Crianlarich is a village in Stirlingshire, 6 miles northeast 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 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.
By bus: Scottish Citylink Buses 914/915/916 run 5 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, Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree on the Isle of Skye. The bus stop is at the Crianlarich Hotel.
Buses 975/977 run 4 times a day from Glasgow to Oban via the A82 and A85.
Bus 978 runs once a day each direction from Edinburgh and takes 2 hr 40 min via the airport, Grangemouth, Stirling, Doune and Callander, and continues to Oban. Midland Bluebird services 160 and S60 run to Crianlarich from Stirling, continuing onto Tyndrum 4 times a day every second Saturday.
By train: Scotrail trains run four times a day from Glasgow Queen Street via Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Arrochar, taking just under two hours to Crianlarich where they divide. One portion is for Oban, the other for Fort William and Mallaig - both 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.
1 Crianlarich station is just an island platform with no ticket office or machines; buy on board if your journey starts from here. There are toilets and a waiting room, and you might even find the tea-room open. Access to the platform is by a subway with no step-free route.
The village is small, but you need wheels to reach the mountain trails.
Taxi: Crianlarich Cars only operate Apr-Oct M-F 08:00-20:00, Sa Su 09:00-19:00, shorter hours in winter. You need to pre-book on +44 778 7788 360.
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).
- 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).
- West Highland Way is a long-distance trail between Milngavie and Fort William. The local section leads from Inverarnan (mile 40) to Crianlarich (mile 46, about the midpoint) then north to Tyndrum (mile 52).
- Golf: Killin GC at the head of Loch Tay is nine holes.
- Killin Highland Games are held in Breadalbane Park in Killin in early August, with the next on Wednesday 2 Aug 2023.
- Crianlarich Store, Station Road FK20 8QN (next to Youth Hostel), ☏ +44 1838 300245. M-Sa 07:30-19:00, Su 08:00-18:00. General store and Post Office.
- No fuel here! The nearest filling stations are five miles north at Tyndrum (where A82 and A85 diverge) or ten miles east on A85 at the junction for Killin and Loch Tay.
- 1 Rod and Reel, Main Street, Crianlarich FK20 8QN, ☏ +44 1838 300271. M-Sa 11:00-23:00, Su 12:30-23:00. Decent bar food.
- 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, ☏ +44 1838 300272. 3-star hotel with 36 en-suite bedrooms, quiet and comfy. B&B double £90.
- Ben More Lodge, Crianlarich FK20 8QS (main road east of centre), ☏ +44 1838 300210, email@example.com. Comfortable lodge hotel with restaurant, dog-friendly. B&B double £80.
- 2 Crianlarich Youth Hostel, Station Rd, Crianlarich FK20 8QN, ☏ +44 1838 300260. 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, ☏ +44 1838 300236, firstname.lastname@example.org. Friendly, clean and comfy B&B, open all year. B&B double £80.
- 3 Inverardran Guest House, Crianlarich FK20 8QS (east edge of village on A85), ☏ +44 1838 300240, email@example.com. Family run bed and breakfast. Children and pets welcome, free wifi. Also has self-catering cottages. B&B double £70.
- Tyndrum the next village north has a dozen or so B&Bs. Arriving by train, Tyndrum Lower is slightly nearer the accommodation, so be in the Oban-bound portion.
As of Dec 2022, Crianlarich and the A82 from Loch Lomond have 4G with all UK carriers, but the signal is patchy further north on A82 or east on A85. Don't plan on getting any signal on the mountains. 5G has not reached this area.
- 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 several Hebridean islands - Mull is the most popular - but for Skye you go north past Fort William to cross via the bridge.
|Routes through Crianlarich|
|Fort William ← Rannoch Moor ←||N S||→ Tarbet → Glasgow|
|Oban ← Taynuilt ←||W E||→ Comrie → Perth|
|Oban ← Taynuilt ←||W S||→ Tarbet → Glasgow Queen Street|