John Muir Way celebrates third anniversary

Dunbar Beach,  East Lothian. Picture: Becky Duncan Photography/Contributed
Dunbar Beach, East Lothian. Picture: Becky Duncan Photography/Contributed
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THE John Muir Way officially opened its famous 134-mile coast-to-coast route three years ago.

The route - which commemorates the world-renowned conservationist - was launched on Muir’s birthday on 21st April 2014 and has welcomed visitors from across the globe.

South Queensferry and the forth road rail bridge, Edinburgh. Picture: Becky Duncan Photography/Contributed

South Queensferry and the forth road rail bridge, Edinburgh. Picture: Becky Duncan Photography/Contributed

Around 300,000 visits are made annually to the route with 75% of those walking, while 24% cycle.

Around 6,000 visits are undertaken by end-to-end users who complete all 134 miles of the route over consecutive days while 19% (57,000) visits are by those looking to complete the route in sections.

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The John Muir Birthplace in Dunbar has also seen a steady increase in the number of people visiting who have completed the whole route. Of those who left details, 46% were from the USA, 25% were Scottish, 10% were from the rest of the UK, 8% were from Europe and 5% were from the rest of the world.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The John Muir Way has been a great success with people from across Scotland and around the world being inspired to explore Central Scotland.

People of all ages are being encouraged to reconnect with nature and this helps to improve the environment for local communities and also has a positive impact for businesses in the area.

“I am sure the John Muir Way will continue to go from strength to strength and many more people will walk all or part of the 134 mile route and learn about the legacy of John Muir.”

The route stretches across Scotland’s heartland running between Helensburgh in the west through to Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar in the east.

Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network, was the inspiration behind the trail.

He said: “Three years on from the launch of the John Muir Way and the route’s popularity is still growing throughout the world. SNH’s recent decision to award the route Scotland’s Great Trail status will further enhance its standing.

“Interest from John Muir’s adopted home, the USA, continues and over the summer the CBS Sunday Morning programme will be filming parts of the route.

“We hope that the route will interest more and more people in the life and legacy of John Muir, encouraging them to think about conservation and how they can make their own individual or collective contribution to combating climate change.

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“Muir’s influence over a succession of American presidents just shows how some of today’s young Scots could make their mark on the world.”

To find out more about the John Muir Way visit www.johnmuirway.org.

The John Muir Birthplace Trust can be found at www.jmbt.org.uk.

The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) is one of 14 national developments for Scotland created in the Scottish Government’s third National Planning Framework. The initiative is designated a national priority.

With an all-encompassing remit, far beyond just a ‘green initiative’, the CSGN aims to improve the social, physical, cultural and environmental health and well-being of Central Scotland, as well as assisting the area to meet the challenge of climate change.