St.Conan’s Kirk, Loch Awe, Scotland

When the Callander and Oban Railway was was built in Scotland during the 1870’s, it opened up then largely deserted north shore of Loch Awe. Here, a self-made architect Walter Douglas Campbell (1850-1914) purchased a small island Innis Chonnain where he built house for his mother Caroline Agnes, his sister Helen and himself. Local tradition tells a story that his mother found a journey to nearest church in Dalmally too tiring and therefore Walter decided to build her a church nearby. The original building was finished in 1886. However, Walter was still not satisfied with the work but it took another 20 years before he began to enlarge the original structure. He used local stone and craftsmen to create a unique place with interesting details. After his death his sister Helen took over and supervised finishing of the building. The church as we can see today was consecrated in 1930. Despite its medieval look this church does not adhere to any particular architectonic style. His designs borrow from different periods like Norman, Romanesque and employ Celtic symbolism as well. It even includes elements connected to Iona Abbey (one of the oldest Christian centre in Scotland) in the shape of the window or wooden beams used above doorway that were taken from two distinguished ships HMS Caledonia and HMS Duke of Wellington as timber. It is here the Campbell family is also buried. Recently this church was included in Top 10 buildings built in last 100 years by popular vote as part of Festival of Architecture 2016.

 St.Conan's Kirk view from south

St.Conan's Kirk view from south

 The nave

The nave

 Entrance to church from the cloisters / Window from Iona Abbey

Entrance to church from the cloisters / Window from Iona Abbey