The Devil’s Pulpit

The Devil’s Pulpit


A forgotten secret in the lowland hills near the city of Glasgow, the Devil’s Pulpit was once a spiritual home for Medieval Druids and clandestine Covenanters (Scottish Protestants) and it is easy to see why they were drawn to this 100ft deep crevice with its towering cliffs and hidden alleyways. Taking the A809 road from Bearsden near Glasgow leads you to a place called Craighat Wood and the gorge known to locals as Finnich Glen can be found under the small stone bridge that you cross before the picturesque village of Croftamie.

Once you walk down the slippery Victorian stairwell nicknamed ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, you enter a world of unnaturally coloured walls and creeping trees. The shades of red, green and purple moss lend an air of fantasy to this ancient world where it is easy to imagine covert preaching taking place by torchlight in the centuries gone by. Rumours persist that it was also favoured by local witches when they had taken to casting spells during the full moon. Whatever the questionable historical purpose, The Devil’s Pulpit is certainly striking in appearance and atmosphere and has gained a cult following amongst ramblers and day-trippers.

Located at the end of a creeping alleyway, The Devil’s Pulpit is actually a tall, wide mound of turf that towers above most that stand next to it and whilst it may not sound particularly dramatic, in the context of the Lord of the Rings landscape it gains a mythical quality. This mythical quality was once exploited by a national theatre group as they performed a live night time spectacle in the gorge that told of the changing seasons in Scotland.

If you dare to wade through the dark water, prepare to sidestep the slippery eels underfoot with the sound of frog chorus ringing in your ears as the Pulpit has a substantial amount of wildlife hidden in its rocky pools. After significant rainfall- which happens a lot in Scotland- the pools in the glen can flood to become deeper than you would imagine so it is strongly advised not to attempt to swim in the blood red waters. For generations, the area has been dubbed Hell by locals and occasionally people do find themselves in trouble here due to the wet (and therefore dangerous) terrain, so it is best to wear sensible shoes and dress appropriately. On most days the waters will be little more than streams but the rocks can be very slippery.

The surrounding hills roll for miles around with another natural phenomenon found nearby named The Whangie- a favourite with picnicking families and rock climbers due to the stunning views. This chasm is almost a strange mirror of the Devil’s Pulpit except 100 feet higher on top of a hill; the surreal atmosphere is in abundance at both locations with people often spending a day visiting here and the Pulpit. It is strange to think that in the middle of all of the natural beauty there is such a place at a subterranean level, one of supposed evil and such a stark contrast to the rest of the visible land. Come to where the witches hide and you’re guaranteed not to forget it.

Date posted: 12th December, 2014

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