“Scotland? In March?! Nah. I’m good Bro.”

 

Something that the uninitiated could be forgiven for thinking. It is the most northerly region of Great Britain after all.

 

Freezing cold and dreary gloom. Piercing winds and biting rain. Things never in short supply in these parts. But if you do your research, and the Celtic Gods are on your side, you could be in for one hell of a treat…

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View point near Achnacairn

Scotland in early march is a beautiful and strongly contrasting place. The sun lying low in the sky gives out a light bring texture and life to the dark yellows, greens and browns in this landscape. I recently visited with my Bro, Sav, and we were lucky enough to witness some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen on the British Isles.

In this mini destination guide I want to show you Bro’s a sliver of what Scotland has to offer, in terms of nature and heritage. Hopefully inspiring you to get up there and explore the highlands (and lowlands) for yourselves.

Kilchurn Castle

Getting There

There are a couple train stations (Loch Awe & Dalmally) nearby but the easiest way around rural Scotland is by car.

Sav Bro and I were travelling from the coastal city of Oban, so it took us about 40 minutes driving.

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The turning off the A85 is marked by just a couple of white/red pillars, no sign. Located a few hundred meters from the bridge over the river Orchy it’s easy to miss.

Bringing you onto a dirt road leading to a small car park, if you can call it that. (Beware of crater size pot holes)

The Walk

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Once you park up out look out for the little stone sign directing you to the beginning of the walk.

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From here it’s straight forward, the path forks early on just before the bridge. Take the path to the left and follow for 600m or so to the castle. Trust me, you can’t miss it.

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There is an alternative route if the ground isn’t to boggy, which was the case when we were there.

(Details at the end)

The Castle

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Kilchurn castle was built in the mid-15th Century by Sir Colin Campbell and came to ruin during the 18th century. It’s located on a grassy mound, it’s now only protected by herd of a very jumpy and camera-shy sheep. The castle was originally surrounded by water but changes to the surrounding geography, made in more recent times means, its now accessible by foot.

The entrance to the castle was unfortunately locked closed when we arrived, as it is mainly open in summer. (Yeah should have done a bit more research) But if someone really wanted to get in, a ladder and some rope should be enough to scale the more broken down walls around the back of the castle. Urban-explorers out there, if you ever thought of transitioning in to country exploring….

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—I wish I could tell you Sav Bro scaled the castle wall like a Chinese Spider-man. I cannot.—

Around the back of the castle is a secluded sandy beach. A nice place to grab a bit of lunch whilst looking out over Loch Awe. We also found an abandoned camp fire, so it is tried and tested spot for wild camping. Well before the midges arrive anyway, later in the year.

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Walking round to final side there is a little jetty that gives the best views over the water. It has a small and very ineffective gate which shouldn’t give you much hassle overcoming. (Hint – roll in under the railings).

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Mt. Ben Lui in the background

This is also a superb spot to see some of the local wildlife and the stunning Ben Lui’s ice capped peaks in the distance. If you’re looking for a serine place to appreciate nature and mediate on life this is the spot.

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From here you can either come back the way you came.
Or, you could walk the sandy shore beginning at the mouth of the River Orchy back to the bridge and join the main path from there. It can get quiet boggy in places, so be warned.

Bro Breakdown

  • Price – Free
  • Nice place to stop for a quick visit on the way to/from Oban and Loch Lomond
  • Jetty and Castle are officially open in Summer, but be prepared for seasonal midge attack.
  • For further information on Kilchurn castle and other walks in Scotland visit walk highlands site:

 http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/argyll/kilchurn-castle.shtml

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