This was taken on a wet, drizzly and misty February day two years ago, looking north across Loch Awe from its southeast side towards Kilchurn Castle which sits on a spit of land protruding into the loch on its northeast side. I was standing ankle-deep in mud and bog and you can see my location if you click on Map:view.
Kilchurn Castle (pronounced in Scotland as "Kil-hurn") was the ancestral home of the Campbells of Glen Orchy, who later became the Earls of Breadalbane, also known as the Breadalbane family branch of the Clan Campbell. The earliest construction on the castle was the towerhouse and Laich Hall (which looks here onto Loch Awe). Today, its picturesque setting and romantic state of decay apparently make it one of the most photographed structures in Scotland. But this was the first time that I can actually recall having seen it although I must have passed it on several occasions in the past and have certainly seen other photographs of it.
It is quite common to find a castle that started life as a stronghold before being converted over the years to first a comfortable, then a showcase, home: or which was abandoned in favour of a nearby fine house when the struggle of conversion became too much trouble and defence was no longer a priority.
But Kilchurn Castle evolved in a slightly different way. It was built in about 1450 by Sir Colin Campbell, first Lord of Glenorchy, and it started life as a five storey tower house with a courtyard defended by an outer wall. By about 1500 an additional range and a hall had been added to the south side of the castle. Further buildings went up during the 1500s and 1600s.
Not often appreciated today is that when built, Kilchurn was on a small island in Loch Awe scarcely larger than the castle itself. Most sources suggest it was accessed via an underwater or low lying causeway.
Kilchurn's development started to take an unusual turn in 1681. In that year, Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy was made first Earl of Breadalbane. His aim by 1689 was to take advantage of the turbulence that saw William and Mary become joint sovereigns. To this end he spent much of the 1690s converting Kilchurn Castle into a modern barracks capable of housing 200 troops. This saw the addition of a three storey L-shaped block along the north side of the castle.
By 1698 the Government had begun to convert Fort William into a stone fort from the wooden structure that had been placed at the head of Loch Linnhe in 1690. Whatever Sir John Campbell's real intentions in converting Kilchurn Castle, they were overtaken by the establishment of Fort William.
The Castle was used as a Government garrison during the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite Rebellions: but the family's efforts to sell it to the Government were unsuccessful. They left in 1740 and moved to Taymouth Castle in eastern Scotland, to spend their time developing their Perthshire estates. In 1760 the castle was badly damaged by lightning and was completely abandoned. It is now in the care of Historic Scotland.
You can see a larger version of this picture here.
Critiques | Translate
SnapRJW (31621) 2014-03-09 8:15
Fabulous shot John! I cannot help but wonder why you have 'sat' on this for so long. The misty atmosphere that I associate with Scotland is present in the BG and contrasts well with the crystal-clear sharp detail in the FG. I love the quality of the light, it's soft and diffuse but doesn't hinder your management of the details in the trio of trees and associated rock. This is beautifully processed and IMO one of your very best shots.
willperrett (7630) 2014-03-09 8:33
You old Romantic, you! This looks straight out of the 19th century. Except that there was no colour film in those days. But a seriously effective landscape shot in a beautiful location. The weather has perhaps even helped you achieve a romantic atmosphere. Excellent.
Romano46 (18472) 2014-03-09 9:30
una visione magica e piena di incanti.
Mancano nella foto solo le fate ed i folletti sulle rive per completare il quadro.
Una delle tue più belle foto paesaggistiche per composizione e per le suggestioni che riesce a trasmettere.
Ciao e buona domenica
holmertz (43275) 2014-03-09 10:08
I could have sworn this was a "hand-made" painting from a book for children or an old-fashioned, romantic book on Scotch history. Comparing this to the earlier version it's stunning to see what careful PP can achieve. The careful handling of the mist and the subdued light has done wonders. This is a beautiful photo, worth every inch of mud and bog.
npecanhuk (68104) 2014-03-09 10:41
Very beautiful, attractive and pleasant-looking picture!
You chose the right moment and weather conditions to create an eye-catching picture with such a special romantic and/or mysterious mood!
Level of sharpness, expsure, colors, horizontal format, black & white borders, chosen pov and composition with those lovely symmetrical reflections are all oustanding photo qualities that I truly enjoyed!
TFS - congrats,
ourania (34357) 2014-03-09 10:51
a magnificent work that pleases the eyes and sets the mind wandering in times past that we know only from books, films and daydreaming. Your composition is very elegant, you used all the elements and effects in the scenery to fill the frame with interest and create balance. I like very much how the view gets dimmer in the background but the castle retains its fascinating details and overwhelming sense of mystery. Your picture compels the viewer to look closely to find proof this view is real. Natural and painting-like qualities blend superbly. The castle could be an apparition:) Colours and atmosphere are exquisite. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great evening,
rbassin (19165) 2014-03-09 12:08
Une superbe photo, la lumière et la brume créent une belle atmosphère autour des ruines.
Les grands arbres nus avec le reflet complètent bien ce tableau.
Kaisa71 (228) 2014-03-09 14:11
Castle ruins look mysterious in misty weather. I almost see a ghost wandering on the moors background. Foreground is sharp and depth is good so it really was worth of standing in mud ;-) You have framed the photo well and leafless trees get my attention. Good work John! Also thanks for a informative note.
Best wishes, Kaisa
carlo62 (36065) 2014-03-09 15:43
fantastica atmosfera, il castello è una vera bellezza, soprattutto per come l'hai fotografato, è un fondale di indiscutibile bellezza.
Eccellente la composizione, dando la precedenza agli alberi e al riflesso.
jjcordier (77816) 2014-03-10 0:01
Une superbe photo de ce très bel endroit. La brume contribue à accentuer l'atmosphère étrange du lieu. Très bonne composition et excellente qualité d'image.
annjackman (20371) 2014-03-10 3:28
I love everything about this image. The BG and castle are soft in the mist while the FG has more saturation and definition. All the elements are placed superbly in the frame.
Kind Regards, Ann
timecapturer (49288) 2014-03-10 4:23
a shot full of mood, atmosphere and beauty. Gloriously composed and executed, with all the mystery, intrigue and tones that this part of Scotland seems to have in abundance. It is a cracker of a shot - I love it!
Have a good week - B.
williewhistler (14995) 2014-03-10 5:04
such a lovely shot,it would grace the walls of any home,full of charm,beautifully composed with each element perfectly placed in the frame and chock full of Highland atmosphere it really is a cracker.
A superb photograph,it has to be one of my favourites.
Kind regards Les.
saxo042 (37596) 2014-03-10 10:01
The haze over the background enhances the beauty of the view. The soft and subdued colours are very attractive, the picture looks almost like a painting. The old castle against the mountain is perfectly positioned and the three foreground trees provide a fine depth. This is an enchanting view! The note is also very interesting.
emka (82506) 2014-03-10 14:11
It is a marvelous view. Fantastic place with this ruins near the lake. How fantastic calm atmosphere you created here. A little misty view ebnhances the mystery of the place. Fabulous colours and composition. it looks a bit forgotten (luckily for you to find such a location) and the more attractive. I would be very happy to see it.
amazing work, I love it!
WArm regrads MAlgo
delpeoples (54083) 2014-03-11 2:15
Ciao caro Giovanni
Sorry I've been Missing in Action for a while, but what a feast for the eyes this is. I can see why they call this place Loch Awe. Like the locale, the photo is awesome. I love the effect of the mist, so very Scottish, which adds character and a sense of mystery to this terribly romantic place. Stunning colours and the silvery reflections are take my breath away. What a moody, beautifully executed, and suggestive photo. Technically flawless and easily one of your best.
Nicou (126216) 2014-03-11 3:02
Grandisoe compo quelle vue de ce château ces ruines dans la légère brume dans le mystère et ce bosquet d'arbre c'est une sueprbe réalisation.
Bravo et amitié
jhm (141921) 2014-03-11 3:41
You know perfect that you makes the most beautiful pictures with a little bit fog.
Your picture do my think at the old painters, this a wonderful description.
Nice depth and perspective with very pleasant colours.
Very well compostion, excellent captured.
Nice done, TFS.
Have a nice day,
Royaldevon (31763) 2014-03-11 4:11
I recognised this immediately.
I think I chose your original as one of my favourites.
It is a stunning location for a photographer and, as we all learn by experience, this has a greater subtlety of mood. The striking clarity of the f/g makes the misty appearance of the castle that much more of a contrast, gives it a sense of mystery and suggests a great sense of depth!
The reflections are such an important part of the overall effect.
A beautifully composed shot.
I would love to come and photograph from this location!
Have a great day,
lousat (79772) 2014-03-11 14:29
Hi John,This is not a photo, it is a pure poetry.Magnific capture of the typical Scottish atmosphere, as if made for a touristic brochure; magical light, spectacular reflexes, warm colors, peace and silence .... absolutely flawless.Have a good night and thanks,Luciano
RhodieIke (11742) 2014-03-11 14:59
This capture of this scene typify this area, as we see and hear of the harsh weather conditions in Scotland.
I particular like the Mg, boulder and tree's, they stand out well and are brighter than the rest of the image.
Splendid Pov, and Dof on to the Castle ruin and surrounding mountains.Nice tight crop, showing us a small section of the misty sky.
It has a mysterious mood,
Noel_Byrne (26101) 2014-03-13 12:03
My favorite subject :) What a place, and what a castle. This is so full of mystery, I feel this could transport me back to olden times, and can almost hear the wails of the ghosts and memories of this place. THe reflection is just such an incredible bonus in the shot, while the trees are perfectly composed for the whole scene and its depth.
This is the kind of shot I would happily print for my sitting room wall. Haunting, dramatic, mysterious and moody. Love it!
All the best
macjake (58782) 2014-03-13 15:48
Oh My God John
why or how have I missed this one??????
I have to say, THIS is NOW my favorite photo of yours in your gallery.
its an easy wow for me.
You know how i want to rent a car and just drive the UK Coastline, well, its for scenes like THIS.
so glad you included the trees on the left - is this a popular photo for people in the area to take? is this one of those scenes thats been captured millions of times? I certainly wouldn't know, and if it is, i'd still take it.
did you stake out the weather? or did you just happen to luck out with the foggy misty air?
good on ya to get down and dirty on this one, standing in mud - as long as you don't fall face first into the mud eh? haha
in all honesty John, I really love this scene.
It captured the mystique of Scotland that I envision.
ACL1978 (7511) 2014-03-14 19:24
Oh, this is a beauty, John. I can hear myths being spun around me looking at this one... the mist is incredible, adding such a great sense of drama and mystery, yet the sharpness and color on the foreground elements - the trees and stone - are stunning. I half expect to see an arm emerge from the lake with a sword or something... really nicely done.
Sonata11 (33426) 2014-03-17 12:58
great capture of this scene wonderfully presented with fine details, great natural colors, splendid light and excellent clarity, very well done.
All the best, Barbara
jcpix (13724) 2014-03-18 17:10
How's my fellow aimless wanderer doing today? :) I'm sure this was much more of a planned excursion, but if not, that luxury of "going where the wind takes you" paid off in droves!
I've not yet been fortunate enough to visit Scotland, but this is precisely the type of imagery that comes to mind...what a mysterious and striking beauty this entire scene conveys. The castle alone is enough to steal the show, but your wise and skilled composition to include everything else puts it on the top shelf of allure!
Worth every bit of effort you put into gaining this vantage point and execution. The visual is simply inspiring, but it's the mood that captivates my imagination. Looking at both versions I do prefer this more recent processing...but really, you can't go wrong with either one. Compliments on a winner! Have a great day ahead. All the best.
Glint (6171) 2014-03-20 15:45
I do remember the first photograph that you posted from here, it was good but this is great. Beautifully composed with the trees on the left standing out from the misty bg. The castle in the mist looks the part, almost too good to be true. As I said previously, my son has a boat moored on Loch Awe and in fact he was fishing from it only the other weekend. I really must get up there soon.
A fab image.
phildar77360 (328) 2014-03-21 3:28
Que dire...Sinon que cette photo est magnifique.
Il se dégage de cette composition quelque chose de mystérieux. Le genre de mystère qui fait travailler l'imagination.
Tout est très bien réussi, la lumière, le brouillard, le château en ruine et la faible végétation.
Un grand BRAVO
siudzi (34119) 2014-03-27 11:59
Wow! What an outstanding image! I love it! The scene, the mood and the presentation are truly well captured and executed. A top class shot. Bravo!
mjw364 (7512) 2014-04-07 6:31
A very well composed image that is SHARP and CLEAR despite the heavy moisture of the air - testament, I think, to that Canon 5D's image sensor and your lens.
Trying to make something wonderful, as you have here, in a low contrast light scene is not as easy as it looks and others think. I think you deserve top marks for working well with the situation you were faced with here, especially getting that ruined castle to stand out. No doubt some camera club pedant would say you should have hung around until the sun shone and got the castle to reflect more impressively but how can you when the pubs are open at the same time the sun shines?
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (21104)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-02-29
- Categories: Castles, Nature, Architecture, Ruins
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, Hoya 77mm Pro1D UV(0)
- Exposure: f/22, 1/5 seconds
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): The Best of Scotland [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2014-03-09 7:10
- Favorites: 2 [view]