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Devil’s Pulpit: a strange rock with a sinister reputation lurks within the crimson waters of this Scottish glen

2 min read

The real name of the gorge in Scotland is Finnich Glen.
The name Devil’s Pulpit comes from a rock formation that looks similar to that of a church pulpit, even if the red coloured water seemed more satanic than saintly, to early visitors.
Originally, the name “the Devil’s Pulpit” referred only to the rock that sometimes pokes above the rushing stream, and some say it is where the Devil stood to address his followers, with the crimson current swirling at his feet.
Others say Druids held secret meetings there, hidden from sight within the shadows of the gorge’s looming walls, but also tales of witches using the rock as an execution block.

However, over time, many people began referring to all of Finnich Gorge simply as “the Devil’s Pulpit.”
Either way It’s still a fitting name, as the red water certainly gives the whole place an eerie aura, though its color actually isn’t the work of the Devil at all: It’s merely a result of the underlying red sandstone.
However, this doesn’t make the gorge feel any less otherwordly.
Climbing down the slippery steps, of course named Devil’s Steps, or Jacob’s ladder depending on who you ask, and entering this realm of verdant moss-covered rocks and ruby-toned water, there is an enchanting world, where thin beams of sunlight shine spotlights the gurgling stream.
Jacob’s Ladder, built around 1860, is an ancient stone staircase which runs down to the gorge below.
However, It’s very steep and in very poor condition, but is pretty much the only way to get down to the gorge without climbing gear. There are ropes you can use to help yourself as you go down and up.
Following its use to depict the fictional St Ninian’s Spring in the time-traveling romance TV series Outlander in 2014, the site has seen an explosion in tourism, with an estimated 70,000 visitors now coming to the site each year.
It also featured as a location in The Nest, a BBC One five-part television drama series, began on 2020.

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