I’m starting to feel like a regular visitor to the scratchy, pothole-filled-with-cow-dung-ridden layby on the A82, just before Crianlarich. As you can tell from my description, it really isn’t much to look at. But there is something about it that makes me smile…
If you pass by it, perhaps on the way up to Arrochar or onwards towards the Great Glen, you could be forgiven for thinking it is an exposed and god-forsaken pitstop for only the most desparate of bladders. You would be forgiven, because you’d be wrong.
For this landing strip of almost tarmac, is actually a runway. A setting off point to some very fine hillwalking – around half a dozen munros.
An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin are two nice ones that can be relatively easily ascended from the layby. An Caisteal (The Castle) is almost 4 miles of rampart, and it feels a bit like a fortress at the last stages before the Cairn. So many false summits!
For my part, I enjoyed these two munros, although making out which of the many bumps and piles of stones marked the summit of Beinn a’Chroin was a bit of a Scooby Doo mystery!
And because of that, there is the temptation to stand at the wrong pile of stones and think, yes, it’s time to start heading home. I’m glad I double-checked the map and my GPS, because the visibility was poor up top and an early descent of the Beinn a’Chroin shoulder could lead to problems.
But we found our path and the home bound route back through the great Glen Falloch bog. The boggy and indistinct route alongside the river is for me probably the hardest stretch– a strength-sapping 3.5 mile march in shin-deep sheepshite. This leads to an overwhelming sensation of relief and unbridled joy as the layby comes again into view.
There will no doubt be others who find themselves smiling, as they pass by that scratchy layby on the A82, on their way to somewhere else.