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Loch Awe, in Argyll, is a large freshwater loch running for some twenty two miles from near Dalmally in the north-east down to Ford, which is close to the head of Loch Craignish in the south-west. The loch is quite narrow,
except at the northern end where it opens up into an islet dotted stretch of water. The river Awe, one of the finest salmon rivers in the west of Scotland, runs off
towards Loch Etive, which it enters near Bonawe.

 

This lovely part of the loch is dominated on its northern shore by the great bulk of Ben Cruachan (3,689 feet),
below which the Pass of Brander follows the line of the river to the north-west and the coast. This is one of the greatest of all Scotland’s many majestic mountains and its twin peaks make it distinctive but a cluster of lovely little islands at this end of the loch draws the eye away from the splendid mountain.

On Innischonnel are the ruins of an ancient castle known as the Cradle of the Campbells. The loch is in fact deep in the heart of Campbell territory but in later years they shared the loch with other clans, notably the
MacNaughtons who had a castle at Innisfroach. On Inishail island are the ruins of a convent and chapel and the remains of a Celtic graveyard.

Loch Awe and the ruins of Kilchurn Castle Scotland
Loch Awe and the ruins of Kilchurn Castle, Scotland. Kilchurn Castle and Loch Awe - 10x8 Print
(25x20cm) by Robert Harding
.

Kilchurn Castle, formerly a Campbell stronghold, is also a ruin, standing on a low island in the loch. It was built by
Cohn Campbell, Lord of Lochow in about 1440. As a fortress at the time of the ‘45 it was held by Lord Bread albane with a strengthened garrison to prevent the Jacobites from passing south by this route.

Also situated near the north-eastern end of Loch Awe is Dalmally, in the wooded and pleasant valley of the river
Orchy where it flows into the loch. Beinn Donachain divides Glen Orchy and Glen Strae, above the town and both are now being re-forested after the clearances of
the 1820’s which denuded their flanks of all trees. Just two miles below the town stands a monument to the Gaelic poet Duncan Maclntyre.

On the southern shore of the loch is Portsonachan, a small township now mainly a holiday centre joined by ferry to Taychreggan on the opposite bank. Just to the east of Portsonachan, Glen Aray cuts south through the mountains to Inveraray while a picturesque wood-shaded road runs along the southern shore of Loch Awe to Ford at the far end of the loch. Rob Roy lived for ten years in a house built for him in Glen Shira which runs behind the bulk of Beinn Ghlas (1,803 feet) to the east.



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