|Distance:||8.7 miles (14 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
After passing along the shores of Loch Lomond for over twenty miles, the A82 finally starts the climb into the Highlands at Ardlui. Almost the whole route from Ardlui to Crianlarich was rebuilt in the 1970s, some on a new alignment, some not. However, higher up the hillside the Old Military Road climbs through the Bogle Glen, so bypassing Crianlarich completely. Today, there is a plan for the A82 to do the same, albeit around the edge of the village, rejoining its current route at the entrance to Strathfillan.
As noted in the Loch Lomond section, there is no evidence of the Old Military Road along the lochside, and that situation continues north through Lower Glen Falloch. Whether the road was just consistently upgraded on line, whether the railway and road building between them have obliterated the evidence, or whether it is just lying under the heather waiting to be found is not known, but for now there is nothing to see.
However, just past the Eas Eonan, the old road suddenly reappears on the hillside beyond the railway line. The modern farm track (best accessed from the West Highland Way) comes to an end with a rough turning bay, but the Old Military Road continues, suddenly diving down the hill to the railway line below. Such a change of gradient is unusual, but the alignment of the bank that the road was built on is obvious.
Heading north, the farm track makes it easy to follow the old road, keeping left at the two junctions to pick up the West Highland Way just past Carmyle Cottage. The road continues to climb steadily, but with little evidence of its historical relevance. Indeed, as we pass the back of Keilator, despite posts proclaiming that the path was rebuilt (no date given), the track is a boggy quagmire of mud and dung, with the pock holes of cattle hooves. It was bad enough walking through when the ground was frozen solid, in high summer it cannot be a pleasant experience for any of the senses!
Continuing north, the paved surface reappears and the road turns up the Bogle Glen, not to be confused with the fictional Glenbogle! It is not clear why Major Caulfeild chose to climb up to 250 m when Crianlarich is only 190 m above sea level, perhaps it was to avoid a troublesome settlement, although the Stirling road was taken through the village. Whatever the reason, at the summit of the pass the West Highland Way and Old Military Road pass through a gate into Forestry land, with the path turning left towards Tyndrum. The road, however, carries straight on, descending sharply down the other side of the pass, signed as Bogle Glen. The first 100 m of the road are boggy and indistinct due to a small stream having cut into the road itself. However, after crossing the stream, the old road is a wide grassy avenue through the trees, with clear edges making a level terrace on the descent to the modern A82 just north of Crianlarich.
As with the Loch Lomond section of the A82, it is presumed that Telford followed the Military Road, and that the same alignment is now the current (far from 'modern') A82. As we climb through Glen Falloch, it would seem that Telford followed the Military Road as far as the Eas Eonan. However, at this point the two routes diverged, Telford staying lower in the glen, roughly along the alignment of the 1930s route into Crianlarich. The old bridges that survive may be Telford's.
After passing Inveranan, the road changes from one last upgraded in the 1930s to a much wider modern route. However, for the most part, it is on the same alignment as the older road, with just a few deviations. The old bridge and alignment across the Dubh Eas at Glen Falloch House survive, and then half a mile or so north the old road follows the river bank around a meander which the modern route crosses twice to provide a straight road.
The Forestry Car Park at the Falls of Falloch is partly on the old road, but then it is a mile before proper evidence reappears. However, in a couple of places, the boundary fence for the roadway deviates into the trees, suggesting where old bends have been straightened out. The old bridge across the Eas Eonan survives, between the modern road and the railway, but the bridge across the railway itself is long gone. Just to the north, however, is one of the best pieces of the old road, past Carmyle Cottage, where the white lines and cats eyes survive, and the tarmac still looks fresh. Perhaps it was only a couple of years old when the new road was built.
Again, the boundary fences provide a hint of former bends now straightened, but there is no tarmac visible on the edge of the road, except for one loop running very close to the railway line, and a layby or two, now providing parking for walkers. As we enter Crianlarich, however, the road narrows, becomes much twistier and descends into the village on the 1930s alignment, but then there is nowhere else for it to go - except the proposed bypass!
Even though Loch Lomond is left behind at Adrlui, it is another couple of miles north at Inveranan where the road starts to improve. We suddenly emerge from the tree lined, narrow road of old onto a wider, verge-lined highway that follows a series of sweeping bends as it starts to climb up Glen Falloch. We are still less than 20 m above sea level as we cross the Dubh Eas on a new road, the old bridge lying next to the House of Glen Falloch.
A little further north, the road crosses the River Falloch twice in quick succession as it cuts across a tight meander in the river. The old road goes round, and then stays closer to the river through the Falls of Falloch forestry car park. There is another cut-off with an old bridge as the new road crosses the Eas Eonan, and then the road crosses the Railway line. As far as can be seen, the new bridge is located on the site of the original structure. The long cut off past Carmyle Cottage survives, but after that, apart from a number of laybys, there is just one more cut off before we reach Crianlarich.