Day 4 – Inverarnan to Tyndrum
I was making breakfast this morning and got chatting to a group of bikers from Yorkshire who were doing their annual charity bike ride. They asked to borrow some sugar, and I ended up giving them coffee, teabags and hot water, as they seemed to be struggling. I think they were well-impressed with my stove! The weather was miserable – dull and drizzly, but we set off anyway rather than wait around to see if it cleared. As usual “John o’groats” went steaming past us and out of sight!
The walk was rather uninspiring for the first section, right next to the main road, plus the rain was coming down quite heavy so we couldn’t really take many photos without getting our camera wet. It really started to pour down as we approached Crianlarich, but luckily the path diverted through some woodland which gave us a bit of shelter. Crianlarich is about a mile detour from the main path, and the route took as straight through the middle of a construction site – definitely not the most scenic part of the walk! We were looking forward to hitting the pub for a nice cold beer when we arrived there, but to our disappointment it was closed. We sat on the patio benches outside for ten minutes but there was no sign of life, even though it should have been open according to the sign on the door.
We were just getting soaked sitting there, so abandoned the idea of beer and went to the corner-shop instead. We bought some fresh tomatoes as I’d been craving some sort of fresh fruit or vegetable after living on packet meals. The only other place we could find open was the cafe at the railway station, so we went in for a toastie and a cup of tea – not exactly fine dining, but we needed something to warm us up! Crianlarich was a bit of a disappointment overall so we trudged back to the main trail, wishing that we hadn’t bothered taking the detour.
“You get used to these ‘small world’ moments!”
The path continued through some woodland, there were a few small hills, but nothing strenuous. We passed a couple of girls on the path, one of whom turned out to be Andy’s old work colleague. Growing up in Scotland you get used to these ‘small world’ moments! – no matter where you go, you always end up meeting someone you know. Did you ever go on a family holiday and there was a kid from your school staying in the same hotel? That’s what it’s like, except in Andy’s case he always bumps into other teachers! The same thing happened on our trip to Portugal earlier in the year, which you can read here
As we got closer to Tyndrum there were lots of information plaques detailing the historic lead mining industry in the local area, which was interesting – we hadn’t really passed many historical sites up until this point. There was a huge area of barren wasteland where the old ore smelting works was located. They used to pour the discarded lead onto the earth, which poisoned the ground and so now nothing is able to grow there – even two-hundred years later!
“There is a small Loch nearby, where Robert the Bruce supposedly threw his sword”
We also passed the site of a medieval priory where it is said Robert the Bruce once visited. There is a small loch nearby, where he supposedly threw his sword while being pursued by the English.
The walk continued through the Auchertyre farm campsite, which contains loads of little hobbit huts, shop facilities, and is based around a working farm. Everything looked really lovely and I’d definitely like to come back for a future stay here. We just bought a few cans of juice and sat outside on the benches for a break. We got talking to a couple from West Lothian, just a few miles from us. The woman’s name was Christine; we never got the guy’s name, but he wore a hat that reminded me of Crocodile Dundee.
“I previously had a really bad experience with the owner shouting at me”
It didn’t take long to reach Tyndrum after that – quite an easy day’s walking overall, but none of the spectacular scenery that we had on previous days. If you’re thinking of only doing sections of the Way, then this is probably one to miss.
We checked in to the campsite at By The Way, where I had stayed previously and had a really bad experience with the owner shouting at me. She didn’t seem to be in a much better mood this time! I wish we had camped elsewhere that evening, perhaps tried wild camping again as we had planned at the start. By The Way was the most expensive site we stayed at, and the facilities were very basic. The customer service is awful, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend this site for anyone looking to stay in Tyndrum. The good thing was that Tyndrum has some of the best facilities of all the towns on the whole Way, so we were able to walk into town and go for a few drinks in the hotel.