. I don’t often use my 500D as I have a beloved 7D and 5D which always take preference, but for walking, smallest wins every time. The sensor in the 500D is as good in many settings as my 7D. The observation I would like to make here is about the Sigma 18-200; this lens is compact for walking and supremely flexible, but it doesn’t delight me. I am spoiled now by using pro quality Sigma zooms for wedding work and various fast primes for my portraiture. Although you begin to get critical about image quality between those, returning to an optical compromise lens like my 18-200 really reminds me how great they all are. This is a convenient and occasionally fabulous lens, but if my life depended on me losing just one of my lens collection, this would be the one; I like it but I don’t love it. Please don’t think I’m saying its bad, because it really isn’t, I’m just finally becoming the photographer who notices barrel and pincushion distortion as well as the lack of critical sharpness at the focal point. My ex-partner once bought a 17X zoom Fuji bridge camera and what seemed too good to be true was indeed to good to be true. You can’t make one zoom lens to cover the whole focal length range and give you sharp, low distortion pictures. Once realised, the Fuji went on Ebay. Basically you get convenience or you get quality. You dont easily get both. I suppose it begs the question, ” what is the best compromise”?

 

Anyway, if you are near the Crinan Canal and fancy a 2-hour walk with views, this is the grail-stroll. 

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  • I’ll get you two cereal bars next time … but you’re still carrying Hannah!

  • Better than a calender!.