The conservation and heritage charity for the
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

Breadalbane

Loch Voil and the Braes of BalquhidderBreadalbane has subtly different landscapes from the more obviously scenic Trossachs or the bonny banks. The early Romantic tourists are more or less silent on the ‘high ground of Scotland’ – the meaning of the word Breadalbane in its original Gaelic: Braghad-Albainn or brae-Alba. Instead of soft beauty, Breadalbane offers serious hill country – perhaps more appreciated by today’s breed of well-equipped walkers and nature-lovers, than by those timid Romantics!

Crianlarich railway station platform is just one viewpoint that gives a hint of the high ground. To the east, the tops of Ben More and Stobinian are distinctive – in fact, these twins have one of the most easily recognisable mountain profiles anywhere in Scotland. Southwards are the cluster of high hills around Crianlarich – certainly known to hill-walkers and ‘Munro-baggers’, including Cruach Ardrain with its conspicuous horse-shoe corrie facing Crianlarich.Crianlarich from the air

To the west lie the hill group - all but out of sight from this point - of which Ben Lui is the best known. Finally, with its top just visible to the north is the less well-known Ben Chaluim and the other high tops beyond Glen Dochart – the very essence of Breadalbane – wild, with a sense of remoteness, over the horizon and away from roads – a territory only known to the hill shepherds and to hill-walkers. There are altogether at least 14 high summits within a ten mile (16km) radius of Crianlarich.

The geology is complex, the domed hills have hidden corries and crags with here and there outcrops of limestones ‘or ‘base-rich’ rocks. These support a variety of alpine plants, of which the purple saxifrage is perhaps the best known and emblematic of the area.

Falls of Dochart, KillinBut Breadalbane is not just high country. Historically it is also a meeting place in the centre of Scotland. The Celtic missionary St Fillan gave his name to Strath Fillan, today carrying road and rail, and brought together Gaels and Picts. A thousand years later, Strath Fillan, Glen Dochart to the east and Glen Falloch southwards were carrying large numbers of south-bound cattle, playing their part as important drove roads. Next, after the last Jacobite uprising, new roads were built to link Highland military garrisons. The military road built 1750-2 by General Caulfield between Stirling and Fort William passed through the area.

The important railway junction at Crianlarich still provides a vital service today, and the community, along with Killin, to the east, and Tyndrum, to the west, are all attractive locations that provide plenty for visitors to Breadalbane today - thus the wide glens below the high hills of Breadalbane are still through-ways and meeting places.