“Down in the channel is the Devil’s Pulpit… a long flight of stairs leads to the channel, and when you are there you feel remote from the world. Only the moon is required to produce the most weird and awesome effect.” – The Campsies and the Land of Lennox, Iain C Lees, 1933.
Visiting Scotland and looking for some hidden gems or secret places? Well, I have an awesome one for you! Thanks to the Devil’s Pulpit and Finnich Glen being an Outlander filming location, it may not be as hidden as it once was, but it’s still a great place to visit on any Scotland trip…But what exactly am I talking about?
What is the Devils Pulpit and Finnich Glen?
Finnich Glen is a steep glen near Drymen, and the Devils Pulpit is a particular stone within the glen, although sometimes you’ll see the whole thing called the Devils Pulpit. Confused yet?
Whatever it’s called, Finnich Glen and the Devils Pulpit is a stunning place to explore in Scotland. You’ll need to have a car to get there and it’s a bit of a mission to find, and get down to, but well worth it.
With no signposts or public paths, and a perilously steep stone step entrance, the Devil’s Pulpit is one of Scotland’s best not-so-secret secrets. Finding Finnich Glen without any of the usual methods makes you feel like an adventurer of old or a kid in the Famous Five at least. Can you see yet why this beautiful natural spot is considered by some to be a hidden gem of Scotland?
However, the Devil’s Pulpit definitely isn’t the “secret” it used to be. It’s likely you’ll meet other adventurous souls on your journey there unless you visit on a weekday when the weather isn’t so good. Although then you can feel like you’re all part of a secret club, capable of finding the hidden Finnich Glen!
The best time to visit Finnich Glen is in the sunshine of course, but knowing Scotland, it’s likely it’ll be cloudy when you go. It can be a very slippery descent (more on that later) so either avoid it after heavy rain or wear hiking boots and be VERY careful.
Finnich Glen has long evoked awe and more than a little wariness. The steep moss covered 100 ft walls on their side and water the colour of rust made the locals of old think of the Devil, hence the Devil’s Pulpit. Legend has it that at one time druids met here, and Satan himself may have even preached here. Hmmm.
Some of the reason for the increased popularity of the Devil’s Pulpit is because it was used as a film location in the Outlander TV Series. In episode 6 of season 1, the glen is used as the location of the truth forcing spring, where Claire drinks the water. I have to say I’m not sure I would! Although the colour is due to the water running through peat, not because it’s dirty.
What to pack
How to get to the Devil’s Pulpit and Finnich Glen, Scotland
Coordinates: 56°02’01.6”N 4°25’51.4”W
The Devil’s Pulpit is just 30 minutes from Glasgow or 1 hour 35 from Edinburgh by car.
There’s a small section where cars can park but it doesn’t fit too many. If you’re lucky you may be able to park by the bridge on the A809 but only about 2-3 cars can fit there. There are no secret signs or anything, you just have to know where to find it, and Finnich Glen is much more popular now after being used as an Outlander location.
Park at the intersection between Croftamie and Craighat, at the small space next to the intersection.There is some room to park nearer to the entrance at the bridge but it can be muddy, or possibly full. This is a main road so please park responsibly and carefully, and watch for cars when you’re walking.
You need to follow the main road on foot from the intersection along to the bridge. There is a well-worn path off the road so follow that and be aware of cars travelling fast along the road. Please don’t mill around the intersection or along the road! Finding Finnich Glen is an adventure but you need to stay safe!
Follow the A809 road out past Queens View until you reach the intersection with B834 (on the right).
Follow A90 and Maybury Rd/A902 to Glasgow Rd/A8 then get on the M9. Take A811 to A81 in Stirling and continue to the B834 intersection.
Finding the entrance to Finnich Glen and the Devil’s Pulpit
The path to the Devil’s Pulpit starts with a locked gate. But there is a gap in the stone wall at the end of the bridge if you walk across. You can also climb the fence just before the bridge and jump down. It’s easy to miss the gap but check the video to see what it looks like! There are several paths leading from the gap in the fence to the entrance to Finnich Glen. We wandered closer to the edge of the glen itself, following the sound of the water, but you can also make your way more directly there along the widest path.
There are several paths leading from the gap in the fence to the entrance to Finnich Glen. We wandered closer to the edge of the glen itself, following the sound of the water, but you can also make your way more directly there along the widest path from the entrance next to the bridge.
The entrance to Finnich Glen and the Devil’s Pulpit is easy to miss if you’re not looking, so keep an eye out for stone steps on your left. It’s right across from a fence that overlooks a field on your right.
The 150-year-old steps down are called Jacobs Ladder, and I hate to think what they would have been like before helpful people (thank you local climbers!) left ropes tied to trees to hold onto on the way down. The ropes will likely be muddy though, so expect to get a little dirty if you plan on finding and exploring Finnich Glen! I HIGHLY recommend you wear proper hiking boots when visiting Finnich Glen.
At the bottom of the stairs to the Devil’s Pulpit, there’s a small railed balcony which grants you a beautiful first view of the glen. Because we went on a fairly fine Saturday in June there were quite a few people there, some swimming, and even some people who were having a BBQ (personally not recommended, the smoke travelled down the glen rather than up made it really smokey. And caused hazy photos, making for a grumpy photographer).
Part of the charm is visiting Finnich Glen is having to find your way without much help, but hopefully, with this little guide, you can enjoy the awe-inspiring Devil’s Pulpit and Finnich Glen for yourself!
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