Kilchurn Castle, Argyll, Scotland

Kilchurn Castle is a romantic ruin situated at the northern end of Loch Awe in Argyll, West of Scotland. Location is about 16 miles directly north of Inveraray.

The name translates as 'straits of the cairn' (on Loch Awe).

The castle is managed by government agency, Historic Environment Scotland and is open between April 1st and September 30th. Access is from the Dalmally roadside (A85) under the nearby railway viaduct. To reach the site entails waking over agricultural land which can be subject to flooding.

For persons wishing to avoid the cross-country trek there is an unofficial vantage point on A819 highway. A long lens or binoculars would be helpful. Care is required here due to volume of traffic.

Diligent and patient photographers can obtain excellent results here by timing visit to coincide with sunset, sunrise and/or suitable weather conditions such as snow and rainbows.

A brief history of Kilchurn Castle:
  • Originally a Tower House dating from 1440 when associated with Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy aka Black Knight of Rhodes.
  • Kilchurn was a key link in maintaining Campbell control of Western Scotland post 1500.
  • Besieged by Royalists for two days in 1654 and again in 1685 in context of a rebellion by the Earl of Argyll, a Protestant, against the forces of the Catholic James VII.
  • Garrisoned by Hanoverian troops during the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745.
  • In 1740 the Campbells relocated to Taymouth Castle in Perthshire and abandoned Kilchurn. Later, in 1769, the castle was damaged by lightning. The castle was then used as a quarry by local builders.
  • In 1817, drainage work resulted in a lowering of the water level on Loch Awe leaving the castle positioned on dry land and well suited to the local landscape.


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