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John Muir Way: building up to the launch


I spent much of 2013 hiking and cycling the John Muir Way for three reasons: we are publishing the official map for Scottish Natural Heritage, we are publishing the guidebook as a Rucksack Reader and, third, I love long-distance routes. I needed to get away from the domestic pressures of downsizing, domestic tasks linked with selling our house and (finally, in November) the actual move. In short, the John Muir Way kept me sane.

It was a much bigger task than the simplified map above suggests: the route is for cyclists as much as for walkers, and has many alternative options to suit different users. The coast-to-coast distance is generally quoted as 134 miles, but I did at least 200 miles, mainly on foot, in the course of researching and photographing the route, completing every option and returning to some form of transport. For the full detail, zoomable to the utmost, look instead at our route map. My coauthor Sandra Bardwell was a pillar of strength in the tasks of writing and editing, but for logistic reasons researching the route fell to me.

So I'm hugely looking forward to spending Monday in Dunbar where the route is being launched by the First Minister. It's great that Muir and his legacy are finally being recognised. It isn't often that a long-distance route gets on the BBC website and last night there was a full 2.5 minutes of prime time TV on Reporting Scotland (item begins after 14 minutes). I was pleased that Keith Geddes stressed the fact that 3 million Scots live close to the route and can enjoy the wilderness on their doorstep.

I was also delighted that Linlithgow featured so strongly in the BBC's video footage (as it does in the CSGN promotional video). In our guidebook we recommend the original route through royal Linlithgow, past its magnificent palace and lovely loch. Sadly, as a result of a last-minute daft change, the route now officially bypasses the town centre! Most people are hoping this poor decision will soon be reversed. However, it's too late for the waymarkers, which already are on the ground.

This controversy was aired recently in the Linlithgow Gazette. In general, there has been loads of positive coverage, with USA Today picking up on the John Muir Festival (April 17-26), and today's Independent mentioning the launch. There's also been plenty of activity on the John Muir Way Facebook page. Monday should be a memorable day, especially If today's glorious sunshine persists.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 18, 2014 10:51 AM.

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