The Devils Pulpit or Finnich Glen as it is otherwise known is a real hidden gem here in Scotland and is a stunning place for a walk or even to go and photograph. This location was also used for filming parts of Outlander, you may recognise this when looking at our pictures.
If you are camping around or near Loch Lomond and the Trossachs or Glasgow area I would certainly recommend a visit.
This is a 100ft lush bright green gorge with what looks like a red river running through it. It is not a red river though just the red sandstone that the water flows over giving it that effect. The pictures don’t always do it justice and it is not a difficult or far walk but the path or stairs down can be quite treacherous.
Where is it?
The Devil’s Pulpit sits between Glasgow and Stirling, or at the back of Bearsden if you roughly know the area. Neither the parking or the glen are signposted but I’ll try to explain where is best to park and how to get there.
From Glasgow head for Drymen, this can be typed into your sat nav. Keep an eye out for the A809 as this is the road you will be parking on or near. The A809 is a fairly long stretch of road so don’t worry that you’ve missed it.
You will first pass parking at Queens View car park; this will be on your left-hand side if heading north. Then about 3 miles further up this road, you will start to look for a small layby at the side of the road on the left-hand side. If you reach an open crossroad you have gone too far, although this is the second parking area. The parking area here will be on your right-hand side. (See Map Below)
The best place to park is on the A809 just across from the entrance if you can, there is only space for about 3 small cars, but you may be lucky. The other is just a bit further along the road at a crossroads where again there is space for a few cars, but this requires a bit more of a walk to get back to the entrance.
I thought I best advise on how to prepare for this walk as there is both the risk of getting dirty and possibly wet if you want to get some nice photos.
Good shoes are a must. When I say this make sure they are old but have a good grip and decent soles on them. We passed young girls coming out when we arrived the last time who were wearing white trainers and light-coloured jeans looking rather annoyed and embarrassed at how dirty they had become.
I’d recommend using old trainers, a pair of shorts if you don’t mind getting a little wet or you want to explore a little further. You may get away and stay dry with wearing a pair of wellies if the weather has been good and the water level low. But as always take care when going down and back up as it can be slippery and is very steep.
Also, bring dry clothes and shoes to change into once back at the car and a bag to put wet gear in.
The Walk Along
If you have managed to park across from the entrance, cross the road and climb over the small wall. Here you will see a sign on the dangers of this gorge. Please pay attention and if going with kids keep them close to ensure they do not veer near the edges as these are not stable and it’s a huge drop down.
After the sign, follow the path for around 5 mins where you will come to an opening leading down to the gorge. There are trees and areas where if you are careful you will be able to take some pictures looking down to The Devil’s Pulpit from above.
You will come across an opening which leads down, this is also known as Jacob’s Ladder. You will see from the top just how steep it is and although it starts with some large concrete steps there are a few missing on the way down and some are very uneven.
There used to be a rope that you could use to help to get up and down but that is no longer there. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty or wearing gloves, you’d be better scrambling down.
If you do have children, I would recommend that an adult goes at the front both to help if any little ones fall or need help and to help keep a slow and safe pace.
Once Down in the Gorge
Now that you have gotten yourself down you will start to see just how different this place is and how it opens up.
If you head off to your left, you will come to some mini waterfalls that are great to capture on camera. You can if you wish to walk through the gorge to both sides if you don’t mind getting wet. Personally, I think you can capture better pictures if you just immerse yourself in the surroundings including getting in the water.
There may be some logs and tree trunks about, this changes with each time we go. There are also some eels in the water if you are ever lucky enough to spot them.
I recommend you just take your time and enjoy the beauty of it. For some this may be taking pictures, others like a swim and some like to just sit by the “pulpit” and enjoy the scenery.
Once you are finished simply retrace your steps up Jacob’s Ladder and along the path back to the car.
Remember and leave the place as you found it if not better. By this I mean take all your litter home and if you see any and can manage to take it too. There is a bin next to the parking at the layby where you can dispose of rubbish.
If you do visit and are looking for something else to do in the area or want to make a day of it I would also recommend going up The Whangie. You can do this by parking at Queens View car park (also on the A908) and following the path.
Should you visit either The Devil’s Pulpit or go a walk up The Whangie please feel free to share some of your own photos with us, we would love to see them.