Within the hills above the village of Tyndrum, there are the remains of lead mines that have been worked on and off for nearly six hundred years.
The earliest known record of mining in this area was in 1424. Mined for precious metals rather than lead, the mines supplied King James I with silver.
On 30 May 1730, Sir Robert Clifton signed a thirty-eight year lease with the Earl of Breadalbane to mine any metals that he could discover on the earl's estate. In 1740, he discovered lead and established Tyndrum Mine the following year. Bad debts, however, led to his imprisonment in 1745, and he gave up his lease.
The Mine Adventurers of England (1746-1760) took over after Clifton's failure. This met with the approval of the Earl of Breadalbane:
"I am sure it will be upon the whole more beneficial and much safer to do with known reputable company than with people who upon trial may be perhaps too late found unequal to the undertaking"
Earl of Breadalbane's estate papers (1746)
Later in the 18th century, the Scots Mining Company (1768-1791) operated the mine and built a smelting works nearby to turn the mined lead ore, called galena, into metal.
Mining for lead, silver and gold continued at various times into the 20th century, but with limited success, however, gold mining continues in the area today.
Visiting the mines at Tyndrum
The exact location of Tyndrum mine is grid reference NN 317 302.
It is not safe to explore the remains of mine shafts and we recommend that you do not visit this area. Care should be taken if you do access this site. Note that the mine area can be safely viewed from the Green Welly Stop.
All sites managed by Forestry Commission Scotland are open for you to explore. However, not all sites have paths or signage and some are a considerable distance from car parking. We recommend that visitors consult a detailed map and wear appropriate clothing.
Please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and remember that historic sites should be treated with care and respect.