On a tiny peninsula at the northern tip of Loch Awe surrounded by glens, Kilchurn Castle is one of the most photographed spots in Scotland. The castle of 1,000 calendar covers, Kilchurn has had many lives: it served as the powerhouse of the Campbell clan from the year 1440 and was even later used as barracks able to house up to 200 troops during the Jacobite Risings. In the 1750s, however, a huge fire caused by lightning ran right through the castle, and its ruins have been abandoned ever since.
Kilchurn is for anyone who has ever dreamed of having a ruined Scottish castle all to themselves, with no tourist trinket shops around. There isn’t even an attendant at the door of this picturesque ruin, but despite being unmanned, there are plenty of information boards throughout the castle. Climb to the top of its four-story tower for views of the loch and surrounding hills, and remember to say hi to the sheep on your way out!
Kilchurn Castle is at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, 2.5 miles west of Dalmally village off the A85. If coming by public transport, trains from Glasgow Queen Street station can take you to the Dalmally. If coming by car, it’s a half-mile walk from the castle car park just off the A85 road. Entrance is free, and the castle is open from April to September, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.