Ardtaraig Chapel

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Near the head of Loch Striven, at the outflow of the Glentarsan Burn, there once stood a small loch-side chapel. Nothing is known of its history, nor can we find any saint associated with it.

The footings of the chapel walls at Ardtaraig lie in a little wooded enclosure on the loch-side.

The footings of the chapel walls at Ardtaraig lie in a little wooded enclosure on the loch-side.

The foundations survive, however, and the footings of the surrounding curved enclosure are still visible .  The building was oriented nearly East-West, as one would expect of a medieval chapel site, and under an oak tree beside it stands an early medieval cross-slab carved of mica-schist. The carving is of a simple Latin cross, apparently open at the bottom. The slab has been broken in the past, along a line which had probably been weakened by the carving of the lower edge of the arms of the cross. But it has been repaired reasonably well.  It stands in a break in the line of the chapel’s enclosure. Perhaps it marked the point where a path led vistors from the loch to the chapel, and as they entered the sanctuary through a narrow gateway it reminded them that they were entering a holy place.

The ancient cross at Ardtaraig, broken and repaired.

The ancient cross at Ardtaraig, broken and repaired.

 

Getting there:
For a good Ordnance Survey map of the Ardtaraig and surrounding area including roads and foothpaths, click on ‘View Larger Map’ below.

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Getting to Ardtaraig from Dunoon.

Getting to Ardtaraig from Dunoon.

Park your car in the lay-by on the main road (B836), opposite the driveway which is signposted to Ardtaraig. Walk down the drive, through the wood and across the bridge. The chapel is among trees in a field on the right, before you reach the house.  There are also several buses a day from Dunoon to the Ardtaraig road-end, and back again – routes 478 and 479. Check timetables before travelling if you want to make sure you don’t miss the bus back!

 

trekkingcycling4  Cyclists can go along the road, as with car-drivers above.  For walkers an attractive alternative approach is to start at Inverchaolain and go north along the east shore of Loch Striven.  This is an ancient track.  There is a road part of the way but on entering the Glenstriven estate the route is not so clear. The track is not signposted and a bit difficult to find if you don’t know the way.  It is hoped that signage and track clearance along this route will soon make it more user-friendly.

 

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