Kilchurn Castle

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Kilchurn Castle is a Campbell castle situated 2 miles west of the small village of Dalmally, 22 miles east of Oban next to the main A85 road to Oban.

The castle is known for its scenic setting by the loch with mountains all around. About 1 mile along the road towards Oban there is also St Conans Kirk to visit, as well as the Loch Awe Hotel and Ben Cruachan Inn. The Cruachan Power Station with a visitor centre is 5 miles west along the road towards Oban.

The Castle can be visited throughout the summer free of charge. Postcode: PA33 1AF

Castle Map Large Images

See also a large Click On Map for Top Attractions in the area.

The image top is from the half mile long path from the car park out to the castle. Very occasionally high water levels can cover the path so visits cannot be made. The narrow lane into the car park can be easily missed as there are no signs and there are trees either side of the entrance.



Kilchurn Castle is situated at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, third largest freshwater loch in Scotland after Loch Ness, and the largest Loch Lomond. It was built in the mid 1400s for the Campbell's of Glenorchy who were becoming the dominant Clan in the area at that time.

1100s - the area around Loch Awe was home to a number of Clans such as the Campbell's, Macarthurs, MacGregors, and Stewarts.

1414 - Duncan Campbell, 1st Lord Campbell, became head of the Campbell's of Loch Awe.

1450? - Kilchurn Castle was the first of many castle built for the Campbell's throughout the Central Highlands of Scotland as they became the prominent Clan in the area. Campbell's would become the most notable Clan that helped Government Forces defeat the Jacobite's.

The original castle was a five-storey tower house, with a courtyard and outer wall. Before the water levels on Loch Awe were lowered by a drainage project in 1817, the castle was on a small island accessed by a causeway.

The original Castle was extended over the following centuries.

1513 - Duncan Campbell, 2nd Lord of Glenorchy, was one of the many Scottish nobles killed at the Battle of Flodden. This battle took place after James IV of Scotland declared war on England to help the French who were at war with England at the time. The English won the battle with James IV killed in combat.

1614 - Sir Duncan Campbell (Black Duncan) had the south range of the castle rebuilt and enlarged, also adding a chapel in the courtyard.

1688 - King James II Stuart was deposed in the Glorious Revolution, becoming the last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland.

He was succeeded to the throne by the protestant Mary II Stuart and her husband William of Orange.

This led to a number of Clans in Scotland wanting the restoration of Catholic Stuart's to the throne. These Clans were known as Jacobite's.

These Clans included: Athol Highlanders, Fraser, MacClachlan, MacClean, MacGillivray, Mackintosh, Macdonald, and McGregor. Some Clans had men fighting on both sides.

There were also a number of Clans that remained loyal to the Protestant Monarchs.

These Clan members were formed into Regiments such as the Argyll Militia, Black Watch, and Loudon's Highlanders.

1689 - Sir John Campbell, 5th Baronet, was involved in negotiating with Jacobite rebels to try and prevent uprisings in the Highlands. As tensions rose throughout the highlands, Sir John converted Kilchurn Castle into barracks to hold up to 200 government troops.

1715 - Sir John changed sides when he joined the Earl of Mar's First Jacobite Rising.

The failure of that rising led the pro-government Alexander Campbell of Fonab taking control of Kilchurn Castle and holding Sir John under house arrest until his death the following year.

1745 - Kilchurn Castle was used to house government troops during the Second Jacobite Rising.

These Rebellions led to more government barracks being built around the highlands to prevent any further wars.

1746 - the Battle of Culloden sees Jacobite forces defeated by Government troops. This was the last major battle to take place on the British mainland.

Many Jacobite's were executed at this time, with many more forced to emigrate to the Americas.

1760 - Kilchurn Castle was damaged by lightning and abandoned. The turret of a tower is still in the courtyard where it landed after the storm.

1783 - America won independence from the Great Britain, leading to Jacobite's and other Scots accused of crimes from that time being transported to Australia and New Zealand.

1817 - the water level in Loch Awe was lowered by a drainage project leading to the castle now being on a peninsula.

1882 - the head of the Campbell's took up residence in their large new built Taymouth Castle 48 miles northeast.

Kilchurn Castle is now run by Historic Environment Scotland as a tourist attraction open to the public free of charge during the summer.

High water levels at times may prevent visits by walking out from the car park.

Official website:
historicenvironment.scot

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Kilchurn Castle Photos