Tyndrum is a small village situated 5 miles north of Crianlarich in the heart of the hillwalking country.
Tyndrum is a remote West Highland village situated in Strathfillan on the boundaries of Perthshire and Argyll. It is quite high at 800 feet and is surrounded by spectacular rocky mountains and forest. It is on the east-west watershed.
Tyndrum lies perfectly in the centre of the southern highlands with access to Oban and the islands to the west, Loch Lomond and the National Park to the south and Glencoe & Fort William to the north. Perth, The Trossachs and Callendar lie to the east. All are an hour away, give or take 15 minutes. It is the perfect touring centre.
Lying just outside the village to the north, and sometimes referred to as 'Milton', the junction where the A85 turns west for Oban, whilst the A82 continues north to Glen Coe and Fort William is a T junction with a slip road for A82 South to A85 traffic.
The village has two stations with excellent rail access to Mallaig in the north and Glasgow/Edinburgh in the south. The Oban line takes you to the glorious Hebridean ferries and the western isles.
Looking down the Tyndrum Valley
Tyndrum’s main claim to historical fame lies in a plaid brooch taken from King Robert Bruce who got himself into a lot of trouble when he was cornered at the local priory by the MacDougals of Lorne. He escaped, but without his plaid brooch – and probably his kilt!! He caught up with the MacDougals a few years later at the Pass of Brander and did them a great mischief but unfortunately did not get his brooch back!
The village became a centre for lead mining in the 18th Century – some scars can be seen on the hillside from the Oban road at the county march. There have always been rumours of gold finds in the area, but this was eventually confirmed in the early 70’s when a geologist swinging on a rope found a “seam” above Cononish Farm. Exploratory mining conformed the find, but problems with planning and gold price fluctuation prevented the opening and development of the mine - however, hope springs eternal! Interestingly, the lead miners came within five feet of the gold seam, but life can be hard and unfair at times!
Horizontal tunnel at Cononish gold deposit extends for 1km into hillside. The vertical bands above the gate are part of the quartz vein which contains the gold. Watch a video of the mine here
Many, many years ago I took a director of the mining company to dinner – poor boy couldn’t stand the pace and started telling the story about where the mother load was sited up at Rannoch Moor – a spellbound dining room at a very posh hotel were regaled with the tale until I removed my friend and arranged transport home as neither of us were remotely capable of driving! There are deposits of other minerals in the area – particularly silver, lead and a few rare metals. Someday perhaps, but never bet the farm on a mine! A lot of local people have lost their trainers (or kilt) on the gold shares, so beware of silver-tongued miners in Tyndrum’s drinking den!
The other gold in Tyndrum is tourism. Its geographical location makes it a perfect coach tour destination, and there are also two long distance walks passing through the village – The West Highland Way from Glasgow to Fort William and also the new Oban to Perth walk.It is a fantastic centre for photographers, walkers, climbers and naturalists.
Many rare animals and birds are common here – there are salmon and trout in the rivers, pike and perch in the lochs, and eagles and osprey are regularly seen. Red deer and roe are everywhere, foxes and pine martins are very common and I have even seen a genuine wildcat in my own garden! What more do you want?
The village has a pub and also the Green Welly Stop for all roadside needs for travellers, tourists and passing sportsmen. There is also the Pinetrees camp/caravan site at the entrance to Tyndrum Lower railway station, but by far the best places to stay are the Ben Doran and Royal Hotels!
The green welly stop a family run business in tyndrum offering good scottish hospitality for walkers cyclists on the west highland way scotland. Image by thegreenwellystop
The Ben Doran is nestled in its own sheltered seven-acre garden in the mountain village of Tyndrum
Secluded in the mountain village of Tyndrum with spectacular views and four acres of sheltered gardens, The Royal Hotel is a magnet for wildlife and a delight for flower lovers from spring till autumn.
Farming in the mountains is now severely restricted and only a few sheep and highland cattle exist on the local farms. The biggest industry in the area is forestry which seems to prosper with huge machines working late at night and early in the morning under floodlight on the remote mountains. They are certainly hardy souls that operate them!
Walking around Tyndrum
Tyndrum is home to breath-taking views of Ben More and Ben Lui and a route to ascent Ben Lui can be started from Tyndrum Lower Station. Ben Lui is one of the most popular tourist attractions for people touring Scotland. As the highest and most famous of four Munros that lie south of the Glen Lochy, Ben Lui is known for its rocky crags and snow-capped peaks and the moist cliffs and rocky outcrops which support the growth of mountain plants and rich carpets of moss.
While not quite as mighty or impressive as Ben Lui the other three peaks in the group, Beinn a’ Chleibh, Ben Ossand and Beinn Dubhchraig are still worth a mention and should definitely be considered as part of your tour of Scotland itinerary. The approach walks for both Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig are areas of natural beauty which lead you through natural pine and birch forests.
Tyndrum is a resting place on one of Scotland’s most important long distance walks; The West Highland Way. The shorter West Highland Way 5: Tyndrum to Inveroran allows easier walking through the Glens to the Bridge of Orchy with amazing views of the steep grassy mountains and are a must if you are visiting the area.
As one of the main junctions in the Highlands, Tyndrum is a popular tourist location with travellers wishing to tour Scotland by coach, with Highland Heritage Coach Tours departing from The Ben Doran Hotel and The Royal Hotel. The surrounding areas are steeped in history dating back to the 14th century making Tyndrum an intriguing and fascinating centre for your Scottish tour.
If you can’t wait to discover Tyndrum or tour the West Coast of Scotland, browse our tours to find your perfect Coach Holiday to the Highlands of Scotland.
Where possible, all photography used in this article is attributed to its rightful owner.