Connel straddles the narrow mouth of Loch Etive and is divided in two: North Connel and Connel. The two communities are linked by the Connel Bridge, a cantilever bridge completed in 1903, originally built as a railway viaduct, but now carrying road traffic. Before the bridge was built there used to be a ferry service connecting the two shores, and the village in those days was called Connel Ferry. The name Connel derives from the Gaelic for "rough water", which is appropriate, since this spot is known for a phenomenon occurring with the ebbing tide named the Falls of Lora, which consists of dramatic rapids caused by a submerged rocky shelf. The Gothic Revival St Oran's Church, built in 1888, has an attractive interior with a timbered ceiling and fine stained glass windows, and a garden with wonderful views of Loch Etive.
A couple of miles from Connel, standing proud on a promontory near the mouth of Loch Etive, is Dunstaffnage Castle, founded by the MacDougalls in the 13th century. The castle was captured by Robert the Bruce in 1309 and remained in royal hands for some time before being granted to the Earls, and then the Dukes of Argyll. The well-known aider and abetter of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Flora MacDonald, was incarcerated in the castle for ten days before being sent to London to go on trial for her part in assisting the Prince in his escape after Culloden. The castle was destroyed by fire in 1810, but its impressive curtain wall battlements remain, and a visit to the castle is rewarded with lovely views across to Lismore and Morvern.
Map of the area.
Dunstaffnage Castle © 2009 Sylvia Duckworth, via Wikimedia Commons