THE John Muir Way has officially been recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails.
The 134 mile route – which stretches across Scotland’s heartland running between Helensburgh in the west and Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar on the east coast – joins other world famous paths which have been honoured with the prestigious award.
The John Muir Way is the 28th Long Distance Route to be given the accolade by Scottish Natural Heritage.
Since its launch in April 2014, which marked the centenary year of the Scots-born conservationist’s death, the route has fulfilled the key criteria to earn the highly sought after status.
Echoing John Muir’s own personal journey growing up in Scotland’s east coast town of Dunbar before travelling to the west coast, where he set sail for life in America, the route was designed to showcase the best of Central Scotland.
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The John Muir Way takes in castles, historic towns and villages, stunning coastal scenery as well as Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, and has already attracted both walkers and cyclists from as far afield as the US, Canada, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust and the visionary behind the route, said: “The John Muir Way is an important part of honouring the work of John Muir as a renowned conservationist.
“By raising awareness of Muir’s legacy we hope to inspire today’s youngsters - and Scots in general - to join the fight against climate change and help preserve our planet.
“There is a growing understanding in Scotland of Muir’s significance throughout the world and the award of ‘Scotland’s Great Trail’ status will help to further raise awareness of both Muir and the route.
“The John Muir Way has proved to be popular with locals going out for a short walk, for those long distance walkers who complete the route on consecutive days or over several visits and to hundreds of visitors from abroad, particularly from Muir’s adopted homeland wanting to learn more about Muir’s life in Dunbar.”
Ian Ross, Scottish Natural Heritage Chairman, said: “We’re extremely pleased to recognise the John Muir Way as one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The coast to coast route is the second longest of our Great Trails and, spanning central Scotland, it is easily accessible for millions of people living here.
“The John Muir Way is also another excellent outdoor tourism asset for Scotland and we hope the award helps to attract many more visitors over the coming years.
“Scotland’s Great Trails are an important feature of our National Walking and Cycling Network and developing the network is one of the ways the Scottish Government is aiming to achieve its 2020 Biodiversity Challenge goals.
“These goals include increasing participation in outdoor recreation and the encouragement of more active lifestyles, to help improve the health and quality of life of the people of Scotland.”
For further information about the John Muir Way, visit www.johnmuirway.org.