Located at the northeastern end of Loch Awe in Argyll, Scotland, you will find the 15th century ruins of Kilchurn Castle. It is one of the most photographed castle ruins in the country because of the picturesque location and the romantic images it evokes, even in its current state of decay. The only access to this castle is by boat, during the summer months. You will have to take the A85 road to Lochawe, from where the boats for the castle leave from the pier.
Today Kilchurn Castle is under the management of the Historic Trust of Scotland. However, it was once the ancestral home of the Breadalbane family of the Clan Campbell. It was a four storey building constructed in the mid 1400’s by Sir Colin Campbell. In 1693, it was greatly enlarged to become the first structure built-in Scotland for the express purpose of being an army barracks.
Kilchurn Castle stands on a low plateau of rock and on the northwest side of the castle, the River Orchy enters Loch Awe. At one time, the waters of the loch were higher so that the area where the castle was located was an island. The original plan of the castle was that of a rectangle, but only the southern corner now remains. The tower is located in the eastern corner of the courtyard. Teak stairs have been installed so that visitors have access to the upper areas of the tower. From here you get a commanding view of Glenstrae, Glenorchy and across the loch to Cruachan.
During the 16th century, the MacGregors of Glenstrae were the official keepers of Kilchurn Castle because the Campbells spent much of their time at Fincharn. However, this arrangement came to an end in the early 1600?s with a violent feud between the two clans.
During the Jacobite Rebellions from 1715 to 1745, Kilchurn Castle was the site of the government garrison. The Breadalbane family hoped to sell the castle to the government, but they were unsuccessful in this endeavour. They left the area to settle in the eastern part of Scotland, where they also had a castle – Taymouth Castle. In 1750, lightning struck Kilchurn Castle leaving it badly damaged.
Kilchurn Castle was different from other Scottish castles of the time. In the others the entrance to the castle was at the first floor level, but in Kilchurn, the main entrance was at the ground level. There was a Great Hall above the vaulted entrance and the storeys above provided the family’s living quarters.
This Castle was a lot of fun to get to. About a three mile round trip but the weather was beautiful.