This is an easy stroll following broad tracks northwards alongside the railway line that leads towards Fort William. There are no troubling ascents or descents, and the views towards the surrounding mountains are invariably superb.
2 hours 55 minutes
Map of the leg
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format.
Turn left along the road near the railway station, and as the road curves to the left turn right through a wooden clapper gate to continue along a path that heads northwards with a stream on the right. It fords a wide, erratic-strewn stream and continues across rough land to join the end of a surfaced road that leads past some houses to reach the A82 in Tyndrum at NN327306.
Carefully cross the A82 and head on northwards uphill along a road, passing the village hall and a new graveyard on the left. After the village hall it becomes an unsurfaced track and later goes through a gate with the A82 off to the left. 0.8 miles after crossing the man road, the track reaches two bridges that lead over a stream and then the railway line.
On the other side of the bridge the track turns to the left to head northwards with the railway line on the left. After 0.8 miles cross a stile beside a gate as the track curves to the left to descend towards the railway line; do not follow the track and instead turn right to take a path that heads slightly up the hillside to continue northwards. It summits by a small cairn and drops steeply to reach the railway line at NN328334.
The path passes under a narrow cattle creep and crosses a stile before descending a short distance to rejoins the Old Military Road. Turn right and follow this northwards as it slowly descends for 1.4 miles until a gate is reached. Cross the stile beside the gate to reach a bridge over the Allt Kinglass at NN326357.
Cross the stone bridge and then turn left to cross a stile to continue along the Old Military Road as it heads northwestwards with the railway line high to the right. The old road slowly climbs up the hillside to join the railway line. After 1.3 miles it reaches a stile beside a gate; cross the stile and turn right to cross the railway line on a bridge. On the other side of the bridge the track turns to the left to continue northwestwards, this time with the railway to the left.
Continue on along the military road for another 1.6 miles until Bridge of Orchy railway station is approached on the left. Pass the station and then immediately turn left through a metal gate and down a few steps to head through an underpass that leads under the railway line to reach Station Road. Turn right along the road; it soon curves to the left to head westwards for a couple of hundred yards to reach the A82 in Bridge of Orchy at NN297396 opposite the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.
Places of interest
Tyndrum is a small village situated on the A85(T) in the shadow of Ben Lui. It has the usual facilities for wayfarers such as hotels and B&B's.
The surrounding area once had a significant minerals industry. A vegetation-free scar to on a hillside to the south of the village marks the site of a lead crushing plant; minerals that leached into the ground have prevented vegetation from growing. The ore was taken by pack horse to Beinglass for smelting, and the resultant lead was put onto boats on Loch Lomond. Precious metals can also be found in the hills; there are plans to open a gold and silver mine nearby. Some (but not all) landowners tolerate non-mechanical gold panning in the rivers.
Although it is a tiny settlement, the village is served by two railway stations: the lower station is on the line to Oban, whilst the upper station leads to Fort William.
In 1306 the Battle of Dalrigh took place to the south of the village; the Clan MacDougall defeated Robert the Bruce, in the process gaining a royal jewel called the Brooch of Lorn. Robert the Bruce had recently killed the Red Comyn, a rival to the Scottish Throne. After losing the battle of Methven in June 1306 he fled into the Highlands, eventually making his way into MacDougal territory. Unfortunately for Robert the chief of the MacDougals was a relative of Red Comyn. A simple stone bench beside the West Highland Way marks what is believed to be the site of the battle.
Nearby is a superbly-named lochan - the ‘Loch of the Legend of the Lost Sword'. It is said that Robert the Bruce ordered his men to fling their weapons into the loch to lighten their load. Amongst the weapons were his massive sword, which was reputed to have been between five and nine feet in length.
location UID #240
The West Highland Railway
The West Highland Railway is regarded by many as one of the best railway journeys in the world. It was built in stages during the late Victorian period, eventually reaching Fort William in 1894. Although the journey by train takes much longer than it does by road, it is well worth the time - the stretch north of Crianlarich grants superb views over the surrounding hills and remote moorland.
Three trains a day travel between Glasgow and Fort William; there is also a sleeper train from London that arrives in Fort William in the morning. There have been some attempts to close the sleeper service, but campaigns to keep it have always won the day.
location UID #241
Bridge of Orchy
Bridge of Orchy is a tiny settlement that has developed around the point where the old military road to Fort William crossed the River Orchy. This was first built in 1751 by Major Caulfield. There is a hotel beside the main road, a railway station on the line to Fort William and fine views towards the surrounding hills.
location UID #242
Scottish Citylink service 914 runs between the main road in Tyndrum and the Bridge of Orchy Hotel; there are eight or nine services a day.
There are also occasional train services between Upper Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy railway stations.
As usual, Traveline Scotland is an excellent resource for planning public transport journeys.