Ah, what a beautiful, beautiful site I reckon this to be, quite possibly now my favourite in the Kilmartin area..... and, let's face it, there are quite a few to choose from. Yeah, Dunadd may have rightly captured the popular imagination when it comes to Argyll hillforts, what with its legendary status and expertly protected 'footprint' that tourist punters can try for size.... audience participation is always a sure fire winner. However I think Creag a' Chapuill beats it hands down in every respect, save that mystical 'sacred mountain' profile rising above the River Add. Instead the much larger enclosure, perched high upon this isolated crag, has views to die for - just ensure sure you don't make that a reality! - bending its metaphorical knee to a sacred 'hill' in an altogether different league... the mighty Ben Cruachan
Creag a' Chapuill is but one - albeit by far the largest, as far as I can tell - of a chain of high, fortified enclosures guarding the northern approach to Kilmartin Glen, overlooking the western end of the wondrous Loch Awe, not forgetting its much smaller consort Loch Ederline, near the small village of Ford. Exquisite scenery, exquisite vibe. Sheer crags to the south make a substantial contribution to both the former and latter, not to mention defensibility. A great dry stone rampart, significant remnants of which still girdle the hillside 'filling in the gaps' between natural rocky crags, did the remainder and must have ensured this hillfort was well nigh unassailable before the coming of the Roman war machine. If it ever came this far, that is? Bloody Romans.
Access is still pretty difficult today, although no doubt I made much harder work of it than needed to be the case approaching from the west, what with blundering through trees etc. Well, it looked easy enough upon my old 1:50K OS map. But then again doesn't it always? Anyway, take the A816 north from Kilmartin and, passing the B840 turn-off to Ford, park in the layby by the entrance to Tibertich, that is on the left. Opposite, an old stone wall meets the road to the right of an old quarry. Follow this upwards along a rough, grassy path-cum-track through a linear break in the forestry, a momentary glimpse of Creag a'Chapuill crowning the skyline above and beyond invoking an involuntary 'bloody hell' from this traveller. Now assuming you don't 'go walkabout' the route, following the same line, eventually emerges upon a forestry track, the hillfort nowhere to be seen. Head left here and, at the track terminus, veer right to double back on a parallel course through the trees. If you're on the money the hillfort will eventually tower above to your right, with a barbed wire-lined drystone wall to left. Clamber up as best you can and simply savour what must be one of Kilmartin's least known, but most spectacular major sites. Hey, Loch Awe never looked so good.