Kilchurn Castle is a ruined 15th and 17th century structure on a rocky peninsula at the north eastern end of Loch Awe, in the Argyll and Bute region of Scotland. It was home to the Clan Campbell and was built at the end of the 15th century by Sir Colin Campbell, the first Lord of Glenorchy. Kilchurn Castle has been at the heart of many clan rivalries and passed from Clan MacGregor to the Campbells through marriage with the MacGregor’s as the appointed as keepers. This lasted until the very early part of the 17th century, when a violent feud between the two families brought this arrangement to an end and the Campbells retook possession.
In 1681, Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy was made 1st Earl of Breadalbane. Taking advantage of the troubled times he converted Kilchurn into a modern barracks, capable of housing 200 troops. His main addition to the castle was the three storey L-shaped block along the north side which was later used as a Government garrison during the Jacobite revolutions of 1715 and 1740.
When it was originally built the castle stood on a small island. However, changes to the water level in the early 1800’s made it accessible via a causeway. In 1760, the castle was badly damaged by lightning causing serious damage and resulting in it being completely abandoned. The remains of a turret still rests upside-down in the courtyard.
Art lovers may know the castle through the work of Turner and his watercolour ‘Midday.’
Kilchurn Castle is believed by many to be haunted by several very unhappy spirits. There are dozens of stories of people who have visited the castle being made to feel unwelcome and one woman claims she was tripped by something unseen which resulted in her breaking her wrist. On another occasion a young couple were camping within the walls of the castle. The man went to watch the sunset while his girlfriend stayed to set up for dinner. Both experienced an icy sensation and heard a woman’s voice cry out: ‘Free me’. Deeply spooked, they fled the site as fast as they could.
The castle can be accessed on foot from the Dalmally roadside (A85) under the nearby railway viaduct. This is via the loch-side, which can flood periodically, so caution is advised.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A828 (Rd), Barcaldine by Connel
Argyll, Scotland, PA37 1SG
+44 (0)1603 620 060
- Address: A85,Lochawe, Dalmally, Argyll and Bute, (Strathclyde)Scotland, United Kingdom, PA33 1AF
- GPS: 56.40368889,-5.027522222
- Phone: 0044 (0)1316 688 600
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: PA33 1AF
- Entrance Fees: Free Access
- Disabled Access: Very poor
- Visibility from Road: Very good from A819 & A85
- Image Credits: Header Image: Targn Pleiades