Greenbank  Parish  Church



Lochaber Break

Lochaber Break

We have just returned from a wonderful trip to Lochaber and surrounding area.  Essentially, this was to visit some of Thomas Telford’s Parliamentary Churches.  The Telford Kirks are a series of Presbyterian Churches in Scotland built with money voted from the UK parliament as a result of the Church of Scotland Act 1824 for a grant of £50,000.  They were designed by the surveyor, William Thomson, and built by Thomas Telford, Scottish stonemason and architect.  In total, 32 churches were built and many are still in use today.  Manses were built at the same time and all to a specific simple design.

Bunree Campsite is ideally situated in the Highlands to be able to visit three or four Parliamentary Churches fairly easily.  The churches we selected were open for visiting and possibly had Sunday services.  From Bunree campsite it is a short journey to the Corran Ferry, which enabled us to cross Loch Linnhe and therefore avoid a long drive.


Ardgour Kirk


The first Church we visited was Ardgour Church, North Corran. This Kirk is surrounded by a graveyard and has amazing views up Loch Linnhe to Fort William. It looked to be in good repair and indeed had the local decorator in refreshing the paintwork. We had a good chat with him and he explained that – like ourselves at Greenbank – linkages and unions are the order of the day but that congregations aren’t so keen! Services continue on a Sunday despite the decorating.


Strontian Kirk


After lunch at the local Craft brewery, Ardgour Ales (no samples tasted!), we drove on to Strontian Kirk, and it highlighted for me how different the surroundings must be now from when the Kirk was built, as we had to walk around what looked like a fairly new Ardnamurchan High School along the river to get to the Kirk, although there was a road on the other side of the river. Unfortunately, we were only able to view Strontian Kirk from the outside but again, lovely church and surroundings.

We had hoped to visit Acharacle Kirk but the daylight and weather looked as if it would be against us. We were correct in this as the rain was lashing down by the time we got back to our campsite; a severe westerly wind made it difficult to open the sliding door of the van!

We had arranged our trip around a weekend in the hope that we might be able to attend a service.  We were fortunate to be able to do this as these churches do not all have a minister every Sunday.  We contacted the Session Clerk of Duror Kirk who was delighted and keen to welcome us to Communion that Sunday, and a cup of tea after the service.


Duror Kirk
Duror Manse


Duror Kirk is on the A828 road to Oban.  We arrived early as we had a special request.  We wondered if it would be possible for Vivien’s little dog, Ruby, to come into the service with us.  We thought this was asking a lot but it did not present a problem at all, either to the Session Clerk, Janice, or the Interim Moderator who told us “all God’s creatures are welcome”.  Indeed, dogs and cats have visited before.

Duror Kirk is again a church in good repair.  It has had a new roof, was very warm and cosy and beautifully decorated.  Ruby lay quietly under the pew for the whole service and Communion, apart from ‘singing’ along to the first hymn. It was lovely to attend a service in the beautifully simple surroundings and experience such a wonderful warm welcome from the Congregation.  The cup of tea following the service, in the church hall (which has been added on), was most welcome.  Our visit was enhanced by being able to see the Duror Manse.

Back to Inchree for a roast dinner in a restaurant/bar across from the campsite and the end of a great holiday break. 

Vivien Hutchison & Nora Kellock
November 2022


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