Monday, June 23, 2014

Hauntingly Beautiful Kilchurn Castle...

How about a wee bit of romance and history concerning Kilchurn Castle as we focus on the "Spirit of the Knight"?

Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Scotland Photochrom Print Collection circa 1890

Sir Colin Campbell, first Lord of Glenorchy, is credited with building a five-story tower house and a protective perimeter wall on the peninsula of Loch Awe, way back in the year 1440. Now even though it's officially recorded that Sir Colin--also known as the Black Knight of Rhodes for his prowess during the crusades--built the castle, legend states otherwise. Tradition tell us that his lady, Margaret, oversaw the construction of the magnificent tower during her husband's seven-year absence.

During this period of time as Colin fought in the Crusades, Margaret never once received a single letter or piece of intelligence from her beloved husband. This proved, said many-and most loudly proclaimed by one Baron MacCorquadale--that Sir Colin had fallen in battle and would never return. The conniving Scottish Laird vigorously pursued the "widow" and finally convinced her to marry him.

But not so fast... You see, Sir Colin had a disturbing dream which he related to a monk. That monk interpreted it to mean that something dreadful was happening on the home front and he should return with all haste. Our brave knight heeded that advice and arrived one day prior to the scheduled ceremony. Shortly after his arrival, he discovered the intrigue surrounding his wife. This included the fact that none of the clansmen he had dispatched with letters had ever made it home. Suspicion gnawed as you might expect.

Kilchurn Castle by Remi Mathis

Very early, on the morning of the scheduled nuptials, Colin made his way to Castle Kilchurn wherein his love resided, crossed the drawbridge, and entered the gate. Not a soul recognized him. Nonetheless, on this festive occasion, where everyone was welcome, he asked for something to eat to assuage his hunger, and something to drink to quench his thirst. The request was immediately granted. Although he ate the fare set before him, he refused to drink except the lady herself should hold the cup. Margaret, ever kind and gentle heeded the odd request and held the cup. He gave her a nod, and then drank to her health. After he drained the cup, he tossed the very ring she gave him inside. Margaret picked it up and after but a quick examination, threw herself into Colin's arms and all the while she joyously exclaimed, "My husband, my husband!" Cheers and applause rent the air.

Interestingly enough, despite the fact he absconded with Margaret's letters and murdered all of Colin's messengers, Colin allowed Baron MacCorquadale to vacate the northeastern end of Lock Awe, with his life intact. Perhaps, because of the immensity of joy these reunited lovers experienced at this moment, Colin allowed this enemy to skulk away unmolested. (However, Colin's son, Sir Colin Dubh, would not be so benevolent, but that's another story...)

Of course, we can't leave this castle without mentioning the ghost(s)...

We have an account by one young couple who had planned to spend a night at the castle. Once they were settled, the young man climbed up to the tower in order to enjoy the sunset. He thought his girlfriend followed him up the stairs and began speaking to her. Yet, rather than her response, the surrounding atmosphere grew ice-cold. He then heard a whispered voice pleading for his help. It said, "Please help me rest in peace," and "Let me go." The boy turned around to face this new companion but no one was there. His girlfriend heard voices as well. Needless to say, the couple fled in complete and utter terror.

In addition, many visitors have reported a pitiful childlike voice asking for help. Some say this ghost is that of child who was once locked away in the tower. However, no one knows who this child is or the fate he may have suffered within the castle walls...

Just one ghost or is there two? That's up to you to decide...


  1. I so enjoyed the story of the ghosts ..What a surprise for his wife to find the ring..It makes you wonder why she did not recognize her sweetheart maybe facial hair lol..
    I just love your books Debbie!!!!

    1. Thanks so much Tammy! And yep, facial hair is the only thing I could think of and perhaps he wore a hooded cloak or something like that to hide his eyes...

  2. As I started reading through this, the first thing that hit me was seven years without her husband! Then when I read further and saw it was without word from him, it's amazing she didn't shrivel up with grief. What a wonderful love story between her and Colin. In many ways it reminded me of Odysseus returning to Penelope on the day she was to marry.

    And, of course, the ghosts that haunt these places always give me a shiver. Another great post, Debbie, perfect as part of your tour for SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT!

    1. Thanks Mae! And even more fun? If the genealogical records are accurate, Colin and Margaret are many times over great-grandparents...

    2. An absolutely stunning Castle!!! I want to visit it. I am happy that Colin and Margaret was able to reunite... I am a sucker for happy endings!!!

    3. Me too! thanks for making the comment!