Crianlarich is a village in Stirlingshire, 6 miles north-east of the head of Loch Lomond. It bills itself as "the gateway to the Highlands" but it's more like halfway down the hall, because it's distinctly Highland in nature. It's a tiny place (the population in 2001 was 185) but an important junction: routes through here date back to General Wade's 18th century military roads, and the railway divides for either Oban or Fort William. It's also the midpoint of the West Highland Way long distance walking trail. Most visitors are just making a rest stop. The main reason to stay longer is the choice of nearby mountains, easily climbed.
There isn't a TIC in Crianlarich, but the Scottish Tourist Board can be contacted online or on 0845 225 5121.
- By road, have at least half a tank of fuel before leaving the lowlands - filling stations here are sparse and pricey. The north-south highway is A82 from Glasgow along the west bank of Loch Lomond then over the hill to Crianlarich, then on north over Rannoch Moor to Glencoe and Fort William. The east-west highway is A85 from Perth via Crieff to Lochearnhead, then over the hill into Glen Dochart and Crianlarich. Here it merges with the A82 north as far as Tyndrum then strikes out west towards Oban.
- Scottish Citylink Buses 914/915/916 run 3 times a day from Glasgow Buchanan station via A82, taking just under two hours to Crianlarich. They continue either to Oban, or to Glencoe, Fort William, Invergarry, Kyles of Lochalsh and Portree on the Isle of Skye. The main bus stop is at the Crianlarich Hotel. The bus between Stirling and Crianlarich has been axed.
- Scotrail trains run four times a day from Glasgow Queen Street via Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Arrochar, taking just under two hours to 1 Crianlarich station. Here the train divides, with one portion for Oban, the other for Fort William and Mallaig. Both portions stop at Tyndrum the next village north but at different stations.
- The Caledonian Highland Sleeper to Fort William leaves London Euston Su-F around 21:30 to reach Crianlarich shortly after 07:00. The southbound train leaves around 22:00 to reach Euston towards 08:00. Or you can take the Lowland Sleeper from Euston near midnight to arrive Glasgow Queen Street at 07:20, then a daytime train arriving around 11:30. Returning south you need to leave Crianlarich around 19:30 to reach Queen Street by 21:30 and wait two hours for the southbound sleeper, reaching Euston by 07:00; the later train doesn't connect.
The village is small, but you need a car to reach the mountain trails.
It's gorgeous in late autumn and late spring when the snowy hilltops glisten above rabbit-coloured glens.
- 1 Ben More is a Munro at 1174 m / 3842 ft. Common approaches are from Benmore Farm off A85 and straight up the steep ridge; or follow the burn of Allt Coire Chaorach then head for the ridge of Sròn nam Fòirsairean once clear of the forest. It's often combined with the Munro of Stob Binnein (1165 m).
- The other Munros in this area are Cruach Ardrain (1046 m), Beinn Tulaichean (946 m), An Casteal (996 m), Beinn a' Chroin (941 m) and Beinn Chabhair (932 m).
- Crianlarich is mid-way along the West Highland Way, the long-distance trail between Milngavie and Fort William. The route leads from Inverarnan (mile 40) to Crianlarich (mile 46) then north to Tyndrum (mile 52).
- Killin Highland Games are held in Breadalbane Park in Killin in early August. The 2020 event was cancelled so the next is probably Wed 4 Aug 2021, tbc.
See the Sleep section for details of the Crianlarich Hotel and Ben More Lodge Hotel.
- Crianlarich Hotel: see Sleep. Bar open year round, walkers and outdoor folk welcome. Roaring log fires in winter.
- Ben More Lodge: see Sleep. Traditional pub with beer from Oban Ales, Belhaven and others, and good range of malt whiskies.
- 1 Best Western Crianlarich Hotel, Main St, Crianlarich FK20 8RW, ☏ . 3-star hotel with 36 en-suite bedrooms, quiet & comfy. B&B double £90.
- Ben More Lodge, Crianlarich FK20 8QS (main road east of centre), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Comfortable lodge hotel with restaurant, dog-friendly. B&B double £80.
- 2 Crianlarich Youth Hostel, Station Rd, Crianlarich FK20 8QN, ☏ . Hostel fully open April-Oct; Nov-Mar F Sat only. Good value accommodation with a warm welcome, close to transport. Dorm £17.50 ppn, room (sleeps 4) £77.
- Glenardran House, Crianlarich FK20 8QS, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Friendly, clean & comfy B&B, open all year. B&B double £80.
- 3 Inverardran Guest House, Crianlarich FK20 8QS (east edge of village on A85), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Family run bed and breakfast. Children and pets welcome, free wifi. Also has self-catering cottages. B&B double £70.
The village has 4G connection via O2 and Vodafone, but not EE or Three, as of May 2020. 5G has not reached Crianlarich. Don't plan on getting any sort of signal on the mountains.
- Loch Lomond is easily reached on A82 south towards Glasgow, but this runs along the west bank and is always busy with traffic. There's no direct road to the more peaceful, scenic east bank: you have to circle around via A85 to Lochearnhead and Callander before approaching from the east.
- Rannoch Moor is similarly skirted by A82 north to Glencoe. But to get in properly, you have to swing away east along Loch Tay then Bridge of Tummel before starting up the long valley.
- Loch Tay is reached by A85 east, then branch off through the village of Killin. Ben Lawers is the big climb on the north bank.
- Head west to Oban for ferries to many Hebridean islands, though for Skye you go north via Fort William.