Did you know John Muir was a Scot, and it was here that he first fell in love with nature while exploring his home town of Dunbar in East Lothian as a child? If you fancy learning more and discovering the great outdoors that sparked the imagination of this world-renowned father of National Parks, you’ve certainly come to the right place.
With the countdown for the launch of the new John Muir Way (part of the wider nine day-long John Muir Festival celebrations, which open on 17 April with a remarkable night-time event on the theme of Scotland as HOME) well and truly underway, there’s a fun-packed programme of local events and activities being held across the route.
We’ve rounded up some of the best events to help you better plan your John Muir celebrations. Let us know in the comments below what your plans are, or even better – SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social platform of your choice.
What’s on along the John Muir Way
Drop in to John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar and a terminus of the route. Design and make your own flag, and join the ‘Carry a flag for John Muir’ event at various sections along the trail.
Additionally, the local Town House will host the In a Natural State exhibition by Scottish artist Emma Herman-Smith, John Muir’s inspiring writings will be presented by local writers at the West Barnes Inn at Belhaven Bay, while there’ll be a great range of themed guided tours looking into great local historic features including Preston Mill.
If you’re based in North Berwick, turn up to one of Professor Egghead’s interactive, family-friendly science shows in the Scottish Seabird Centre, or pedal a bike-powered projector with artist Karen Gabbitas in order to see a short nature film screening in the wonderful surroundings of North Berwick Law.
When exploring the East Lothian section of the John Muir Way with kids, drop in to Prestongrange Museum in Prestonpans or John Gray Centre in Haddington where the Easter bunny has left some eggs to find. Both museums are free to visit and are a great way to find out more about the area John Muir came from.
The nearby Pavilion at Musselburgh Racecourse will host an exhibition of photographs recounting the story of Musselburgh Links golf course (part of the John Muir Way), while at the Brunton Theatre screenings in the John Muir Film Festival include the fascinating John Muir – The Last Explorers film.
In Edinburgh, don’t miss more fascinating screenings. Pop in to The Filmhouse or the Water of Leith Centre for a great programme of films, talks and Q&A events focusing on themes of landscape and wild open spaces, celebrating Muir’s legacy of engagement with the natural world.
Further west along the route, in Bo’ness, learn about the old forgotten secrets of the area on a guided walk setting off from the Kinneil Museum, and find out what makes the Inner Forth one of the busiest places for migrating birds in the country from a RSPB guide. The imposing Kinneil House will also open its doors so grab this great chance and see inside this amazing estate packed with historical features and great flora and fauna.
Nature and craft activities in the great outdoors await the youngest explorers in Linlithgow and Falkirk. Enjoy free, family-friendly events celebrating John Muir’s legacy, including family treasure hunts and geocache taster events with experienced geo-cachers exploring the woodlands and trails south of Falkirk.
The University of Stirling’s macrobert Arts Centre is another venue participating in the celebrations. Watch the special screening of Michael Powell’s 1937 love story set on the remote island of Foula, and the film sessions focusing on the climate change’s impact by a renowned National Geographic photographer.
If you happen to be in the neighbourhood of Kirkintilloch near Kilsyth, pop in to William Patrick Library for special lantern-making workshops. It’s shaping up to be great fun for the whole family. You can then show off your lovely lanterns at the John Muir lantern procession to Peel Park, which boasts one of the best views in East Dunbartonshire – the Campsies.
Visitors and locals alike to Helensburgh and the surrounding area have a unique chance to spend an afternoon with a local archaeologist on a popular history and archaeology walk around the Hermitage Park. Or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, don your cowboy hat and put on a big beard for the ’John Muir meets Tom Weir’ walking event. Goukhill overlooking Loch Lomond is a truly dramatic location on the John Muir Way, so be sure not to miss it.
That’s just a taste of what’s coming up. For more events, dates and times, please visit the John Muir Way website.
Find out more about the John Muir Way.