A nice short, easy day today. I am looking forward to it until I look out of the hostel window and see it had been raining. Weather has been a subject for much discussion. The hostellers of Crianlarich are in great contrast to the tourists and BT engineers of Stirling. Apart from me they all seem to be Munro baggers and the forcast is for rain and high winds on the tops. Not that it seems to have put anyone off. There are not even any other West Highland Way walkers which is a bit surprising. But Crianlarich is surrounded by appealing Munros (mountains over 3000 feet) none of which, as it happens, I have climbed.

Something for another day. Today it is onwards to Stornoway as always. I go for breakfast at Crianlarich Station which has become a quite famous cafe, and indulge in the full cooked type. As I arrive so does a beautiful black steam engine. Not for the first time on this walk I really wish I had made it a rule that I only had to walk when there was not a steam train alternative. I take some photos and note that the mountain tops are in cloud but that it seems to be moving. The driver, fireman and their mates come in for bacon rolls in the cafe as I go for mine.

Back to the hostel I get ready in a leisurely way as there is no rush at all for the little leg I have in mind today, along the West Highland Way to Tyndrum.  Unfortunately, by the time I leave it is raining quite hard.

I set out following my elderly OS 50,000 scale map of the area, stop to check the bus times by the toilets and on out of the village. I am just starting to wonder where the footpath off is when I see an unobtrusive sign.

The path is fairly indistinct and a little overgrown.  This surprises me for about three seconds. Then I recall coming up this way for a short walk a few years back. I had been en-route to Barra and got off the sleeper at Crianlarich to get a train or bus to Oban. With some time to kill I had walked up here only to discover that my map was out of date and that there was a new route from Crianlarich starting from just by the station.

Oh well, my feet are getting wet and I am grinding up a steep slop and the rain is steady, so I don't think that there is any point in going back now.

The path up Bogle Glen is actually pleasant if a bit steep, or at least it would be in better weather. As it is my legs are rapidly getting soaked again as, of course, I did not put the over-trousers on before setting off.

After grunting my way up the slope for a while I come to the junction with the main route of the WHW. I remember this now, last time I was here I walked southwards for a short bit as the path goes out into open country which, in June was festooned with orchids. Today I go north though

The well made track heads off, actually more west than north to start with, back towards the pine trees. It stays fairly high, climbing here, dipping there but generally following the contour of the hillside

And it is very pleasant, or would be if not for the rain which is fairly inescapable. It does ease off a bit from time to time but soon comes back with new vigour.

I pass a view point which gives me glimpses through the murk of the way I came yesterday, showing what a flat and boggy base Glen Dochart and Strath Fillan have.

It is not the weather for hanging around though so I press on. More up and down in and out but mostly in the trees.

And after a while the track starts to descend more steadily. It crosses a bridge over a fast flowing little river and then continues down the hillside more steadily.

After about a kilometre it brings me out by going under a viaduct. No disused railway this but the branch to Oban from Crianlarich.

 The path goes parallel to the line for a couple of hundred meters before crossing the A 82.  The WHW then takes me across north of the road.

There is a signpost so encrusted with lichen that is is almost unreadable.

And then a bridge takes me over the river Cononish.

Now I am on a small road that leads to Auchtertyre. I soon see a sign board that explains that this part of Strath Fillan is used for the Scottish Agricultural College's working hill and mountain research farm. 

As I walk along the little metalled road there are regular signs saying thing along the lines of "not far now to the wigwams." "Don't give up..." presumably aimed at tired walkers. There is the promise of a cafe too.

Soon enough I come to the wigwams, a group of bright red huts. And there is a shop with cafe that is open. Though I am tempted I decline the offer. It is too early for a lunch stop and I might as well press on as it has stopped raining temporarily.

The way dog-legs again and heads back to the A82, which it crosses and then, turning into a metalled path runs alongside for a while.

There are a few other walkers around despite the weather. Perhaps having come down from Tyndrum.

Soon I am alongside Dalrigh, a field that was the site of  a battle between Robert the Bruce and the MacDougalls of Lorn in 1306

A stone  commemorates the battle. If  Richard Awkright has been prominent on my walk, popping up from Derbyshire to Deanston, so has Robert the Bruce. His heart is buried in Melrose abbey which I at least saw in the distance, his body in Dunfermline which I did visit, and here is the low point of his campaign to be King of Scotland, where his defeated remnant of an army was shattered by the MacDougalls.

If were not for the intermittent rain the next part of the walk would be truly delightful.  A sign announces I am going through Tyndrum Community Woodlands. http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/argyll/tyndrum-woodland.shtml

From the conifer signs on the map I was expecting forestry plantation but this is far from that. Open country with drumlin like little hillocks, planted with small trees, as much birch as conifer.

The path takes me by a small lochan with a stone that has a sword carved into it and a stone bench that tells me that this is the Lochan of the Legend of the Stone.

It is too wet for a sit though, so I press on. This really is gorgeous, the autumnal colours in the trees and heather, absolutely lovely.

Until I get to a bare patch of ground. A sign explains that this is an old site for Tyndrum's lead mining industry, and even now plants will not grow in the toxic lead ore that has been left here.

After that I am amongst tall conifers as the path heads into to Tyndrum, hemmed between the railway and the river.

I don't take the first way out into the village but carry on, following the WHW signs and the map. But suddenly the path plunges into open country and I wonder if I have done the right thing for a moment.

But it takes me back round, and up on to the road, from where it is a short walk back to the Green Welly Stop.

This is a Highland institution. There is nothing else bar the Bridge of Orchy Hotel  between here and the far side of the Rannoch Moor and not a lot for a long way south. I don't know why it is called the Green Welly Stop but it has been there since I can remember. However it has not been the same. It has just grown and grown, from a shop with a cafe to a huge complex. Well, huge in middle of the nowhere Highland terms, anyway.

It is a bit of a shock to the system after my largely lone walk. Parties of bikers pick their way round cars coming in and out of the car park. The cafe has become enormous with a huge queue for food.

I have to confess to being a little bit hesitant. I once got absolutely awful food poisoning and the last place that I ate beforehand was here. Not that it looked anything like this, back then.  I was going back to Glasgow after meeting my mum to walk the final section of the West Highland Way with her. I think I only had cake at the Welly Stop (the coaches used to stop there in those days) which is an unlikely source for food poisoning but it had been my last food halt.

But it is a fast and efficient operation so despite the length of the queue I get a bowl of cullen skink and tea and squelch over to a table. I have over an hour until the bus back to Crianlarch so I take my time. There is a gear shop within the huge cafe area so I have a look, but I don't really need anything.

Instead I have a cappuccino and read Lolita until it is time to go for the bus, which takes me back to Crianlarich and dry clothes in about five minutes.



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