Crianlarich Weekend January 2017

Helen Rose Outdoors Diary

The Walking Club.

The Glasgow HF Outdoor Club has been running an annual Christmas trip to Crianlarich for some years now. This Christmas 36 members were on the trip and although it is mainly a social weekend, we also manage a walk on the Saturday. Colin, as the Social Secretary at the club, put a huge amount of work in to it to ensure we had an enjoyable and memorable visit.

The village of Crianlarich is located in Glen Strathfillan to the north of the Trossachs, some eight miles north of the head of Loch Lomond.This small historic village is an important staging post on various transport routes linking central and northwestern Scotland. I travelled up by bus which only takes about an hour and a half and the views of Loch Lomond over to Ben Lomond are beautiful. We all stayed in the Crianlarich Hotel in comfort. The first night we had dinner in the hotel and the next day, various walks were on offer.

The West Highland Way.

I chose to go on part of the West Highland Way. We took the train to Tyndrum and walked back to Crianlarich. The first point of interest was the disused tin mines. Within the hills above the village of Tyndrum, there are the remains of lead mines that have been worked on and off for nearly six hundred years. The earliest known record of mining in this area was in 1424. Mined for precious metals rather than lead, the mines supplied King James I with silver. Later in the 18th century, the Scots Mining Company (1768-1791) operated the mine and built a smelting works nearby to turn the mined lead ore, called galena, into metal. Mining for lead, silver and gold continued at various times into the 20th century, but with limited success, however, gold mining continues in the area today.

The path continued and we eventually reached the Trading Outpost which looked like something from the Wild West but is just a campsite with a shop. We had a break here while cheeky wee Robins hopped about looking for food. Nearby, we crossed the Kirkton Bridge over the wide flowing Fillan River and followed the farm road to Kirkton. Among the trees by Kirkton Farm are the ruins of St Fillans Chapel and its graveyard


Later, we passed a field where there were loud bangs and we looked around to see rams head butting each other. Head butting is both a natural and learned behaviour in sheep. Contestive head butting is a carry-over from when sheep ran wild and from those that still do. I have never seen rams head butting in the all the years I have been walking in the country. It was a steep climb on the forestry paths dropping down to Crianlarich. The route was less than seven miles but with great scenery of the mountains around, Ben Challum, Ben Lui and Ben More. The last time we did this walk at the club weekend two years ago, it was thick snow but this time the weather was mild and dry.


In the evening, we had a quiz with multiple choice answers which made it all the more amusing as two answers were humorous when read out. This was followed by a Xmas dinner enjoyed by everyone. I was at a table with younger people who do the harder walks in the club so I never meet them on club outings. This was an opportunity to hear about their walks on the higher hills and relive my experiences when I was Munro bagging. Dinner was followed by the raffle and the proceeds from the sales of tickets were donated to the Lochaber Mountain Rescue.


We finished the evening with the Ceilidh. Originally the word Ceilidh (kay-lee) descended from the Gaelic word for ‘gathering’ or ‘party’. However, these days when people think of a Ceilidh, they think of a fun filled night of wild dancing, good music and great company! The beauty of a Ceilidh or Barn Dance is that everyone can take part, young or old, experienced dancers to beginners and even those with two left feet! We had great fun with Strip the Willow, Gay Gordons, Dashing White Sergeant, etc. The musician on the accordion was accompanied by a Highland Dancer who treated us to the Sword Dance. Too soon, the festivities were over and I headed back home the next day after the full Scottish Breakfast including Stornoway Black Pudding.

Many thanks to Colin for the organisation and making the weekend fun and to Maura for leading the walk on the West Highland Way. There may not be the Crianlarich weekend this year as the Club has its centenary and other events are planned to mark it.

Thanks to Maura Buchanan for the photos.

Coming attractions, Hogmanay on Arran and Around Lanark walk.

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Arran Hogmanay January, 2017
Wisconsin December 2016

This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary

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Avatar of HelenRose Scottish hill walker and writer for Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End.

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