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Craigallian Fire

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Original fire site marker, 2011
Original fire site marker
© Lairich Rig

The Craigallian Fire has been described as a permanent welcome which served the pioneering ramblers who helped open the countryside for all, where tea always on the brew, and fire-sitters were on duty.

The site of the fire lies on the West Highland Way, south of Carbeth, between the edge of Carbeth Wood and the west bank of Craigallian Loch. The fire is said to be have remained alight from the late 1920s for as long as ten years.

Many of those passing the fire were bound for the Carbeth Huts, to rest there (courtesy of friendly hutters) or carry on further into the hills.

The fire was still burning when World War II was declared. Due to the blackout restrictions which the conflict brought, the fire's location was moved further up Carbeth Hill and deeper into the woods, to prevent its sighting from enemy bombers.

The original location of the fire was temporarily marked by a large stone block with an explanatory sign attached. The text on the sign read:

Here Burned The Craigallian Fire

The "Eternal Fire" was a beacon which attracted those industrial working-class Wanderers who wanted to escape from the stone jungle of Glasgow into the countryside during the Depression of the 1930s - and during which, it was said, the Fire never went out. From here, the Highland of Freedom and all Scotland beckoned them: the Fire was the cradle for all the others fires which warmed Wanderers in howffs, dosses, bothies and caves as they explored further north.

Some remained in the hills or at the Fire most of the week and only returned to the city to claim their dole money from 'the buroo'. Within its glow, philosophy, socialism and hill-lore were discussed at length and the fire-flickered woods echoed songs which were sing well into the night.

The Ptarmigan, Lomond and Creagh Dhu Climbing Clubs were all born here and many who sat round the fire fought in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Several Wanderers who used the Fire would be notably instrumental in fighting for the freedom of all people to enjoy the Scottish countryside through the development of such things as our Rights of Way and National Parks.

"Long may old Craigallian woods Send forth abundance of their goods;

May the fire be always lit So that we may come and sit."

(Temporary marker placed here awaiting a permanent commemorative structure - Iain & William Grieve April 2011)


On Saturday, 15 September, 2012, a memorial to the early pioneers of the outdoor movement in Scotland was unveiled at the site of the Craigallian Fire, adjacent to Craigallian Loch.[1]

Some £5,000 was raised to fund the monument placed on the site, and the project was completed four years after its first proposal by The Friends of Craigallian Fire.[2]

Weir's Way

As might be expected, Tom Weir was one of those who sat at the fire, and it was mentioned in one of the best episodes of his Weir's Way television series, WATER, WIND and Fire (Season 1 Episode 1 Released: 1 January, 1970.)

Weir's Way: WATER, WIND and Fire


1 Pioneers of the Great Outdoor movement honoured - Local Headlines - Milngavie Herald Retrieved March 24, 2013.

2 The Craigallian Fire Memorial site.htm Retrieved March 24, 2013.

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