John Muir Day

Tuesday, April 21 is John Muir Day, and to mark this date the Scottish Natural Heritage are running events along the John Muir Way

The Scots-American author, naturalist and advocate of wilderness preservation, John Muir, was born on April 21, 1838, and left a legacy that still inspires today.

His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature have earned him the accolade of “Father of the National Parks” in America, and in 1983, the John Muir Trust was set up in the UK to preserve and look after some of the our finest wild landscapes.

The conservation charity owns and cares for Ben Nevis, Schiehallion, Sandwood Bay, Quinag in Assynt, part of the Cuillin on Skye and 3,000 acres on the remote Knoydart peninsula.

We have a great deal to celebrate after the successful first year of the John Muir Way

Last year, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, launched the John Muir Way, a coast-to-coast path from Helensburgh to Dunbar set up by Scottish Natural Heritage. The route, lined with purple way markers, celebrates its first anniversary on Tuesday, and the Kelpies kicked of the celebrations by being lit up in purple to match.

“We have a great deal to celebrate after the successful first year of the John Muir Way,” Ian Ross, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) chairman, said, “The route is an easy and enjoyable way for the 3 million people who live in the Central Belt to enjoy the outdoors every day by foot, bicycle, and even by horseback in some places”

Walkers or cyclists can journey from the Charles Rennie Mackintosh architecture of Helensburgh through the scenic grandeur of Loch Lomond, along two famous canals and past the amazing Falkirk Wheel . The route continues alongside the Antonine Wall, passing Linlithgow Palace, Blackness Castle and the Forth Bridges, before finishing on the wide coast of East Lothian, at John Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar.

The first anniversary events hope to inspire people to get outdoors in 2015

The events include concerts, family-friendly activities and the opening of privates gardens all this week.

American band, Chance, are touring Scotland with a narrative concert performance, John Muir – The University of Wilderness, which combines readings from Muir’s essays with a blend of contemporary, classical, and Celtic music. Tour dates can be found here.

A Badger Watch, in Muiravonside Country Park encourages youngsters to get more involved with nature, while the Friends of Corstorphine Hill are opening the Tower to the public on April 25 for incredible views across Edinburgh.

“Why not let all the first anniversary events inspire you to get outdoors and get fit in 2015?” says Ian, “It’s a wonderful way to get healthy and spend some time with your family and friends.”

Maps and guidebooks of the John Muir Way can be found here, and for more celebration events near you, click here.