Thursday, 30 September 2010

Loch Awe 3 - Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn GJC_IMG_8636

Kilchurn Castle is the most famous view on the shores of Loch Awe as it is usually the subject of Scottish scenic calendars.
The castle which is now situated on a peninsula was once located on its own island until 1817 when the water level was slightly lowered due to the exits of the Loch being tampered with. It is thought that it was joined by an underwater causeway.
The car park wasn't signposted and I back tracked a few times to find a road exit on the Loch side. The walk to the castle wasn't a short one and included going under the Glasgow - Oban railway. The reason I included the bridge photo (below) apart from demonstrating the low cloud, was to mention that I have seen this castle on numerous occasions from the train when I followed the class 37 diesels when they worked these lines up to 1989. These days my visits to these parts are by an extremely long day charter train and are less frequent ( bi annual May bank holiday ... including this year, Oban blog label ). The Castle is quite difficult to photograph as the train moves at speed with a mix of numerous tree obstructions and photographers fighting for a window space !!

On approaching the castle, it seems more eerie to me than the magical calendar view that I am used to...

The walk GJC_IMG_8641

 ...the atmosphere is definitely not helped by the dark and looming clouds of the day....

Castle  GJC_IMG_8661

Kilchurn Castle was built in the 15th century by Colin Campbell and was originally meant to be a five storey tower. Improvements, additions and repairs were carried out over the next 2 centuries which included the facility for housing 200 soldiers. The round stone structure in the centre of the photo (above) was originally part up the upstairs masonry that was struck by lightning in 1760 and landed upside down. The castle was damaged by the constant raids of the MacGregors on the Campbells and was finally abandoned during the 18th century.
One thing I did think needed to be abandoned today was this French Horn player. It was a great idea to play in an ancient castle but maybe not to play a few random notes then constantly move around the building looking for the seemingly unachievable location.

It was time to go higher in search of the views and architecture. The Loch Awe hotel I spoke about in the previous post is shown through a window...

The View  GJC_IMG_8657

Doorway GJC_IMG_8678

As a castle, the walls would have been difficult to scale and in similar historical circumstances to predators falling from the walls in defeat from the defenders, so I half expected this German traveller with less than appropriate footwear to follow in the rich tradition of the place. The lengths people go to to plan their escape to avoid a history lesson !


  1. You make me feel quite guilty. We've stopped near here 3 times now, a total of 4 weeks holiday, and we've never visited either the castle or Conan church despite looking at them and thinking "we must go there"! I've now climbed all the Munros in the area though.

  2. Although I love all the pics, the third and eighth are my favorites. I would make that photo of the steps into a poster, for sure! And the gloom contributes to the stereotypical Scottish feel of the photos. No buildings around here are older than the 19th century, so I'm always in awe of castle ruins from so long ago.

    I would have preferred a bagpipe. :-)

  3. It may not be picture postcard perfect but this post has the essence and atmosphere of the area perfectly.

  4. Marvellous photos of the enigmatic ruins of the castle.

  5. I like to come here to go with you to discover places...
    It is monday morning!
    To go to my office or in your photo to visit Kilchurn Castle ?
    Better the castle!
    Have a great week!

  6. Colin... Would liked to have climbed Ben Cruachan but was trying to concentrate my hillwalking nearer Crianlarich where I was staying. As this was the bad weather forecast / my rest day, it was a considerable distance to see a bit of tourism... Scotland requires loads of petrol as opposed to the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales or Snowdonia. After seeing the castle on more occasions than I can care to remember from the train, I had always wanted to return and visit it, this was my ideal chance that doesn't come up very often, in fact this it was only the second time as a car driver that I have passed this way. As a photographer, you will find the church outstanding. J

    Cranberry morning... Would have preferred better weather, but then again, I might have found been pushing myself up another mountain. One thing I didn't say was that I had to run most of the way back to shelter under the railway bridge as the rain finally emptied out of the skies after tantalising me all day long. J

    Adrian... A very atmospheric day to match the building. Thanks for your inspiration for me trying to reply to comments.... not sure how long it will last !! J

    Felisa... Thanks for your comment and all your support, pleased you liked it. J

    Wind.... Glad you are enjoying the journey with me. Even though it was the worst weather day of the week.... monday morning, tuesday afternoon...... I'd join you in taking this option anytime as opposed to going to work !! J

  7. I just spent several hours with a map of the UK and your blog. I've traveled with you from your first post to the last, and I've had a wonderful journey. I tried to pick a favorite spot, but I couldn't - they are all beautiful. I hope to visit the UK one day, but if I'm not lucky enough to visit in person, I've had a virtual tour through your blog. Your photos are marvelous. I will be back to visit often.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. If you ever get the chance to visit Virginia, Monticello is one of many great places to tour. You would probably enjoy hiking along Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway with their great mountain views.


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