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John Muir Way is launched in Dunbar

Today's launch of the John Muir Way was a happy affair, with large crowds out to celebrate the launch of the route. After a hesitant start, the sun shone on this wonderful launch. It started at 12.30 near the North Sea shore, with lots of flags and mysterious costumes and eventually the First Minister's ceremonial unveiling of signs. Here is the grassy slope above The Bathe:

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There was a motley crew of John Muir lookalikes:

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Together with the dancers, flag-carriers musicians and stilt-walker, they, and the thousands of spectators, made their way to Muir's Birthplace in the High Street.

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Outside the Birthplace (which had been mobbed all day with visitors), the speeches followed.

Speeches on such occasions tend to be dominated by public thankyous: East Lothian's Provost, Ludovic Broun-Lindsay, thanked all the people who had contributed, including Scottish Natural Heritage, then the Chief Executive of SNH thanked East Lothian and all the others who had already been thanked. This gets rather repetitive, but the audience was polite and remained positive.

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Keith Geddes, Chair of Central Scotland Green Network and father of the Way, reflected on his own lack of awareness of the Muir legacy until his visit to Yosemite in 1975. Although Muir has long been famous in North America, he pointed out that it was in and around Dunbar that young John Muir first discovered Nature, not in the US. And his writings are if anything even more relevant today than when he first penned them.

This was all the buildup to the First Minister, who was amiable with small children, comfortable with the John Muir lookalikes and willing to joke with the crowd. He also mentioned the expectation that the route will create 1000 jobs over the next five years. Above all, he was audible, articulate and commendably brief.

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Nobody, not even Alex Salmond, tried to turn the event into a political football. Scottish Television were there, and their report this evening captured part of the atmosphere. But it was better if you could be there. I was delighted to be part of it. Because of researching the guidebook, it has been my main professional obsession of the last nine months, so today gave a sense of closure.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 21, 2014 5:03 PM.

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