Truly one of the most magical places we encountered the entire trip was Finnick Glen. We set the alarm to get up early to avoid the crowds that we saw gathered there the night before, so many cars were illegally parked on the side of the roads for a mile surrounding this area and indicated something awesome was near. If we hadn’t known it was there we would have missed it, chalking it up to a fishing hole only the locals knew about, because there are no real signs indicating there is anything worth stopping for. The land is flatter and pretty by normal standards, but blah compared to Scotland standards.
We got there at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning and I was STUNNED to see we were the only ones there. Nothing is really marked to show you where you need to go, but my guide knew exactly where she was going so I followed her closely.
The steps are hundreds of years old, very steep and very narrow. At one point you cling to the rope as you lower your self further and further down the wonky staircase defying gravity. The every day rains in Scotland make the steps slippery and muddy and so it is delicate work getting yourself to the bottom of this steep staircase, but when you do. It is incredible.
The rain that worked against you before, transforms this entire area into a lush green rainforest like landscape. You can hear and smell the water rushing and as you get closer the view opens up and you can see the Devil’s Pulpit. There are many legends that surround the pulpit, some say it was the site of witch executions or where the devil addresses his followers. The Scots love their stories, so I am not sure which one to believe.
We decided to ditch the shoes and get closer to the waterfall and the devil’s pulpit. After watching my guide nearly lose a toe and begin final stages of hypothermia from the freezing water, I decided to take my chances and try to cross on the side with the flat rocks. Snaking my toes and stretching into yoga poses I have never been able to successfully duplicate in real life again, I was able to cross the stream without putting my feet in the water. The rocks were cold enough as they were. I just hugged the wall, said a little prayer for tiny suction cups to form on my toes and hoped for the best. Not gonna lie, it was very satisfying to have accomplished this without getting wet.
Full disclosure: While the above statement reeked of physical prowess, an hour later I fell down an embankment and hit my head, much more in keeping with my normal state of utter clumsiness.
It was just so still and beautiful there that I took some time to sit and soak it in. The vines and the moss and the tree roots create this other worldly canopy. The water rushing and the contrasts of the greens and the warm oranges and deep brown in the rocks is food for the eyes.
I am still in absolute shock that we got to experience this incredible place completely alone on a weekend. We were there for about an hour at the bottom and never saw another person. It was heaven.
Last week I noticed that the first 2 seasons of the Outlander were available on Netflix. Eager for another dose of Scotland, I began watching the series and last night on episode 6, when Claire and Dougal stop at a stream for a drink and he tells her the water is like a truth serum, all I could think was, That looks like Finnick Glen! So I googled it and sure enough they filmed that scene there.
Finnick Glen is stunning. It is serene and peaceful and just magic for the soul. You cannot reach it with public transportation, but if you have a car it is a must see in this beautiful country full of must see places. It hits all the sweet spots for me: water, nature, no humans.
Go visit, you won’t regret it.
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VELVET GUILD: A Serial Novel
I was as a single mom whose unemployment was running out fast. I was desperate for a way out
Velvet Guild is a serial novel broken into episodes. Each episode is approximately 12,000 words and can be read in an hour, like your favorite TV episode. It is sure to become your guilty pleasure.