How does a house, a village, a community come about?
The story of Dalmally’s origins could be explained by the brooding presence of Kilchurn Castle, standing guard at the head of Loch Awe. This garrison, built by the Campbells in the 17th century after besting the MacGregors, required skills and supplies; stone masons, farmers, cooks, armourers, horses, musicians and story tellers and much more would have been needed. And so people settled nearby because the castle provided a livelihood.
But go back earlier still, before the fortress, and the place is called Clachan Dysart – ‘the place of a saint’s retreat’. It suggests a monk had his hermitage here. And records mention a church and a well with healing waters that attracted pilgrims from across the country. Early kings may well be buried in the churchyard along with clansmen and soldiers and all the people who have called these glens home through the centuries. May they all rest in peace.
We do know the mighty Campbell clan, builders of castles and acquirers of land, grew in strength and influence. And as Scotland became a more peaceful place they used their wealth to build useful things like bridges, inns and shooting lodges, like Craig Lodge. Like the village itself, Craig Lodge has altered and grown and been adapted over the years to meet the different needs of different eras. Rooms were added to the original simple house to accommodate shooting parties who came to stay during the deer stalking season or for the salmon fishing. Now this "house of many rooms" is given over to God, who alone is our stronghold, and it is a place of retreat, where pilgrims of all kinds can encounter the healing touch of the Lord.