Finnich Glen

Finnich Gorge

Useful Information

Finnich Glen, Scotland. Public Domain.
Devil's Pulpit, Finnich Glen, Scotland. Public Domain.
Location: East of Finnich Bridge on the A809.
(56.031566, -4.417717)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Dimension: H=35 m.
Guided tours: self guided. V=70,000/a [2015]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Finnich Glen.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1860 Devil's Steps built.
2014 used as location for the TV series Outlander.
2020 used as location for the BBC TV series The Nest.


Finnich Glen, Scotland. Public Domain.
Finnich Glen, Scotland. Public Domain.
Finnich Glen, Scotland. Public Domain.

Finnich Glen is a gorge located north of Glasgow, cut by the Carnock burn 35 m deep into red sandstone. It is rather easily accessible on a steep staircase known as the Devil's Steps. The staircase was built in 1869 when the glen became popular for the first time. It leads down into the gorge in the middle at its most spectacular spot. The gorge itself is not developed, if you want to follow it you have to wade through the brook.

The main sight is a rather unimpressive red sandstone outcrop in the middle of the riverbed named Devil's Pulpit. The name became so popular, it was sometimes mixed up with the name of the gorge.

The place is known and popular since Victorian times, but it became really famous with the time-traveling romance TV series Outlander in 2014. The site was used as the location for the fictional St Ninian's Spring. As a result it became internationally known and the number of visitors increased to some 70,000 per year. The results are obvious: damages on the site, damages on surrounding private properties like damaged fences, and frequent calls of the mountain rescue teams. Also there is no parking lot, the visitors park along the side of the adjacent narrow rural road. This is quite problematic and causes resentments because they block access for local residents and first responders.

The popularity of the site is still high, because it is now quite popular on picture sites like pinterest and it was featured as a location in the BBC TV series The Nest. In 2019 the landowner David Young proposed the development of the site as a tourist attraction. It included a visitor centre, restaurant, toilets, a parking lot for 150 cars, footpaths, viewing platforms, bridges above the gorge, and a new wood-and-metal staircase. The development would cost GBP 2 Million and so far has no approval from the local council.

To keep the impact as small as possible, as long as the site is not developed, we ask visitors to park without blocking the traffic. On A809 south of the gorge, 50 m south of the bridge is a trail on the eastern side of the road which leads into the gorge down Devil's Steps. On the western side of the road is a small parking possibility for four cars. Another parking possibility is on the other side of the bridge at the turnoff into B834, at the Glengoyne Distillery sign. We strongly recommend rubber boots or at least neoprene socks. Please avoid the gorge during rainy weather.