At the beginning of the month I got the chance to visit a beautiful gorge in Scotland. It’s “real” name is Finnich Glen but it’s also known as the devil’s pulpit. Rumour has it that satan himself used to preach to the monks down there… interesting. I’d always wanted to go to the devil’s pulpit but heard it was a bit dangerous with the slippy rocks and stuff so I never risked going on my own. Knowing my luck, I’d fall down a ditch and end up stuck for weeks before someone found me. But luckily, my new friend Jade (who I met on my bus journey home from England) was down for the adventure. And adventure it was…
When we arrived at the location Google had brought us to, we realised there were no signs or even suggestions as to where the devil’s pulpit actually was. We followed the sound of the water, climbed through a hole in the fence and walked along a really muddy path until we found the gorge. Looking over the edge we wondered how the hell we were going to get down to the bottom.
We came across a creepy looking set of stairs and tried to walk down them. The stairs were all muddy and slippery because of the rain but the ropes tied to the trees in between helped us survive. I was shaking with fear as we walked down, trying my best not to slip and die. Neither of us were dressed for the occasion- I was wearing a white t-shirt and trainers. I don’t think we realised how much of an escapade it was actually going to be. We reached an extremely narrow opening at the end of the stairs, where there was nothing to hold onto. It looked far too dangerous to continue so we climbed back up and continued walking.
We got to the end of the “trail” and finally managed to get down to the water, except it was miles from where we wanted to be. We’d seen people paddling amongst the trees when we were looking down from the top. I suggested we walked down the river to get there. That was until I put my bare foot in and almost froze to death. That water was so cold that it was painful.
We quickly crossed the river to get to the other side of the gorge, walked back uphill and continued on our journey. To cut a long story short, we got stuck in various compromising positions trying to find a safe path to where we wanted to be. This included climbing on our hands and knees. I even used my jacket as a safety blanket so we could climb over a barbed wire fence. That was some Lara Croft shit.
We never did find a way down so we went back to the beginning and asked some passersby. Turns out those creepy stairs were the only way down, so we bit the bullet and went for it. There were people coming up as we were going down which was terrifying. We had to just hang onto a giant rock for dear life whilst they passed. It was really, really scary and messy but we finally made it down. And it was SO worth it. It is such a beautiful place and so mystical. The trouble we had getting down there made it even more special.
Some tips before you head off
If you ever plan to go to the devil’s pulpit, here are some tips:
- From the car park, walk left along the main road until you get to a little bridge. You’ll then see a hole in the fence with some steps. Follow that path, staying right-ish and walk for around 5-10 minutes until you reach the stairs.
- Wear PROPER walking shoes with good grip
- Take wellies or swim shoes and a towel if you want to go in the water. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is BALTIC. I couldn’t keep my feet in for longer than 20 seconds at a time.
- Wear old clothes and expect to get really, really dirty. (I had to throw my shoes out afterwards because they were so disgusting. I walked in some extremely deep mud on the way out and no washing machine was ever going to save them, ha ha.)
- Take lots of water and snacks. It’s a short but pretty hardcore walk and quite a workout.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I look forward to sharing more of my adventures around Scotland in the coming weeks.