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Crianlarich >  Google™ Map May 2015+  Crianlarich Sign

crìon withered, little + làrach Scottish Gaelic site for a house. Population - 185.

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May 2015+

Crianlarich Sign

Just north of Loch Lomond, this marks the start of the Scottish Highlands proper. The hills are higher, the terrain is tougher and the place names are, quite frankly, unpronounceable.

Crianlarich, itself, is best described as functional, mainly catering for the hardier, outdoor types although a large hotel also houses the coach-bound hordes.

The Crianlarich Hotel

You'll end up here if you're on the West Highland Way, you know, the 100-mile-long trek from Milngavie to Fort William?

Here, however, is a confession that hasn't really been told to no one before... tiring of the interminable progress up the east bank of Loch Lomond, let's just say it involved a bus.

Not entirely in the spirit of long-distance walking, the footpath gods were furious and the balance was soon restored. A two-mile round trip on foot from the B&B to the Rod and Reel pub only to find they don't serve food on Sunday evenings.

Monarch of the Glen © BBC

Revenge was Monarch of the Glen on a snowy portable with just some sweet, complimentary shortbread to nibble on. Plans to do it all again, properly, without a bus, however, are currently on hold.

  Rod and Reel (Main Street)

An excellent example of these type of Highland establishments that come with pub grub and a pool table. It's a bit late now but, nearly 20 years on, they do serve food after 7 PM on a Sunday.

Ben More, it's thought, provides a dramatic backdrop to the train station that takes you south to Glasgow or west to Oban or north to Fort William.

Crianlarich - Train Station

Hashtag adopter #sadmanonatrain Portillo must have read this and popped in while he was chuff-chuffing in the Highlands to check out the proper old-skool ticket office.

Very much unlike the 'withered' in the Gaelic, the Station Tearoom's bacon rolls are anything but and just the buttery job but, since December 2014, they've become something of a best-kept secret. That's when they only went and paved a little bit of paradise and put up a ring road!

The pen-pushers at City Hall saw this as progress, probably, as did all concerned, actually, alleviating what was, in summer, two words... gridlock!

SlyBob, however, nearly had the placards out but not at any environmental concerns rather a purely personal protest at just having been routinely used to passing through.

'When did this all happen?' December 2014 it turns out so no more Ben More no more and no more... Left to Oban no more, slow under the bridge no more, right to Perth no more,  Crianlarich no more. Left to Oban no more... etc.

  Ben More

There's nothing higher south of here in Britain and this nigh 4,000-foot whopper is one of the attractions for those hardier, outdoor types. It's straight up and at the 'great mountain' from a layby at sea level making for an unrelenting ascent and would-be Munroists can bag two of the big 'uns in one trip.

There's often snow on it still in July and what's that you ask? Don't be silly! Not even nearly 20 years ago.