Gilmour's Linn Waterfall and Charlie's Cave

Written by Chris Thornton | 6th of December 2023
Gilmour’s Linn Waterfall and Charlie’s Cave

You will find Gilmour's Linn waterfall within the verdant folds of Touch Glen, just a stone's throw away from Stirling. This hidden treasure, also known as "Touch Glen Waterfall", is more than just an arresting spectacle of nature; it carries a historical narrative that transcends centuries. Behind the cascading waters of the waterfall is a cavernous hideaway known as Charlie's Cave, named after the enigmatic figure, Bonnie Prince Charlie.

In southern Scotland, the term 'linn' is traditionally employed to depict a waterfall or the plunge pool beneath it. This linguistic peculiarity adds a touch of local charm to the enchanting Gilmour's Linn.

History of Charlie's Cave and Gilmour's Linn

Delving into the annals of history, we find an intriguing story woven around Charlie's Cave and Gilmour's Linn. Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stuart), the figurehead of the Jacobite rebellion, was warmly welcomed by Elizabeth Seton at the nearby Touch House before the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745. The serene surroundings of the waterfall and its secluded cave reportedly provided a refuge for the Prince, allowing him moments of quiet reflection before leading his men to their first decisive victory in the Jacobite Uprising.

The lore of the cave extends beyond this victory, leading us to a time of retreat. After the devastating defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden, Bonnie Prince Charlie was purportedly hidden in this very cave. The Seton family, staunch Jacobite supporters and known associates of the Prince owned the Touch House. Given their open support for the rebellion, it was deemed too perilous for the Prince to remain there. Thus, the cave became his sanctuary, a hideaway where servants could clandestinely supply him with food and other necessities.

The story of Charlie's escape to Skye and the cave's precise role in it remains shrouded in ambiguity. Given the cave's secluded location, it isn't easy to establish these claims with certainty. Nevertheless, these stories add a mystique to this natural marvel.

Bonnie Prince Charlie's Cave, nicknamed Charlie's Cave. Don't get wet feet!
Bonnie Prince Charlie's Cave, where he is said to have hidden following defeat at Culloden.

How to get to Gilmour's Linn and Charlie's Cave

Embarking on a journey to discover Gilmour's Linn and Charlie's Cave is an adventure. The waterfall, hidden amidst the dense vegetation, invites intrepid explorers who know where to look. The preferred access point is near the waterworks building west of the quaint village of Cambusbarron. Take the first left turn and follow the road, keeping to the right when it forks. Be watchful of the free-roaming sheep and the cattle grids along the way, and park your vehicle upon reaching the waterworks building.

Several paths lead to the waterfall and cave from this point, each presenting unique challenges and rewards. One path begins alongside the waterworks building and past an old wooden scout hut. As you tread this route, be wary of the boggy patches in the small field ahead. The path winds past a farmhouse and descends into a forested area, where you'll need to climb over or under a fence. Be sure to adhere to countryside norms and close the gate behind you if you've opened it. Beware of sheep wandering onto the road.

You will hear Touch Burn as it becomes a constant companion as you proceed. The path runs close to the edge of a gorge and takes you past uprooted trees and an old stone wall. You can descend to the waterfall on your right with careful footing, especially after rainfall. The journey can be slippery and difficult, so it's recommended that you embark on this adventure on a clear day and be cautious of your surroundings.

Step-by-step directions to Gilmour's Linn and Charlie's Cave

  1. Leave Cambusbarron heading west along Touch Road.

  2. Take the first left (not to Gartur Estate).

  3. Take the right fork, as seen in this street view image.

  4. Continue along this road, turning left at the farm and continuing to the waterworks. If travelling by car park at the bottom of the road to the waterworks,

  5. Follow the path from the waterworks roughly northwards to reach the waterfall about 1km away.

  6. Arrive at the falls.

Directions to Gilmour's Linn, on the Touch Estate.
Directions: follow the steps above to reach the falls.

The Waterfall and Cave

Once you reach your destination, you can explore the cave behind the waterfall and even stand behind the waterfall, admiring the force of nature from a unique perspective. For those seeking an easier route to the waterfall, there is an alternative, a somewhat longer but less steep route.

FAQs on Gilmour's Linn Waterfall and Charlie's Cave

Here are a few frequently asked questions about the waterfall and cave.

Where do you park for Gilmours Linn?

At the bottom of the road to the waterworks building west of Cambusbarron is the preferred parking spot for the waterfall. Please do not park at the waterworks and be aware of blocking access to the people that live there.

Where is Charlie's Cave?

The cave is directly below Gilmour's Linn Waterfall, found west of Stirling and Cambusbarron.

Did Bonnie Prince Charlie seek refuge in the cave?

It's known he was at the cave before the Battle of Prestonpans, but it's not known if he was there following the historic defeat at Culloden.

Where is Carline Linn Waterfall?

Carline Linn is another beautiful waterfall found northeast of Gilmour's Linn. If you want to visit this waterfall, driving to Touch Business Centre and walking the short distance north to the falls is better.

Can I swim below Gilmour's Linn?

The water is relatively shallow at about 4ft, so it would be more of a cold water dip than a swim, but yes, nothing is stopping you. Just be aware the site is quite remote if you get into difficulties.

What else can be done in the area around Gilmour's Linn?

Blairdrummond Safari Park isn't too far away to the north. This is a brilliant safari park/zoo with fantastic play areas for children.

Other local attractions are:

  • Doune Castle

  • The David Stirling Memorial

  • Stirling Castle and Old Bridge

  • The Wallace Monument

  • The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre

Gilmour's Linn Waterfall and Charlie's Cave Video

Here's a great video explaining how to get to the waterfall and cave.

Key information on Gilmour's Linn Waterfall and Charlie's Cave

  • The waterfall and cave are famous for being a refuge for Bonnie Prince Charlie and a renowned beauty spot.

  • The nearest city to the waterfall and cave is Stirling.

  • Park near the waterworks facility west of Cambusbarron.

  • The short walk can be challenging but will be easy for seasoned walkers.

Conclusion

Whether it's the rich history, enchanting scenery, or the thrill of the hike, Gilmour's Linn and Charlie's Cave offer a unique, captivating, inspiring experience. As you stand there, surrounded by the whispers of history and the incessant rush of the waterfall, it's easy to see why this hidden gem holds such a special place in the hearts of locals and tourists.

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

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