The Devil’s Pulpit ~ Finnich Glen

You’ll be thinking what the devil have I been up to now. Don’t worry, I’m not in cahoots with the devil, just popped down for a visit and a wee drink of Irn Bru!

The Devil’s Pulpit was a place I really wanted to visit this year. It’s a 100 feet deep gorge just south of Drymen on the A809, near Loch Lomond in Scotland.

The only reason I knew about this magical gorge was watching the fictional TV series Outlander. It was used as a filming location for Liar’s Spring, the water of truth! Drink from the water, if you die you’re lying about what was asked of you! A bit of a gamble with your life don’t you think?

Normally it would just be myself and Alan exploring but this time my children came with us, now aged 16 and 12.

As usual, they were not too keen in going out with us, but for once I made sure that we all went together. They both really needed time out from electronics, with some fresh air and exercise. I knew deep down they didn’t share my excitement going on a new adventure. It makes me sad sometimes how things change when your children get older into the teenage and hormonal years. I’m assured that’ll change again one day though, so I look forward to it.

It only took us just over an hour to get there. There was a small layby for parking about three cars just across from the entrance, but this was full when we passed and drove a little further up the road where there was a turning for Killearn and parked in another layby. It looked like lots of people were going to explore the gorge as another car was parked beside us with a lovely couple visiting for the first time too.

On stepping out of the car we were greeted with walking boots simply hanging on the bushes beside us … where were the owners? Possibly paddling down the gorge in their bare feet? Or most likely left without them.

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~ Boots are made for walking ~
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~ View from layby ~

So we packed what we needed and walked down the road to look for the entrance.

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~ Walking down the road ~

Very quickly we came to the bridge and looked down into the gorge. Wow, the photo doesn’t show it well, but it was a long way down!

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~ View from the bridge ~

My daughter looked down, I said excitedly “that’s where we’re going.” She looked at me shaking her head and said “I’m not going down there.” I assured her there was an easier route down and she’d be fine.

We noticed a solid metal gate, but this was padlocked shut. I’m told it’s locked because adventuring down into the gorge and the surrounding area is at your own risk. It is very dangerous at places with drops of between 80 and 100 feet.

A kind gentleman on the other side of the fence recommended walking a little further up the road where there was a low fence that we could climb over. To avoid the muddy parts he said it was best to climb up the hill into the field and walk along the top then down. There were plenty of trodden paths to follow.

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~ Follow the path ~

We stopped off at different parts of the path to look down into the gorge, being very careful not to go too close to the edge. Below are a few photos taken from different places.

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~ No further than the tree trunk ~
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~ Swirly water ~
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~ View of the water and gorge ~
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~ The Devil’s Pulpit ~

The photo above shows the actual stone that is called the Devil’s Pulpit as it looks like one you would normally see in a church.

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~ My daughter ~

My children don’t like getting their photos taken, so lots of photos from the back! The monkey manners seemed to appear as they were climbing trees and hanging. I liked seeing that, I was hoping that they were enjoying it a little.

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~ Monkey business ~

At one point my son did venture a bit too close to the edge where there was a hidden hole next to a tree and his foot slid. I could see how dangerous this could be and kept repeating myself saying “don’t go too close to the edge.”

We eventually came to the steps that take you around 100 feet down into the gorge. We waited for a wee while as people were going down with a small child, so we let them have their space and then followed after.

The steps, known as Jacob’s ladder or the Devil’s staircase, were muddy, wet and slippery. When I was researching the location I read that they were 200 years old!

There was a rope to help you down, but at certain bits it was also muddy and wet. You could also hold on to the walls around you and at one point there was quite a high rock to step down. Walking shoes or boots with a good grip are certainly needed. My children only had trainers on their feet and managed okay, but did slide sometimes. Maybe I should have borrowed those hanging boots for them!

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Jacob’s ladder
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~ Take your first step down, if you dare ~
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~ Half way there ~
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~ Slippery steps but still smiling ~

It didn’t take that long to get down and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Just be prepared to get muddy!

It was so worth the effort though, what a reward. It looked like a hidden Jurassic world with different colours of green, red, orange and brown. The water was red/orange in colour. It looked like blood, whisky or Irn Bru … take your pick!

The tourists below were taking photos of the gorge with a real glass of whisky! It was starting to get quite busy with people so we waited until some had left to take our photos.

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~ Gorge ‘n’ whisky ~
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~ Narrow canyon ~
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~ Beautiful waterfalls ahead ~

Immediately my children started to explore, jumping on the logs and rocks to the other side. They both climbed up the gorge and sat there for a wee while.

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~ Climbing the gorge ~

I decided to try the same and stepped across the water, it’s called the Carnock burn. It was slippery but I wasn’t too bothered about getting wet. I was so glad I did climb up as wild shamrock with little white flowers was scattered all around.

I have this type of Irish clover in a plant pot at home, passed down from my Nana, so that’s why I recognised it. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen it grow outside.

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~ Shamrock ~

I take photos with my Android HTC M8 phone as I don’t have a really good camera yet. It can be difficult to capture great images, so Alan had his camera and tripod and he helped with the photos. Enjoy some more photos below of this stunning unique location.

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~ Trying to get closer ~
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~ Pulpit ahead ~
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~ Waterfalls a plenty ~
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~ Waterfalls ~
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~ Waterfalls and sandstone ~
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~ Log in the water ~
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~ Looking for faces in the rocks ~
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~ The way back up ~

When I look back on those photos I keep seeing faces in the rocks. I wondered why it was called the Devil’s Pulpit. Alan said it’s because of the rock that looks like a Pulpit, a platform or raised structure in a church. You’ll see this in the photos above. The water was too deep for us to get close to it though and we didn’t bring a full set of extra clothes.

There was a geocache there too, sitting out in full sight and all around the walls and edges were stones carefully placed with people’s names scraped on them.

I thought this was lovely and did the same for myself and Alan. I couldn’t find a stone long enough for my name so initials it had to be. I scraped one each for my children too. My daughter placed her stone a little further away from the rest, my son threw it back in the water. Probably not his kind of thing, yet!

We stayed down there for an hour and a half! My children were starting to get bored and we still had another adventure to go on that day. Inchcailloch island! So back up Jacob’s ladder it was.

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~ Jacob’s ladder ~

I’ve read online about many legends around this magnificent gorge such as the devil addressed his followers here, trials and execution of witches in medieval times took place here and also that it was used as a secret meeting place by druids.

Whatever its history, I can honestly say it’s the most beautiful place. It didn’t look scary and in all its natural Scottish beauty it was totally magical for me.

I wish we’d had the place all to ourselves though. I feel another visit in the summer will be on my explore list. The water might be slightly lower so we can wade in it and we’ll try and get there really early in the morning.

Steller story

Read my short steller story about the Devil’s Pulpit

Video clips

Sorry, these clips are not the best. I’ll need to go back one day and recapture this beautiful gorge.

 

Balmaha in Loch Lomond was our next stop to visit Inchcailloch island. I was hoping that the bluebells would be in full bloom. Read all about it in my next post.

Thanks for reading.

Dawn~Marie

Update – safety message

I’ve read online that there has been an increase in call outs to rescue people from the gorge. Please be sensible and careful at all times.

Please also note the comments below from ‘endrickwater’, a local person who lives there.

Thank you

 

 

25 Replies to “The Devil’s Pulpit ~ Finnich Glen”

  1. Hey!
    I just found your homepage regarding the devils pulpit and it must have been such an amazing adventure to go there.
    We will be in Scotland again next year and I am looking forward do visit this place as well.
    Could you give me some more details where it is exactly?
    I am scared to go there and do not know where to go!
    Thank you very much for your help.
    All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Olivia 🙂 It is a beautiful place and is becoming more popular with many people visiting now. There has been regular emergency call outs to rescue people from the gorge too, so please take care at all times. You’ll find exact directions on google maps, just type in the name. I hope you have a lovely time when you visit Scotland again 🙂

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  2. Beautiful photographs that take me back over 60 years! I first went there in the mid-1950s, when I lived in Drymen and cycled over. It’s good to see that we’ve not been banned from going there by health and safety considerations – falling down those stairs would be a bone-breaking experience, if not worse! A more substantial rope would be a help though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Great memories for you David! Does it still look the same after 60 years? It’s becoming a very popular place now, and there has been quite a few call outs to rescue people. Tis very beautiful though and I’d love to go back and capture more of its beauty. Thanks for reading 🙂

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  3. This is great little piece of writing. It inspired me to visit Devil’s Pulpit and I can’t wait. Love your pictures as well! Will definitely keep reading into your adventures. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello!

      Thank you so much 😃. It’s a natural beauty 💚

      Please be careful though. Many people are visiting here now and it can be very slippery and dangerous. Take care.

      Thanks
      Dawn-Marie

      Like

  4. Yes, the Glen is a beautiful place. I live around here, so I know. It is also dangerous for the unwary — people have been trapped by rising water and had to be rescued by the local Mountain Rescue team. I also know that thoughtless people are leaving their rubbish behind. The Glen lies on a working farm with livestock, and so the farmer and his workers have to collect and dispose of it all — no Council collections in Finnich Glen! And as for leaving the stones with your initials painted on… don’t you think that spoils the otherworldly magic for everyone else? — not to mention giving them “permission” to do worse: people are carving their initials straight into the rocks! So if you come to visit, leave nothing behind. Please!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there

      I am sorry to hear that people are leaving their rubbish behind. I didn’t see anything like that when I visited over a year ago. I personally would never do that. I respect nature around me and enjoy it for its natural beauty.

      I didn’t “paint” my initials on a stone, it was lightly scraped on with another small stone, sorry if this has upset you. I was only following what others had done. This tradition must have been started years ago as there were lots of them there already.

      This was the first time I had seen such a beautiful gorge and I was aware of the dangers. People have been visiting and writing about the gorge before I even wrote my post. I just wanted to share my photos and experience. Many people will never be able to walk to such a beautiful place, so to write a story and share my photos hopefully lets others enjoy it too.

      Thanks for your comment and please everyone don’t leave your rubbish behind.

      Dawn-Marie

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      1. Hi Dawn-Marie

        Judging by your blog, you have travelled widely, and I never thought for a moment that you would do any of the things that those I have called “location collectors” have been doing! The number of visitors has really risen in the last 6-9 months. Imagine 6 or 7 cars and even mini-busses jammed in that little triangle of a lay-by, and you can understand the problem. It’s utterly frustrating, and I’m so worried that someone is going to get hurt — either in the gorge or on the road, which is the main north-south route between Glasgow and Loch Lomond, so you can just imagine how busy it can be, I’m sure, and folk just wander across it like it’s a country lane. But it’s the rubbish and carving that really make me cross. It’s such a beautiful place. But I’m not cross at you, personally. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi there

        Thanks for your reply.

        I don’t like the idea of the rubbish and carvings on the cliff walls either. It was really busy when I was there last year too. It seems to have become a popular place for visitors and film producers too.

        I totally understand where you are coming from though with safety on the road and at the gorge.

        I’m not sure what the answer is as the location is well known and published on many walking websites and social media. Especially as part of the Whangie and The Devil’s Pulpit walk.

        Maybe a signpost with safety warnings? I’m not sure if your local Council would help with this. Or your local community council?

        Thanks
        Dawn-Marie 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks beautiful! I understand the route down is steep and slippery, but is it fairly obvious which way to go?

    Many thanks for this wonderful post and photos,

    Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nancy

      Thanks for reading my post about the Devil’s Pulpit. I’m so pleased you enjoyed it :).

      Once you climb over the gap (after the bridge and wall) into the woodlands there’s an obvious trodden path that takes you along the side of the gorge. It’s not a long walk, you will see the steps going down. The steep decent isn’t too long either, just slippery at bits and muddy.

      I hope you visit one day, really worth the effort as you can see from the photos.

      Please take care though!
      Dawn-Marie

      Like

  6. Thanks ever so much for sharing this with us. It’s a Beautiful place. I have to go here now. I’m making a list for my next trip over to Scotland. Just got back from Scotland. Went over the 28th of July and got back on September 13th. Boy did I have some great hikes and took thousands of pics. One of my best hikes was “The Hidden Valley” behind the three sisters. Took 3 hours because of photo stops. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Cattrena for taking the time to read my post :).

      Tis very beautiful and I’d like to go back soon and capture some photos in winter. If you visit the next time please take care as the steps are slippery and the water can rise quickly after heavy rain and flow really fast.

      Wow! The hidden valley! I’ve seen photos and Glen Coe is a stunning place to walk. Well done you! I stop a lot to take photos, so I always take a long time walking. It’s not a race and to really enjoy the atmosphere of where you are, stops are a must.

      Thanks again for stopping by and I hope you have some more wonderful adventures in Scotland.

      Dawn-Marie 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really enjoyed this – am hoping to get to Scotland next year for a hiking trip. I’ll keep reading if you’ll keep posting to keep me motivated!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is a beautiful gorge andryuxa1985. I’m not sure if it will remain green. You have me thinking now. If it’s a moss that covers the gorge then it could be evergreen? Let me know when you visit! Please take though. Don’t go to close to the edge and be careful going doing the steps. Have fun! 🙂

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  7. Thank you for telling this story, as the way you depict it made it feel as though I was there! The colours are so vivid and beautiful, and if the stories behind the Devil’s Pulpit are true, makes the location all the more intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading Joe and your nice comments. I’m so happy that you enjoyed my wee personal story and photos.

      I agree with you that if the stories are true it really does give it that feeling of mystery!

      The next time I visit I would love to stand beside the pulpit. I’ll need a pair of waders I think!

      Thanks again
      Dawn-Marie 🙂

      Like

  8. This looks amazing, my mums been a few times and she always tells me to go! Think I will make time in the summer to head up and explore 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll love it! If the water is down a bit you might even be able to wade up to the pulpit where you’d get really good photos. I hope to go back and do this in the summer too. Have fun exploring and stay safe! Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so beautiful Julie! After I’d been I looked back at Outlander episode 6 to see it again. It must have been so challenging for the cast and crew getting down those steps in costume. Try and go early though and take a change of socks and shoes just in case. Stay safe and have fun exploring! 🙂

      Like

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