Welcome to Tyndrum
Tyndrum lies about 55 miles north of Glasgow and 5 miles north of Crianlarich on the Oban - Glencoe road. The setting for this small village is the Stirlingshire Highlands, an area known for the splendours of nature: broken and forbidding terrain, towering mountains and picturesque glens.
The Tyndrum Hills
Tyndrum has long been a major junction in the Highlands: initially as a stopping off point on the drovers road from the northern and western Highlands to the southern markets; in the 18th century because of the road building projects initiated by General Wade to aid the transport of troops around the Highlands in an effort to contain the Jacobites; later the arrival of not just one but two railway lines connected both Oban and Mallaig to the south through two different railway stations (Tyndrum Lower Station and Tyndrum Upper Station respectively). Today both road and rail links make Tyndrum, quite literally, an unmissable part of many a journey through the Highlands. It is also a significant resting place on two of Scotland's most important long distance walking routes: The West Highland Way and The Coast to Coast Walk.
The importance of Tyndrum as a junction has undoubtedly led to the area's association with a number of historical figures over the centuries, starting with the mythical Celtic giant and warrior Fingal. Fingal, who is said to have lived in Glencoe, would have likely passed through Tyndrum on route to Eilean Lubhair an island on Loch Dochart, south of Tyndrum just beyond Crianlarich, in order to confront his rival, Taileachd, for the hand of a woman. Fingal challenged Taileachd to backwards leaps from the island to the shore but on one such attempt Fingal fell into the water. Seizing the opportunity to rid himself of his rival, Taileachd chopped off Fingal's head. Fingal's followers found his body downstream at the Falls of Dochart and buried him, marking the grave with a stone. The stone still marks the spot at Killin (Cill Fhinn in Gaelic). Taileachd vanished into the north carrying the severed head.
Another figure of some note to have had dealings in the Tyndrum area was St Fillan. St Fillan arrived at Kirkton, on the river a stone's throw south of Tyndrum, from St Columba's priory on the island of Iona, bringing Christianity to this part of the Highlands. Using Kirkton as a base he set about evangelising the area. At Kirkton are St Fillan's Holy Pool and the remains of St Fillan's Priory.
One of the most significant of the historical characters associated with the area is probably Robert the Bruce. After suffering defeat against English forces at the battle of Methven, Bruce received sanctuary in St Fillan's Priory. Alistair MacDougall, seeking revenge for his father-in-law John Comyn's death at Bruce's hand, tracked down Bruce and his men to the priory. A battle ensued in a nearby field, now known as Dal righ (the King's Field) in which Bruce and his men fought bravely against vastly superior numbers before being forced into retreat. Bruce himself killed 3 men but lost a highly decorated brooch in the skirmish, which survives to this day in the care of the MacDougalls in Taymouth Castle in Kenmore. In retreat Bruce's men threw their heavy arms into Lochan nan Arm, where they are believed to remain undiscovered.
Tyndrum and its surrounds are also associated with Rob Roy MacGregor. After being outlawed in 1693 at the behest of the Duke of Montrose over monies the Duke alleged he had stolen, Rob Roy moved to Corrychaoroch in Glen Dochart, where the remains of his house can still be seen. From here he carried out a number of raids into the Duke's lands stealing cattle and rent money. Rob Roy had many adventures pursued by government soldiers and Montrose's men, even being captured several times only to make daring escapes. At the Old Village Inn in Tyndrum he narrowly escaped his pursuers by sneaking out a back window while they were coming in the front door.
The story of Tyndrum took an unexpected turn in the 19th century. The discovery of gold in the surrounding hills led to a gold rush. People came from far and wide to try their hand and mining and panning. The town as it stands today was largely constructed to deal with this influx of people. Alas, the gold rush was short lived; as the price of gold fell mining became economically unviable. At Cononish, just over a hill to the south of Tyndrum, there lies a gold mine which, while the price of gold remains low, remains non operational. All the same, should conditions change miners may return. While large scale mining is not currently viable, occasionally people can still be found panning in the rivers and streams. Not too long ago one man managed to pan sufficient gold, albeit over a significant period of time, to buy his wife to be a wedding ring. With tales of fallen Celtic giants, early Christian Saints, heroic medieval kings, beloved rogues struggling with the authorities and lovers panning for gold, who can deny that Tyndrum is a truly romantic place.