Kilchurn Castle, Argyll
18 miles east of Oban. North East end of Loch Awe
The setting for Kilchurn Castle has to be one of the most perfect in all of the Scottish Highlands, situated on the marshy edge of Loch Awe, set against the mountains with swirling clouds and rising mists. Its granite walls and chimneys rising like jagged teeth above the trees provides a stunning silhouette. Its position on a peninsula reaching out into the loch gives it some protection from attack on three sides.
It was home to a junior branch of the Argyll family, the Campbells of Glenorchy, who became the Earls of Breadalbane and who held considerable estates in Highland Perthshire.
On the northward side the River Orchy enters the loch. The water level of the loch was originally higher, flooding the landward side and forming an island upon which the castle stood.
Kilchurn Castle is simply the perfect Highland Castle and feature on any must explore list of any budding Castle~Finder.
~ History ~
1400's - The lands of Glenorchy are originally in the hands of the MacGregors but pass to the Campbells through marriage.
1432 - Sir Duncan Campbell, the future Lord Campbell, grants the Lordship of Glenorchy to his younger son Colin.
1440's - Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Breadalbane, builds a simple square five storey Tower House.
1500's - The Laich Hall is built alongside the inside of the south diagonal wall of the courtyard, with one end near the Tower.
1550's - A second storey is added to the Laich Hall.
1570's - The Tower House is remodelled, and circular corner turrets are added.
1610's - There is a violent family feud between the Campbells and the MacGregors and for a while the MacGregors are appointed keepers to Kilchurn.
1616 - The heightened Laich Hall is joined to the Tower House by a new range containing two vaulted cellars over which a are a chapel and attic.
1654 - The castle is briefly besieged.
1685 - The castle is garrisoned by Sir John of Glenorchy in support of the government action against the 9th Earl of Argyll's invasion.
1690's - The final phase of construction is carried out by the first Earl of Breadalbane. Round towers are added to the north, south and west corners of the heightened barmkin wall and a range of barracks, room for 200 soldiers, built along the northwest side.
1715 - The castle is garrisoned for the government forces during the first Jacobite rising.
1745 - The castle is again garrisoned during the second Jacobite rising.
1760's - The castle is abandoned in favour of the other family castle at Taymouth and also to their Perthshire estates.
1770's - The tower is struck by lightning after which no repairs are carried out to the roof and the fabric of the castle rapidly deteriorates.
1880's - Towards the end of the 19th century a decline sets in through gambling and poor management which results in the loss of all the lands and the destitution of the family. Kilchurn castle is the last to go.