The Devil’s Pulpit – How to Take an Amazing Photo!
Welcome back to My Saturday Drive! It has been a while since I posted a blog but we are back now. Let’s kick off the first post of 2019 with what I think was the best shot I have ever taken and how I got to do it! With this post, I hope to inspire you to get out there and enjoy the process of finding amazing places to photograph.
I would like to note that this is something that anyone visiting Scotland can and should do and if you live around the Glasgow area, you can do it any time you want.
I had heard about this location a while back and I knew I had to visit and photograph it, simply because of the name: The Devil’s Pulpit! I mean, come on! If you have any sort of sense of adventure in you, you have to want to visit The Devil’s Pulpit, just to see what it’s all about!
So how do you get there? Well, it’s really not very far from Glasgow. If you drive, (and that’s probably the best way to get there) it is only 30 minutes outside of Glasgow, right before Drymen. Set your satnav destination to Finnich Glen, as I found that’s the best place to park. There are also 2 parking spaces on the side of the road, right beside the entrance to the forest but unless you are lucky, or visiting at odd hours, they will always be taken. So it would be best advised if you just park at the big junction, at Finnich Glen and walk balk for 5 minutes to get to the entrance.
If you don’t have access to a car, you can still get there, albeit it will be a bit of a journey. For example’s sake, let’s say you are going from Glasgow Central. You need to take bus number 60 to Castlemains and hop off at Craigash Road. From there you change to bus 512 and get off at Drymen. From Drymen, you can take the B9 service, operated by First Scotland East that can drop you off at Croftamie and then it’s a 30 minute walk to get to the location. All in, it can take you around 2 hours. I suppose this would add more to the sense of adventure and if it’s a nice sunny day, then why not?
How to Find It
This is the tricky bit (or at least it was for me). If you are at Finnich Glen car park, don’t just walk through the farm. I mean, you can if you want to, but that will only take you to the edge of the gorge. It will give you a nice bird’s eye view of what it’s like inside, but the true vistas lie within the belly of the beast (see what I did there?)!
In order to get to the right path, you have to walk south from Finnich Glen, alongside A809 for about 2 minutes. After you cross the bridge, you will find either a rusty old gate (which was locked at the time I visited) or a whole in a wall and you can use either of these to enter the forest. From there on, follow the footpath and after 5 minutes of walking you will be able to see a set of what looks like stairs – THAT is the way down! These are called, befittingly, the Devil’s Steps or Jacob’s ladder.
What You Need
In order to get down there, you will need at least wellies, or some proper mud shoes, with good, grippy soles. You will also need to TAKE YOUR TIME if you are inexperienced or find it any bit challenging. Take one step at a time and make sure you have good grip. If it has been raining, the path will be really muddy and slippery. At times, it might seem like you are stuck, or you can’t go any further. You can! There is always a way! Always keep this in mind and look for secure places to put your feet.
I am only telling you this because, for me at least, it was one of the trickiest things I had ever done and only by constantly telling myself I can do it, I was able to accomplish it! I felt a great sense of achievement after this little adventure and I hope you do too.
The Devil’s Pulpit – What Is It?
This gorge is called Finnich Glen (the destination on the satnav) but the site you are going to is also known as the Devil’s Pulpit because of the rock formation in front of the little waterfall that resembles a church pulpit. The water also appears red in color, but that is only because of the sandstone in the gorge.
Taking the Shot
In order to get to the spot, once you are down, you have to go upstream of the river, towards the rock formation that looks like a pulpit. This, for me, was what made the picture I ended up with in the end, one of the best pictures I had ever taken. I didn’t have wellies, and despite the freezing temperature, I took my boots and socks off, rolled my trousers up to my knees, and waded in the water.
It was liberating but at the same time, a bit painful! The rock is slippery and sharp in places, and the running water turns your feet into two ice bricks! But it was worth it!
Adrenaline running a bit high now, I set up the tripod, and a couple of minutes of standing in cold water, the shot was saved on the memory card!
This is what I think makes an amazing photo! It’s not only about the composition, the light or the gear you are using that makes a photo special. I believe it is actually the journey and the process you take to arrive to that one particular moment when you press the shutter release button!
In this case, I spent about an hour wondering around the top of the gorge trying to find Jacob’s ladder and peaking over the edge made my heart rate rise a little every time. Then going down the steep stairs and being afraid I would fall or break the camera added to the sense of adventure. Fuelled by adrenaline, I decided I didn’t go all the way down there for nothing, so I braved up, rolled my trousers up and waded through the cold water to get to the shot I needed!
So here it is! My best ever shot so far! I hope you like it.
If you do, head over to my Instagram and like it and comment it, or share it with your friends on Facebook. It is a wonderful little gem, that not many people dare go to and those who do, will forever feel a sense of achievement!
For this photograph I used the following gear:
Buying these items through these links won’t cost you a penny. What it does, is it helps me produce more amazing content for you guys.
I hope you enjoyed my little post today and I look forward to hearing your thoughts down below or on Facebook and Instagram. So what do you think, do you like this picture? I absolutely love it!