“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 and it’s still a bit of a mission if you want to know how to find the Devil’s Pulpit…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? I’m going to call it by both names interchangeably since people seem to use either since they’re trying to find both at the same time, and even call it Glen Finnich!
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 the location of 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?
Why would you want to know how to get to Finnich Glen?
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 since it’s already a wet and damp place, and the cliffs surrounding you can make it rather dark. But knowing Scotland, it’s likely it’ll be cloudy when you go! It can be a very slippery descent into Finnich Glen (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 walk 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. It’s also since been a filming location for Outlaw King, and I’m sure it’ll be used again in future, making it even more popular.
What to pack for the Devil’s Pulpit walk
How to get to the Devil’s Pulpit and Finnich Glen, Scotland
Finnich Glen, Scotland Map Coordinates: 56°02’01.6”N 4°25’51.4”W
PLEASE NOTE: Finnich Glen has been closed at times due to the number of people parking dangerously nearby. There is only a very small area to park and you need to walk along the side of the road to reach the entrance to the glen. In order to keep Finnich Glen open and a free and wonderful place for everyone please plan carefully.
- Be aware you might need to skip your visit if the car park is full
- Don’t plan to go after heavy rain
- Wear appropriate footwear for the slippery stairs
- Take out what you take in with you. Rubbish has also been found in the glen recently which isn’t nice for anyone.
- Be aware there are no facilities nearby.
You won’t normally find a Finnich Glen map or postcode, so the best thing is to use the above coordinates if you have a GPS. The Devil’s Pulpit is just 30 minutes from Glasgow or 1 hour 35 from Edinburgh by car.
There’s a small section off the road nearby 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 signs or anything, you just have to know where to find it, although Finnich Glen is much more popular now after being used as an Outlander location so there are generally some cars about.
You can 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 the 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 just off the road so follow that and be aware of cars travelling fast alongside you. Please don’t mill around the intersection or along the road! Finding Finnich Glen is an adventure but you need to stay safe!
Tips for planning:
- Visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening when there are likely to be less other visitors.
- Plan for the fact you may not be able to get a park and have to come back to visit another time. Consider driving on to Loch Lomond instead.
- Take food and water with you but also take any rubbish out
- A change of clothes wouldn’t go amiss, just in case it’s muddy and you slip! Also, make sure you wear shoes with good grip and bring a change for those as well because they will get muddy.
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 so if you see that you know you’re on the right track to finding it. 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. You can spot it in the bottom left of the photos below.
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 from sitting on the ground 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 to give you more grip on the slippery steps or the mud alongside them.
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 of figuring out to get to 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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