New John Muir Way &'will be the most popular in Scotland&'
A newly extended Scottish walking trail that celebrates the life and work of conservationist John Muir is expected to attract almost two million people during its first year of opening.
The John Muir Way, which will be opened this spring by First Minister Alex Salmond, will take walkers from Muir’s birth town of Dunbar across Scotland to Helensburgh in the west.
The 130-mile trail is named after the Scottish-born environmentalist who emigrated to America and made his name as the founding father of American national parks.
It will be completed to coincide with the centenary of Muir's death in 1914 on April 21 and to mark and his birthday on April 21, 1838.
New John Muir Way route
The route takes in a huge variety of scenery, including canal towpaths, lochsides, hills, farmland, villages, towns and cities.
Most of the trail will be on easy going terrain although some sections will be a bit more challenging, including Gouk Hill, between Balloch and Helensburgh. (The reward for your efforts will be fabulous views over the Clyde and the southern end of Loch Lomond.)
Other sections to visit, if you do not plan to walk the entire route, include Croy Hill, which is part of the historic Antonine Way near Cumbernauld, where you can see the site of a Roman fort and the experience of walking beneath Forth Bridge at South Queensferry, near Edinburgh.
It’s also possible for cyclists to ride the trail, although several different paths are provided in certain places to avoid damaging historical sites.
Most popular of Scottish walking trails
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Legendary conservationist John Muir[/caption]
Scotland’s fantastic stable of long-distance walking trails are very popular with hundreds of thousands of walkers.
Current records show that parts of the Fife Coastal Path
are visited by some 500,000 each year. About 5000 walk the 117-mile Fife Coastal Path form end to end.
Some 90,000 walkers visit the West Highland Way
annually – and 34,000 walk it start to finish.
Now it’s claimed that the John Muir Way is set to record many times more walkers. It’s estimated that 9,000 will walk the entire route in year one.
It’s thought that the John Muir Way’s central location in Scotland, combined with easy access to the start, finish and various points along the way, will see it becoming the country’s most popular long-distance trail.
In addition, many parts of the SNH-supported route have been established for some time and walkers, old and new, will be keen to complete the route on the newly established connecting sections.
Ron McCraw, project manager for the John Muir Way at SNH, is reported as saying: “We want to awaken in people the philosophy that John Muir had about nature.
“He was inspired by the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains in the United States, but he was also inspired by what was in his back yard. We think it will be a very special route."
Which of Scotland's long-distance trails will you walk in 2014?
Macs Adventure have launched a self-guided walking package along the John Muir Way
, which will be available to book starting in May 2014.