Den of Finella is a waterfall and deep pools near St Cyrus in Aberdeenshire and it’s no well kept secret, especially given it is now widely publicised on travel blogs, Trip Advisor, Facebook and even a local estate agents. It even has its own ‘Lost Waterfall’ tag on Instagram, such are these times.
And why wouldn’t people want to go ? The rushing 65ft falls, the dark pools below, the ancient tree canopy and the twisting, traling plantlife makes for an otherworldly sight.
The den takes its name from Finella, the wife of an Angus noble who murdered Kenneth II around 995 to avenge the killing of her son. She went on the run, jumping into the waterfall as she became surrounded by the King’s men, her end story unknown. The story – and setting – stirs the coldest of souls.
I met a chap in the pub the other night from Idaho who was travelling around Scotland who was also now intrigued by the story of Finella. He was returning to the Den the next day to do a litter pick because of the amount of rubbish that had been left behind and I went too.
Now, descending into the Den is not for everyone. Someone smart has created a rope system that guides you down the steep, often disappearing, path. Walking boots and a pal are a must and there is no phone signal here.
At the bottom, there was plenty left behind, including a smashed bottle of Captain Morgan’s and a pair of tie dyed women’s shorts. There was also the standard burnt out disposable barbecue and several socks. Five bin bags were filled with my pal doing most of the work, including roping up a giant piece of Kingspan that had likely blown in.
As we pulled up the bags, I felt a little ashamed that someone travelling to Scotland had to clean up behind others. I also wondered how many times we would have to return and, if we didn’t, how it would look by the end of summer. Den of Finella is definitely not for everyone.