The beautiful, abandoned ruins of Kilchurn Castle in Scotland

Kilchurn Castle sits on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Left: 4652 Paces, CC BY-ND 2.0. Right: Ian Dick, CC BY 2.0


Although Kilchurn Castle is now in a state of disrepair, it is still a beautiful ruin in an extraordinarily scenic location surrounded by green Scottish hills and the crystal clear Loch Awe.

The castle was built on a rocky peninsula on the northeastern side of the loch in the mid-15th century. It was home to the Campbells of Glenorchy until it was abandeoned in the 17th century.


Kilchurn Castle on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. 4652 Paces, CC BY-ND 2.0
Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute, Scotland., CC BY 2.0

The Campbells of Glenorchy became the most powerful branch of the Campbell family by the mid-15th century. This allowed them to expand their territory and build imposing defensive fortresses. Castle Kilchurn was the first of these endeavors. Sir Colin Campbell, 1st Lord of Glenorchy, was the man who built it.

Sir Colin was granted lands by his father Duncan Campbell, 1st Lord of Campbell, ancestor of the Earls of Argyll. Among the lands Sir Colin received from his father was Glen Orchy, the territory from which the new family name was derived and the place where Kilchurn Castle would eventually be built.

The first castle consisted of a five-story tower house, a courtyard, and a defensive outer wall. At that time the island was scarcely bigger than the castle itself and the entrance was a low-lying causeway.

Kilchurn Castle, taken from inside the courtyard. Magnus Hagdorn, CC BY-SA 2.0


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