Friday, July 29, 2022

St Conan's part 2

Loch Awe is rather awesome.  Once, as a schoolchild canoed all the way down it. It was the week before Christmas.

I don’t think my thumbs have ever recovered.


It’s a nice part of the world, but a bit where most people pass through. Because of the logistics of the Loch Lomond road,  most people in olden times  (pre 1870)  would go up to Stirling and then cut across the top of Loch Lomond to get to Oban and that part of the west coast. We are not talking great distances here.  Normally the Loch road is  one hour thirty minutes from our front door to the campsite. Via Stirling, it’s two hours but no where near as much fun.


Occupied dwellings started to appear along the  Dalmallty/Taynuilt in the later parts of the 1800’s.

And what has that got to do with the price of cheese, I hear you ask.


The church of last week’s blog sits on this road. It’s plain façade to the front,  the ornamental beauty of it looks out over the water.


And, as I hinted, it may look very old, the air is certainly heavy with antiquity and worship. It was only dedicated  as a church in 1930.


The south terrace has the sundial, and the view from that exact point, unspoiled up and down the loch – the guide book says unspoiled and it’s true. It’s also true that often you can’t see your hand in front of your face. On my school canoe trip ( character building ), the  fog came down so thick and fast we had to raft up, and had be rescued – towed by a boat with that really sensible thing, an engine.  We had wetsuits on so weren’t really in danger of extreme hypothermia… just the mild variety.

Anyway, somebody standing on the spot where the sundial is now decided to build the church exactly there. On a fine day, there’s a lot to see from this spot. Ben Lui lies beyond Kilchurn Castle. It tends to have a wee hat of snow for more than half the year.

As the church stands now, there’s a statue of St Conan himself, enjoying that self same view.

Glen Lochy, Orchy and Strae are all visible.  On a clear day when the moon aligns with aquarius an there’s a z in the month.

 There are three very small dark islands visible from that point. Innishail ( Green Isle) was the burial ground for the people of Loch Awe. Another was the base of the MacNaughton Clan. The third, muchcloser to the shore is  Innischonain which belonged to the Campbell clan at some time. It was that family who decided to build St Conan’s Kirk.


The legend says that lived in Glen Orchy, and was a follower of St Columba. He tutored the two young princes of Scotland. 

The south/west facing stained glass window.

                                                Robert the Bruce with a lion at his feet. 
                                                   This is not his burial place....

The head of the clans have their own seats, and cushions.

These McGregors!

Still, the tranquility of a place of worship.

                                                             Seats near the altar for the clan heads

I was curious what this was.....

A simple cross in the corner.

outside stone steps go up to a strange little door...

The central courtyard.

Carvings still in progress.
A local plumber is still working on the gargoyles  outside.

A lovely sentiment...loveth well both man and bied and beast...

And a wee tea room

This is Kilchurn Castle at the south end of the loch.



1 comment:

  1. Why do I sense the setting for one rip roarer of a mystery in the offing? And, yes, I fondly remember that road from Stirling up to Oban.