It’s the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 and this month the first ever John Muir Day will be celebrated in Scotland. On April 21, a host of events will take place across the country remembering the life and pioneering conservation work of Scots-born John Muir.
Even more exciting news for walkers is plans to create a new long-distance walk paying homage to Muir, known as the “father of national parks”. Next April, on the centenary of John Muir’s death, it’s hoped that a John Muir Trail will be opened in Scotland.
If you think this sounds familiar then you’re right! A 73km John Muir Way walk already follows a beautiful route from Dunbar in East Lothian, where Muir was born, to South Queensferry. The plan for the John Muir Trail is to extend the route to the west coast of Scotland to offer a full east to west coast Scottish walking trail.
The John Muir Trail will head from Dunbar to Greenock on the Firth of Clyde. While final details of the route path are still to be finalised it looks likely to pass through significant points in Muir’s life, such as Broomielaw Quay in Glasgow, from where he set sail for America with his family at the age of 11.
Dunbar is where Muir was born and Greenock is where he took his final steps on Scottish soil before emigrating. He is renowned for his campaigning to keep wild places world and he played a key role in creating major national parks in America. Many people believe that his work also helped to create national parks worldwide, including those in the UK.
When it is launched, the 100-mile path will be the third John Muir Trail in the world, adding to the 211-mile route in the Sierra Nevada mountains, from the Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, and the 21-mile trail in Tennessee.
The Scottish John Muir Trail is the brainchild of the Central Scotland Green Network and is being supported by Scottish Natural Heritage.
Keith Geddes, chair of the CSGN, is reported as saying in a Scottish newspaper: “When I first went to Yosemite national park in 1975, my American friends said: ‘You’re Scottish, you tell us all about John Muir’, and I said ‘Who?’.
“Now I know how inspirational he is. We want to use some of his famous quotes on signs along the route.”
Keep an eye on this blog for further details of the new John Muir Trail. We would be keen to hear from anyone who would like to follow in the great John Muir’s footsteps on the Scottish walking route. We might add it to our Walking Holidays in Scotland.
Thanks to SNH for the John Muir statue picture.