Finnich Glen is about a 100 ft. gorge and takes you deep into the sinister lost under-world of devils and witches. Its steep green moss-covered rocky sides plunge down to the blood-red waters below.
The glen was one of Scotland’s hidden gems. The Cannock Burn carved out a gully in the sandstone and gave the water its rich colour. It lies just fifteen miles south from Loch Lomond, and thirty miles north of Glasgow.
Until 2014 it was a nature lovers dream. It then became, “Liars Spring” on the ‘Outlander’ television series, and its wonders were transformed into a national sensation.
It is not an easy place to find, as there are no signposts. It is also difficult to reach by public transport, but with a thirty–minute walk, as well, it can be done. Most people drive there. It is this that has caused the most problems. There are very little parking spaces. With the number of tourists having multiplied, stationary vehicles have cluttered up the rural roads, so the local authorities are now issuing fines to offenders. In fact, it is the amount of parked cars slowing traffic, almost to a stop, that indicates you have arrived at the glen.
The footpath to the gorge starts on the A809, where only a couple of cars can park. Further along at the junction with the B834 there are a few more spaces & even more down the B834.
Sometimes the gate to the footpath is locked. If you do not want to scale the small stone wall, you can cross the bridge on the B834 and there is an opening at the end of the bridge. Once on the footpath, you will have about a ten-minute walk along the glen top. Be careful of the deep drops down the gorge sides. Keep looking for the steep narrow steps into the remote world below, they can be easily missed.
The steps are ancient, built in 1860, and are not in good condition. Called the, ‘Devils Staircase’, or ‘Jacobs Ladder’, they descend rapidly, with ropes to help you. The ropes were supplied by mountain rescuers, who have been called out numerous times to assist with accidents here. Just go carefully and take your time. Even in the height of summer, after long periods of drought these steps can still be slippery because of the growth of fungi clinging to them.
At the bottom, you are immersed into the magical eerie chasm, where its said, Druids hid from sight for their religious covenants. In the middle of this acute abyss stands a strange round rock, giving this place its name of, ‘Devils Pulpit’. Thought to be where Satan himself preached to his followers amid the swirling ruby waters. Or as an execution block for witches, where the condemned, that had not quite succumbed to their fate, then drowned as they floundered over the icy waterfalls.
Although, the owners of this property are looking to enhancing this remarkable phenomenon, with washrooms, cafe, easier access and larger parking facilities, it has not yet been accomplished. So, remember to visit toilets before you arrive. As there are no waste bins, any food containers, or rubbish of any kind, must be taken home with you, when you leave. Don yourself with suitable footwear, and bathing attire if you fancy a dip in the cold, clear pools.
This area is spectacular, and being ruined by uncaring visitors. Let’s not degrade it any further. Keep this enchanting world of green under-growth, its snippets of blue skies that glint onto the silver waterfalls that cascade into the red pools beneath as beautiful as you found it.