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Kilchurn Castle: Know Its History

The Kilchurn Castle remains standing to this day on a rocky peninsula in Loch Awe in Scotland. The castle is already ruined, but visitors could still see a good deal of it. Usually, it is best for dramatic photoshoots and great for sunset views during the Spring.

For now, it is temporarily closed. So if you want to understand and know more about the castle but cannot visit it yet, you can read this article to learn its history.

Kilchurn Castle got constructed first in the mid-15th century. It became the base of the Campbells of Glenorchy. During their time at the Kilchurn Castle, they became the most powerful cadet branch of their clan. They dominated the central Highlands for two centuries.

The Kilchurn Castle was not the only castle of the Campbells, but it was the first castle they built for their territorial expansion. The Kilchurn Castle was five stories high and had a courtyard. On the ground level, there was a cellar and a prison. There was also a hall on the first floor, and private chambers got constructed above.

It had an outer wall to defend the inhabitants from possible attackers. During that time, the Kilchurn Castle inhabitants could only access it through an underwater or low-lying ramp as it was on a small island. Initially, only a few people knew how to get to the castle.

After it got built, expansions were made. One of the Campbells’ sons made a single-story dining hall alongside the south curtain of the Kilchurn Castle. Later, another renovation got completed by adding chambers to the north of the tower house. Years later, the castle’s south wing was rebuilt and enlarged, and a chapel was also added.

In the year 1681, Sir John Campbell, negotiated with the Jacobite rebels. So, in the 1690s, Sir John Campbell converted the Kilchurn castle into a modern barracks to house around 200 troops. The renovation was in anticipation of the Jacobite rising in the year 1715. By 1745, the Kilchurn castle was used as a government garrison.

It was abandoned after the Campbells became the Earls of Breadalbane, and they had to move to the Taymouth Castle. The Campbells tried to have the castle sold to the government, but they failed to do so. Because of such failure, this prompted the Campbells to move to Taymouth Castle.

Inside of Kilchurn Castle in Scotland

Since the abandonment, it was in ruins. It got severely damaged in the year 1760 after the Kilchurn castle was badly hit by lighting. Four years later, the castle’s roof was no longer there.

It is under the care of the Historic Environment Scotland, but it never got restored. Also, some people tried to get some materials from the castle for their purposes. This was not prohibited before as no one owned the castle for years.

Despite the ruined castle, it is one of the most photographed castles in the whole of Scotland. Poets and painters also go here to draw inspiration from the once stronghold of the Campbells.


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