The small village of Tyndrum is situated in Strathfillan, at the southern edge of Rannoch moor. The name Tyndrum is derived from the Gaelic term ‘Taigh an Druim’ meaning “the house on the ridge”. The village is overshadowed by the Munro, Ben Lui.
Origins of Tyndrum
Tyndrum is built over an ancient battlefield. In 1306, the Battle of Dalrigh took place between Clan MacDougall and Robert the Bruce, resulting in a rare defeat for Robert’s forces (He is well known to Scots, but made famous world-wide in the 1996 movie ‘Braveheart’). To allow a hasty retreat it is reported that Robert ordered his men to discard their heavy weapons into a nearby Loch, now aptly-named ‘The Loch of the Legend of the Lost Sword’, after Robert’s own massive sword that was reputed to have been over 6 feet in length. A small stone bench is now placed on the West Highland Way at the site of the battle.
Tyndrum was formerly a mining centre in the 1800’s with a lead mine situated on the Sron nan Colan hill above the village. The remaining scar on the hill gives evidence to the extent of the mining. The tiny hamlet of Clifton (the row of cottages just off the A82 opposite the village centre) is the original cottages built to house the newly arrived miners. There are precious metals in the hills surrounding Tyndrum and a gold mine situated 2 miles to the south-west of Tyndrum at Coonish Farm. This was originally built in the 1980’s, but economic conditions at the time meant the mine never became operational. However, given the huge increase in global commodity prices in recent years, an application was made in Oct 2011 to re-open the mine. Gold panning is allowed and proving increasingly popular in the local area. You can hire Gold panning equipment at By The Way if you want to try your luck in one of the local rivers, please see our Gold in Tyndrum page for more information.
In modern times Tyndrum is one of Scotland’s busiest tourist villages, sitting on the A82 shortly after the roads from the south (Loch Lomondside and Glasgow) and the east (Loch Tay and Stirling) converge and shortly before it divides again to head north (Glencoe, Fort William and the Western Isles) or west (Oban and Mull). It also has the distinction of being the smallest village in Britain to be served by 2 railway stations. The West Highland Line railway from Glasgow splits approximately five miles to the south at Crianlarich, with one branch heading to Fort Willam and the other to Oban. Tyndrum has a station on each: Upper Tyndrum on the Fort William line and Tyndrum Lower on the Oban line (right next to By The Way).
Two large hotels in the village, the Royal and the Ben Doran, cater almost exclusively for coach trips. The smaller Tyndrum Lodge hotel offers varied fayre to a passing trade of tourists, hillwalkers and West Highland Way walkers as does the Read Food Cafe and the Green Welly Stop, one of the Highlands best known tourist stops with a licensed cafe, a newsagent and sweet shop, a Scottish gift shop, a superb whisky store, a petrol filling station and a well stocked outdoor store – something indeed for everyone. Next door Brodie’s Minimarket offers walkers the last opportunity to top up supplies before Kinlochleven. Brodie’s have a good range of drinks, snacks and sandwiches – or for the less committed, chocolate, beer and cigarettes.
Tyndrum Tourist Information Centre on the main road is always worth a visit and here you will find a host of information on the history of the area as well as details of the local activities and attractions alongside a range of quality Scottish gifts, books and general produce supplied by the West Highland Trading company.