West Highland Way

Beinglas Farm to Crianlarich - 20th April 2014

We had a good night's sleep and chose to have a bit of an easy start to the day. We did a bit of packing before going across to the pub which is where the breakfast is served. There weren't that many people about as most had already left. Our German friends had told us the evening before that they were aiming for Tyndrum and I suspect most do from Beinglas, as Crianlarich, which was where we were headed, is a very easy short day.

With packing complete, key returned and key deposit reimbursed, we set off. On our long walks we have always had Sunday as a rest day, taking stock, licking wounds or just chilling out. The main reason is our religious beliefs in not doing more than is really necessary on the Sabbath day, like we would at home. However, on this trip there was nowhere logical to stop for a rest day and if we had, our train connections wouldn't have worked as the Sleeper doesn't run every night. So, that was the reason that we had this very short day just up the glen to Crianlarich. Normally on our rest day we would still potter about, keeping our legs ticking over and would probably walk 3 or 4 miles anyway.

However, at our normal speed we would be in Crianlarich in less than 3hrs, so we decided to have a leisurely breakfast and check out at 10 o'clock. Our intention was to wander along the track, taking our time, taking regular stops, looking at the view, communing with nature and......you get the idea!

So, we got up, had a leisurely breakfast...


The path looking back towards Beinglas

The wide track made for easy walking and having taken pain killers for my blister (that was still niggling me) it was difficult to hold back. We had left at about 10am which was part one of the plan, so all we had to do now was take it easy. It was another lovely day albeit with a slight chill first thing, but even so we were never too cold.


Falls of Falloch


Our first deer

The track wound its way to the Falls of Falloch where we stopped for a short while and took some photos. Looking up we saw a deer silhouetted on the skyline, across the valley. We zoomed in through the view finder and yes there it was, our first deer of the walk. We carried on until Derrydaroch where we saw some walkers setting off for one of the summits off to the east. Just passed the farm we decided to stop alongside the river. Just as we had decided to stop, who should we bump into but Sigi and Ulle. They had stopped at a very nice spot which we would have stopped at had they not beaten us to it. They had obviously got up earlier than us and got their towels there before us!


Derrydaroch

We chatted for a while and then we moved on to another spot further up the river. It hadn't been that long since breakfast but we still tucked into our supplies. It was a really lovely spot and the sun was very warm and we lingered for quite a while. Sigi and Ulle appeared and Rachel decided to try out a German word I taught her to say many years ago - Geschwindigkeitsbeschrankungen, which means speed limit. They had a chuckle at her pronunciation, which I didn't think was far off, and off they went with a cheery wave.


Our first sheep creep


A82 underpass

We too set off and shortly reached the sheep creep under the railway and then the underpass under the A82 before ascending up to the main wide path that would take us to the junction of paths above Crianlarich. There were a lot of cattle along this stretch and the ground was rather churned up in places. There was also quite a lot of water and with the amount of country pancakes to avoid, we had to watch where we were walking.


The way ahead

We reached the junction and decided to have a breather before descending to Crianlarich. As we sorted ourselves out a young man called out to us, who we hadn't seen as we had arrived. It was young Ben the Camper. We had a chat and he confirmed that he had found it hard going along Loch Lomond, as we had thought it must have been. Shortly after, we heard some very loud exclamations form someone that was approaching. When he arrived it was quite obvious he was in a great deal of pain and discomfort. By the way he was hobbling it looked like blisters, and, as soon as he had collapsed in a heap he almost threw his boots off and let out another blood curdling scream of pain.

We left Ben and his new friend and started down through the trees to our bed for the night. Realising that we would have to retrace our steps the following day we were quite relieved to find that the steepness wasn't too bad. We went into the little supermarket to have a look round but found it bare of anything we wanted to buy so we went to the Rod and Reel pub. We splashed out on some beers and some chips, and sat outside in the sunshine watching the world go by.


Crianlarich - Craigbank and the pub

Our B&B, Craigbank, opened from 2.30pm and so after our food break we were past that time so we ambled just along the road, to check in. Charles was in residence and showed us to our room. He was very chatty and made us feel welcome. We took our time to settle in and sort ourselves out as we had plenty of time. There are several options for evening meals in Crianlarich but having looked at the menus we decided that a return visit to the Rod and Reel was in order. So a couple of hours later we found ourselves walking back over to the pub for what turned out to be a good meal.

This day was always going to be a bit different, a rest day of sorts and most other people seemed to be having a short day at some point. That no one else was following our itinerary was strange as we thought it made a lot of sense to have a short day after the most tiring day. But hey. It did appear to be the day that we lost contact with most of the people we had seen, although we would see The Germans and Ben once more.

The following day was twice as long as today's little jaunt and so it would feel that we would be making headway again.

Accommodation: Craigbank - Score 9/10

This was an extremely well appointed establishment. The fact that they are open from 2.30 means it is ideal for those, who like us, were having a short day. The whole house was very clean and appeared to be newly decorated or at the very least, very well maintained. Charles is a very welcoming host, very talkative but not too overbearing. Our room was of a good size, had a welcome tray and the bathroom had a bath. There is the odd sign in the room about things, not exactly rules, but some might be irritated by it - but it is their house and we respect that. We were asked what we wanted for breakfast when we arrived and bearing in mind the time we arrived I must admit I didn't think it would be remembered correctly, but it was. Breakfast is taken in the conservatory. The lady waiting at tables was very quiet but never the less, very efficient. There was sufficient choice and the food was good but nothing out of the ordinary. Our room was facing the back so it was very quiet. The pub is next door but separated by a large car park so noise, again, wasn't a problem.

Yes Crianlarich is off route, but, as a town, it has everything a walker needs or is looking for.

Evening meal: The Rod and Reel - Score 7/10

Having had our lunch there, we knew to a degree what the pub was like. It does look better from the outside then the inside, which is tired and in need of decoration and modernisation. But, the order was taken efficiently and the food arrived in a suitable length of time. Portion size was good and the quality was fine. We had no complaints at all but it just had a feel of a frontier pub with no atmosphere. The locals didn't exactly stop talking and stare when we walked in and there wasn't any tumbleweed, but, I think you get the picture. Our score reflects this, but, if I was in Crianlarich again, I would have no hesitation about eating in the pub again.

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