St Conan's Kirk by Christine Smith

FEATURED in Favourite Places You Take, Make or Paint 16-06-2013
FEATURED in Highlands and Islands Photography Group 29-06-2013

Camera: Canon EOS 50D, Lens: @ 30mm, ISO: 100, Aperture: f7, Shutter: 1/100

This amazing little church can be found on the north shore of Loch Awe, at the side of the main A85 road to Oban between Dalmally and Taynuilt in Scotland. It is a truly unique building, which was begun in 1881 was only completed in 1930 and now under the control of the St Conan’s Kirk Trust. Built in rough-tooled Cruachan granite rubble with ochre sandstone dressings, it was designed by amateur architect Walter Douglas Campbell, who was the brother of the 1st Lord Blythswood. Up till the 1870s, although the road from Stirling to Oban passed along the north shores of Loch Awe, there was practically no human habitation between Dalmally and Taynuilt. But the arrival of the railway made the loch less inaccessible. The Hotel was built, and a certain Walter Douglas Campbell, younger brother of the First Lord Blythswood, bought from the Marquis of Breadalbane the Island of Innischonan, on which he built for himself a stately mansion-house. Here he settled with his sister Helen and his mother. Local tradition has it that the elder Mrs. Campbell found the long drive to the parish church in Dalmally too much for her, and that her son accordingly decided to build her a church nearby. Walter Campbell was a man of many talents, all of which he devoted to the kirk. He was a most capable if somewhat unorthodox architect, a collector of objects d’art and a skilled woodcarver. The original church, was a small cruciform building, which was begun in 1881 and finished about 1886. It was a comparatively small and simple building, although adequate to the needs of the small congregation. It occupied what is now the nave, and a part of the choir stalls of the present kirk. But Walter Campbell was not satisfied with this. He began to dream of a far nobler building. He started work on this in 1907, and devoted the rest of his life to its execution. He died in 1914, and work had to be suspended during the First World War; but as soon as it was possible, his sister Helen carried out the plans which he had left. She in her turn died in 1927, and the project was finally completed by their Trustees in 1930. Work was necessarily slow, for not only was no labour brought in from outside, but the stone of which the kirk was built was not quarried, but consisted of boulders lying on the slopes of the hill above, which were rolled down, split and shaped on the spot.Walter Campbell was his own architect. He did not allow himself to be trammelled by convention or orthodoxy. Although most of the kirk is in a Norman or Romanesque style, he included not only early and late types of this but other and totally different styles. He was more anxious to achieve beauty than consistency. Rumour even has it that he deliberately tried to include examples of every type of ecclesiastical architecture found in Scotland, and this is perhaps borne out by the circle of standing stones at the entrance gate.
Source: St Conan’s Kirk home page.

Photography been a longtime hobby that has now become an obsessive passion. I am fairly eclectic in my choice of subjects, and try to see beauty in most things. Thank you for dropping by my site and I welcome any feedback and tips.

Christine’s images have had:
793 Features & 41 Challenge Wins

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  • Kornrawiee
    Kornrawieealmost 2 years ago

    For laugh today, laugh can heal something in mind…
    Clever and attractive women do not want to vote; they are willing to let men govern as long as they govern men’ :))
    George Bernard Shaw
    Splendid artwork by you.
    Take care my artist friend,

  • Thank you very much Sunny. Have a lovely day.

    – Christine Smith

  • Albert
    Albertalmost 2 years ago

    Superb treatment – faved

  • Thank you for both your kind words and the fave Albert.

    – Christine Smith

  • Audrey Clarke
    Audrey Clarkealmost 2 years ago

  • Thank you Audrey.

    – Christine Smith

  • Julie  White
    Julie Whitealmost 2 years ago

    Superbly captured Christine.

  • Thanks Julie, for both your lovely comment and the fave.

    – Christine Smith

  • kalaryder
    kalaryderalmost 2 years ago

    A most interesting read and a great shot

  • Thank you kindly Kala.

    – Christine Smith

  • Tom Gomez
    Tom Gomezalmost 2 years ago

    What a fantastic building, great find and capture Christine …

  • Thank you kindly Tom. It’s well worth a visit if you ever go up that way.

    – Christine Smith

  • John Velocci
    John Veloccialmost 2 years ago

  • Thank you.

    – Christine Smith

  • Kate Adams
    Kate Adamsalmost 2 years ago

    Beautifully executed Christine!!..gorgeous church!

  • Thank you Kate. It was a fantastic place & the most unusual little church I’ve ever been in.

    – Christine Smith

  • vigor
    vigoralmost 2 years ago


  • Thank you very much.

    – Christine Smith

  • Andrew S
    Andrew Salmost 2 years ago

  • Thank you so much for the feature Andrew. I really appreciate it.

    – Christine Smith

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