The Portal July 2018 - Page 22

THE P RTAL July 2018 Page 22 Saint Conan’s Kirk Loch Awe Eliza Trebelcock visits an oddity O n my way to Iona I had to go to Oban to catch the Ferry across to Mull, and from there to Iona. As I was driving into Oban I passed what looked like a medieval church right beside the Loch. Intrigued, I stopped the car and went to have a look.  It is, of course, Church of Scotland; that is to say, Presbyterian. The Kirk is named after St Conan, the patron of Lorne. He is said to have lived at Glenorchy. By Dalmally there is a well named after him.   It appears that he was a disciple of St Columba, but not contemporary with the great man, although like him, he came from Ireland.   St Conan was chosen to tutor the two sons of the King of Scotland and eventually was ordained bishop. As you would expect, he is the subject of many legends, but apart from these spartan facts, we know next to nothing about him.  Fortunately we know rather more about the kirk that bears his name. It looks rather old, but was dedicated as recently as 1930. Until the 1870s the road from Stirling to Oban passed along the north shore of Loch Awe. There were few, if any, houses between Dalmally and Taynuilt. It was the arrival of the railway that made access to the Loch easier. A hotel was built and Walter Douglas Campbell, younger brother of the first Lord Blythswood, bought the Island of Innischonian. On the island he built himself a stately home and lived there with his sister, Helen, and their mother.  began work on a larger kirk and devoted the rest of his life to it. He died in 1914 and work was suspended during the Great War, but his sister Helen carried out her brother’s plans once the war ended. She died in 1927 and the final work was overseen by Trustees.  Local folk-lore has it that H[\\[\[[Hۙ]HH\\\[[X[B]X [\ۈXYYZ[\H\X\K[\[YX[H[[XH]\H[HZ[[وH\ˈH\H\XH8$Y[ܝ8$\]X HX܈وؚ]8&X\[B[Y\\[\[[ܜܘ]YX[HY\[[\[š\Z[[ˈ[[[\\]]H[ܜܘ]Y[\\]\H\HوX\X\X[\]X\B[[[H\H\][H\Hو[[œۙ\HH[[H]KHۙH\Y܈HZ[[\]X\YY [\Z[ۈH\وH[XݙHH\HYۋ][\Yۈ]Kۘ[&\\\H܈ܚ]X\K]\Z]\[Y[[\[\Y\ܙX]ܚ[ N H[܈۝[[ۘ[ ]\\\\[HYYق\]YHZ[[H N ]\X[[HX[ۙܙY][ۋ]\^[Y[H[Xܘ]KY] [\HZ[[][ܙH[Y\]X]H܈HX[]\[[H\Hو][\H8'BۙܙY][ۋ]\HH\[]K[ܞHو H\HX]]Y[8'K[[H[[\[X\ؘ[H\H[\]ۘ[&\ˈ[B\وH\[˰[H\\[Y [\[\]\ٚYY]\Z[[ˈBۘ[&\\X]N˜ۘ[\˛ܙ˝ZYY][]Xܘ[\[Z[ [ NL