|Crianlarich to Tyndrum (10.5 km)|
Bridge of Orchy
More high mountains and moors await you as the West Highland Way proceeds up Strath Fillian to the village of Tyndrum. Tyndrum is a former lead mining town and service town for the cattle droving trade - now the cattle it services are the hordes of tourists that pass this way. Luckily the West Highland Way avoids the most touristy part of the village. Tyndrum means 'the house of the ridge' - the ridge being the main east-west watershed of Scotland that lies a little to the west of the village. The house probably refers to the inn at Tyndrum which was thought to be the highest habitation in Scotland (due to the length of the Tay River) until modern maps proved otherwise.
|Ben More Lodge||Hotel||01838 300210|
|Ewich House||B&B||01838 300300|
|Glenardran Guest House||B&B||01838 300236|
|The Lodge House||B&B||01838 300276|
|Riverside Guesthouse||B&B||01838 300235|
Return to the Way by retracing your steps from Crianlarich - there is a waymarker and sign in the small carpark across the road from the railway station. Turn to the north at the junction of the two spur routes and the Way which enters the depths of the Forestry Commission plantation on the south slopes of Strath Fillian. This is not as bad as most pine plantations since it was planted in conjunction with the creation of the Way and the Forestry Commission integrated the West Highland Way into its plans. A nice variety of trees were planted and a number of breaks left at strategic points to provide views up, down and across the glen.
|Crianlarich village (left of centre) and Strath Fillian from Ben More|
The Way heads north-north-west through the forest and drops down into the valley of Herive Burn about 1.5 kilometres from the junction. The path then climbs out of the burn valley and joins a forestry road 750 metres later. The forestry road drops down towards the glen floor and we leave it at a hairpin corner after 300 metres. A nice path drops beside a stream before sidling to another stream containing the attractive waterfall pictured above and then going under a railway viaduct to meet and cross the A82 road. A pathway below the road and then a grassy meadow bring the West Highland Way to Kirkton Bridge over the wide Fillian River. Pause for the charming views up and down the river.
This section passes two experimental farms and you are requested not to bring dogs on this part of the Way. Instead follow the A82 road for 1.25 kilometres to rejoin the West Highland Way.
Up a farm road is Kirkton Farm with the remains of St. Fillian's Chapel beside it. The chapel is named after St. Fillian who was an Irish monk, active as a missionary in the area (he died on Inchcailloch in Loch Lomond in 734). There seems to have been a monastic settlement here in the 12th century and this was raised to a priory by Robert the Bruce in 1318. He may have some assistance from the monks here after his defeat in battle at nearby Dalrigh in 1306.
|Strathfillam Wigwams||wigwams!||01838 400251|
A farm track is followed for a kilometre to Auchtertyre Farm (camping and bunkhouses available) and back to the river and the main road. The road is crossed just above a new bridge over the river and the riverbank is followed to the old White Bridge and further to the junction with the Crom Allt. This stream flows down from Tyndrum and the river above the junction is the River Cononish, exiting from the glen of the same name. About 100 metres upstream, a sleeper bridge takes the West Highland Way onto a rough track that climbs to the top of a rise. At this point a grassy track heads north past a tiny lochan to a terrace edge above the Crom Allt. The area around the River Cononish above White Bridge is known as Dalrigh, the King's field, marking a fight here in the summer of 1306 which Robert the Bruce lost to the MacDougalls of Lorne, allies of his arch-enemies, the Comyns. While the exact location of the battle is unknown, one description in the epic poem The Brus by Barbour:
"... in ane narrow place
Betuix ane lochside and ane bra
That was so strat, I undirta,
That he micht nocht wele turn his sted",
fits the little lochan and terrace.
The West Highland Way continues beside the Crom Allt, passing the caravan and camping site that occupies the old railway goods yard on the other side of the stream. It then goes through a wicket gate by the lower Tyndrum railway station (for trains to Oban) where today's description of the Way ends. If you are looking for the upper Tyndrum railway station then head right to the A82 where a zigzag path wanders uphill to the platform for trains to Fort William. I choose to stay at Tyndrum's campsite so that I could climb Ben Lui the next day. The campsite is OK with the outstanding feature of an indoor pool with sauna! (just right for baking out any aches from the journey or Munro-bagging). The camp store is also one of the last places to stock up supplies between Tyndrum and Kinlochleven (3 days away). This makes an easy day that you can usefully extend by walking into Glen Cononish via the rough track after Crom Allt and then going to Tyndrum by the forestry road branching off about 1.5 kilometres from Cononish Farm. The glen is pretty but the view up into the rugged Coire Gaothach is simply wonderful.