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Kilchurn Castle

The ruins of medieval Kilchurn Castle with their great scenic beauty, secret elements and subtle mystics enjoy huge popularity among the enthusiasts of romantic views and wonderful landscapes. This castle, which transfixed with its majestic and breathtaking appearance in its golden age, is located on the west coast of Scotland, on the shores of Loch Awe. Members of noble Scottish Clan Campbell struggled to settle in their family hearth for several generations until they moved their new seat to Taymouth Castle. The merciless time destroyed great part of this abandoned stronghold but, nevertheless, it was not completely forgotten as contemporary tourists very often visit Kilchurn, which became famous for being one of the most frequently photographed buildings in Scotland.

History of Kilchurn Castle

The history of Kilchurn Castle has its roots in the time when a five-storey defensive tower was built on a small rocky island in the mid-15th century. The tower itself was protected by a defensive wall while the island was connected to the mainland with a built causeway that was hidden from strangers by Loch Awe. Over several centuries, the shallow lake uncovered an artificial pass, transforming the island into a peninsula. However, in the previous years of the castle history, only insiders knew about the route running along the embankment. The founder of the castle was Sir Colin Campbell, the first Lord of Glenorchy from an influential clan. He controlled a great part of west Scotland in the late Middle Ages.

Due to his numerous trips and visits in Rome, Colin Campbell, called by the people of that time Black Colin of Rome, became famous for his fight against Turks in Rhodes in the ranks of the Knights Hospitallers. According to the legend, a charm stone – a magic stone-amulet that later was displayed in the collection of similar artefacts in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh – protected Colin against danger. No wonder that the construction of Kilchurn Castle was supervised by Margaret Campbell for most of the time, who successfully managed this task during her husband’s long-lasting war expeditions. On the ground level of the tower were dungeons and cellars. On the first floor was an audience hall and on the other floors were private chambers and auxiliary facilities. (more)

What can you see there?

Kilchurn Castle is in the care of the «Historic Scotland» agency, it was classified as a building in ruins so tourists can visit the castle only in summer, but only if the weather is nice. On the stronghold premises, the walls of two facilities are the best preserved elements, i.e. a tower house-keep and a garrison. The round corner turrets on the north and south side of the castle look pretty good as well. The keep towering with its height almost does not have any interior. It can only regale tourists with a walk around its storeys. To provide safety for tourists, safety barriers were installed on the tower’s viewing terrace. That is why everybody can fully enjoy the extremely beautiful views of the nearby mountains and the overflow area of Loch Awe.

A very popular custom among the visitors of Kilchurn Castle is a compulsory search for the corbel from the round tower that completely came off its basis during a storm in 1769. It still lies on the courtyard that is overgrown with grass, and if you do not know about it, you can take it for a round steplike platform. Besides a trip on the castle premises, tourists are also recommended to take a walk across the surrounding area to assess the architecture of the stronghold from a different perspective, in particular from the south side where the tower with a distinctive medieval appearance rises. After the lake was drained in the 1840s, the island where the castle stood was transformed into a peninsula. That is why during a walking trip you can clearly see the same causeway that once was hidden by the lake, making it a secret route to the castle.

You can visit Kilchurn Castle:

from April to September – 09:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.