Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

Kilchurn Castle

Kilchrun Castle is a scenic ruin at the north-east end of Loch Awe. Normally I don't feature such well known places on my site, but it was so photogenic that I made an exception. It was originally built in 1450, but parts of it were added in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was abandoned in 1760 after being damaged by lightning. You can read more about Kilchurn Castle at Undiscovered Scotland.

I photographed Kilchurn Castle over two days in June 2010. I hoped to get some shots of the castle illuminated by the first rays of dawn, so in the evening I scouted out a good vantage point, then returned before sunrise the following morning. Unfortunately the rising sun was obscured by clouds, so I couldn't get the shots that I had in mind. I did get some eerie shots of the castle partially obscured by mist swirling above the loch, so I was still quite satisfied.

The castle once stood on a small island, but the water level in the loch decreased in 1817, so it is now connected to the mainland. I parked in a small gravel car park by the side of the A85 road, from which it was a pleasant 500 metre walk to the castle.

Some minimal repairs had been made to stabilize the structure, and some steel stairs and platforms had been added for the benefit of visitors, but no restoration work had been done. This is as it should be - a restoration of such a badly damaged building would be virtually a reconstruction, and would spoil its charm.

Although the castle is managed by Historic Scotland, there was no entry fee, information centre, or souvenir shop. The only people that I encountered were other visitors.