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Scottish Trails & Walks: The John Muir Way

The John Muir Way provides for a a fantastic opportunity to walk 'coast to coast' across Scotland soaking up an abundance of points of interest, sounds and experiences.

The John Muir Way - Route

The John Muir Way is a 215KM (130 miles) route in the southern area of Scotland which was named in honour of the Scottish conservationist John Muir, who was born in Dunbar in 1838. Not to be confused with the John Muir Trail, California, USA named after John Muir. The John Muir way consists of 2,015 metres (6,611 ft) of elevation gain.

According to the Scottish National Heritage, somewhere between 240,000 and 300,000 people makes use of the path annually, of whom somewhere in the region of 5,500 walk the whole route. 

Key Points Of Interest On The John Muir Way Route

You will discover quite a few sites to get your interest as you progress – naturally occurring, historic and also industrial – that it can be well worth allowing time to enjoy them. The Way takes in many different terrains, from tracks, canal towpaths and cycleways, along with a few pavements and minor roads.

Considering the nature of the route you can wear lightweight hiking boots or sturdy trainers however, be sure that you take waterproofs, especially in the west where the weather is unpredictable.

The Way is signposted in both directions for those travelling from Helensburgh to Dunbar or the other way around. At cycle braid junctions there will be separate signs both for walkers and cyclists. the trail from west to the east of Scotland, the John Muir Way starts in Helensburgh. The trail follows over the hills, providing fantastic views of Loch Lomond on the way and the Trossach mountains, before climbing down into Balloch, that has a National Park centre for visitors.

This can be on the list of wilder elements of the John Muir Way route with the most rugged and difficult terrain: windswept, high moorland that has little shelter in the event you come across severe weather conditions. From this point the trail winds its way towards Strathblane and another of Scotland's most famous long distance walking routes, the West Highland Way that it traverses near Dumgoyne hill and Glengoyne Distillery.

At Kirkintilloch, this trail picks up the Forth and Clyde Canal and heads all the way through Strathkelvin to Falkirk and its wheel which provides a link between waterways for travelling watercraft.

Those of you taking on this hike with come across Roman forts and the Antonine Wall. Following along the route you make your way to the ancient town of Linlithgow and its impressive palace of Mary, Queen of Scots.

It leaves Linlithgow with its low lying loch for the seashore and the harbour town of Bo'ness, coasting along to Blackness Castle and the bridge town of South Queensferry. The trail follows the greener places in the capital city, Edinburgh, before guiding you east, past famous, coastal birding and golf spots via Aberlady and North Berwick. The trail ends in Dunbar, where Muir was born and the museum there which has dedicated to him.

Useful Resources On The John Muir Way

John Muir Way Website

Scottish Natural Heritage Website


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