Lochgoil is situated in the Cowal peninsula, Argyll, accessed by two 6-mile single-track roads, one from the top of the Rest and Be Thankful on the A83, the Glen Mhor road, and one from the Dunoon to Inveraray A815, the Hell’s Glen road. Lochgoilhead itself lies just over 50 miles north and west of Glasgow, and Carrick Castle is 5 miles further on. The community comprises mainly the two villages, Lochgoilhead at the head of the loch and Carrick Castle at the south-west mouth of the loch.
The two villages have a population of just under 480. Additionally, in the last forty years the holiday village developed by Drimsynie Estates has grown to include over 400 holiday chalets and residential
caravans, swelling the population in the summer months. The population spread has changed, with younger people replacing the ageing population. A number of older people have chosen to move out of the area, in part because of a lack of access to emergency services.
225 residential houses were recorded for the Lochgoil area in the 2001 census. In addition, there are 81 second homes and holiday lets in Lochgoilhead, and 28 second or holiday homes in Carrick Castle. In the last ten years further houses have been built at Carrick Castle. Dunbritton Housing Association will complete 14 houses and Argyll Community Housing Association will complete 4, making a total of 18 new homes for rent in 2012 in Lochgoilhead. The proportion of tied accommodation is more than double the national and local council average. The number of owner-occupied and social-rented housing compares evenly with other communities in the National Park area.
Employment & The Local Economy
The level of economically active people in Lochgoil is roughly in line with the average for Scotland. The community has double the percentage of self-employed when compared with the Scotland figures. Local employment opportunities are related mainly to tourism, since visitors are attracted to the area by the facilities offered by the hotels and leisure centre. In general, staff are recruited from outside the area, with tied accommodation provided. Some are full-time jobs resulting in the permanent residency of the workers, but many are seasonal positions. It is rare for a small rural community to have so much of its population employed by organisations within the community, i.e. outdoor centres, Drimsynie Estates, Qinetiq.
Social & Community
There is a village health centre, completed in 1998, with one doctor and an associate. The comprehensive range of medical services includes a dispensary, a dental clinic, a practice
nurse and a chiropodist.
Community & Leisure Facilities & Activities
There is a wide range of activities and clubs for adults and children. The Village Hall was built in 1898
and was refurbished and extended in February 2002. It is the focus for village life. Attached to the hall is
an outdoor multi-court for tennis, basketball and five-a-side football. The Bowling Club rinks form part of the Hall grounds and the Club has its own clubhouse and a lively programme of social events. Other clubs include the Golf Club, Boat Club, Computer Club and Darts Club. The Village Green has been recently reinstated. A new play area in the Arboretum is a great new addition. Boat hire and fishing equipment is available in Lochgoilhead.
The complex provides a large swimming pool, an indoor bowling rink, a nine-hole golf course and an indoor play area.
The area is recognised as one of the most scenic in Argyll, and perhaps in Scotland. Bounded to the east by the Argyll Forest Park, with Ben Donich, the Brack and Argyll’s Bowling Green, it offers fine walks – indeed the walk from Coilessan to Lochgoilhead has been described as ‘a walk of true splendour and loneliness’. To the west there is Beinn Bheula and two small lochs. At the south end of the loch there is a route that takes you from Carrick Castle to Ardentinny on Loch Long. There are two family-run farms left in the area with other farms having been sold off for forestry. The rest of the area is given over mainly to a mix of private and public forestry operations. There is an ongoing programme of felling and ultimately replanting. To enable the extraction of the timber, new roads have been built and others upgraded.
Lochgoil has been settled since Bronze Age times. There is evidence in Hell’s Glen of early settlers, with a group of small boulders bearing indented cup marks. Nearby there is a very well-preserved corn kiln beside the remains of a crofting site with two blackhouses. The whole area is tied up with the history of the clan Campbell, who ousted the Lamonts from Carrick Castle in the fourteenth century.
Local heritage is well celebrated with a history of Lochgoil entitled A Slice out of Paradise (a quotation
from W. H. Murray), published by the Community Council in 2001, with an enlarged second edition in 2004. In 2006 two books were published by local residents, showing life in bygone years in our community through text, old postcards and photographs – Old Loch Goil by Mark Morpurgo and Caroline Wilson and Loch Goil (Looking Back) by Iain Smart and Rod and Patricia Philips. These are proving very popular with locals and visitors.