John Muir Way
Argyll & Byte to East Lothian, Scotland
Distance: 134miles (215 km)
Time: 7-10 days
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Surface: Beaches, Moorland, Sidewalk
The original John Muir Trail through the Sierra Nevada in California was opened in 1938. It was named in honor of environmentalist and naturalist John Muir, who was born in Dunbar in East Lothian, near Edinburgh, in 1838, then immigrated in 1849 with his parents to the United States, where he devoted his adult life to wilderness preservation. In 2014, to mark the centenary of Muir’s death, this commemorative trail was opened in his native Scotland.
The John Muir Way was designed to echo John Muir’s own life, linking Dunbar in East Lothian where he grew up, and Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute, his departure point for the United States.The trail was established in a remarkably short space of time-just three and a half years-and is designed to get people into the great outdoors, with around three million residents living close to the new walk/cycleway.
The coastal section of John Muir Way offers mostly easy walking over East Lothian’s varied and complex shores of white sand beaches, towering cliffs at St. Abbs Head with its views north over the Firth of Forth, weathered sandstone arches, and extensive dune systems, as well as woodlands, rivers, waterfalls, and the storm-battered remnants of a once-mighty castle above the port town of Dunbar, where you can also visit Muir’s birthplace at 126 High Street.
The John Muir Way can be walked in either direction, in easy daily segments with plenty of access to public transport. Lagoons, museums, grand old country homes, and myriad interconnecting paths and circular routes make this trail a path of exploration of which Muir would no doubt have been proud.