Sunny walk on the John Muir Way
The new and extended John Muir Way in Scotland can be walked in one continuous hiking holiday over eight to 11 days. Alternatively, the 134-mile coast-to-coast trail offers huge scope for walking shorter sections whenever you have a spare few days, day or half a day. The delight of this long-distance Scottish walking route is that it is wonderfully accessible. The John Muir Way is perfect for dipping in and out of walks on shorter outings thanks to numerous towns and villages. These settlements are well placed for arriving by train or car, before setting off on foot.
More about the John Muir WayThe John Muir Way has been inspired by the Scots born 19th century conservationist John Muir. The original and shorter route journeyed from Dunbar, Muir’s birth town, to South Queensferry. This year, in the centenary year of his death, the Way has been extended to reach across the country to Helensburgh on the west. Muir, who is often referred to as the Father of National Parks, spent his childhood days in Dunbar before emigrating with his family to America. He sailed from the Clyde, just along the shore from Helensburgh. Although Muir lived most of his life in America he maintained close links with his home country and was said to talk fondly of the landscape in East Lothian.
Walking from East Linton to DunbarThe toughest decision of the day was choosing a section to walk. So much of the route is attractive and offers wide scope for easy-going and scenic strolling. In the end, favourable weather in the east brought myself, and two friends, to East Linton and a plan to walk to Dunbar. We were surprised by the variety of countryside on this short-ish walk. The John Muir Way is clearly signed from the pretty village of East Linton and within only a few strides we found ourselves suddenly surrounded by gorgeous greenery and walking alongside a beautiful river Tyne. This section of the John Muir Way is to be savoured and so we strolled rather than hiked, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells. The landscape in East Lothian is rolling farmland and the route took us along the edge of wide and lushly green meadows. For long stretches, we walked through tall corridors of stunning wild flowers, blossoming hawthorns and beneath overhanging trees. East Lothian thrives with wildlife and we stopped at frequent intervals to watch a variety of butterflies, dazzling blue dragonflies and nectar drinking bees. Further along the John Muir Way, the riverside paths turned to wider off-road trails as the route headed towards the coast. The sea shining beneath a sunny sky offered a spectacular new view. As we walked closer to the coast the plants changed from hedgerow to bright yellow gorse and long grass. For a mile or more we found ourselves walking along a long sandy beach and then via pretty woodlands. We welcomed the shade of the tall evergreens and enjoyed the sweet smell of pine needles and cones. At the village of West Barnes the trail skirts a golf course and then heads along the top of red sandstone cliffs. From this viewpoint, Bass Rock, the home of thousands of gannets, rises splendidly from the sea and on the day that we walked the route it was prettily skirted by a low sea mist. There are plenty of benches lining the cliff top walking route and we spent a lovely half an hour sunbathing, chatting and enjoying the sea views. Dunbar proved to be the perfect end to our sunny walk. Several cafes had placed tables and chairs on the street and we basked in more sunshine as we ate a delicious late lunch. The town is also home to John Muir’s Birthplace Museum and boasts a statue of Muir as a boy. Our plan is to complete the entire Way over the coming months by walking short sections. Next time we are thinking about East Linton to North Berwick. Have you walked any sections of the new John Muir Way?
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