John Muir has an impressive list of accolades to his name. Writer, explorer, inventor, botanist, geologist, glaciologist, farmer, and artist – he really was a remarkable man. He had a pretty impressive beard, too.
It all started in Scotland. He was born and raised here until the age of 10, before he emigrated stateside and became a leading scholar in the field of wilderness conservation. Thanks to years of dedicated geological research and studies, Muir quickly became known as the ‘father of national parks’. Come and be inspired by the places where he first fell in love with the natural world.
Celebrate John Muir Day in April
John Muir Day takes place on the 21 April each year to commemorate the great man’s birthday – 21 April 1838. In true Scottish style, a string of events typically occurs at a range of indoor and outdoor venues in Scotland and include art exhibitions inspired by our outstanding scenery and John Muir himself, outdoor experiences and offers, or maybe even a tasty feast to set you up for your celebratory adventures. Find out more and get involved at Discover John Muir.
*Please note that due to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions, no events for John Muir Day will be taking place in 2021.
Walk the John Muir Way
Lace up your boots – a remarkable long distance walking route awaits you. The John Muir Way is a popular walking venture for locals and walking enthusiasts from further afield alike and stretches 134 miles across central Scotland. Running from Helensburgh in the west to Dunbar on the east coast, the route encompasses an array of immaculate scenery, entwined with historic landscapes, fascinating places to see and lots more along the way.
It is no surprise that this route weaves past many spellbinding attractions. The glorious beaches of North Berwick on the east coast, historic Linlithgow Palace, and the ancient wonders of the Roman-built, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antonine Wall, to name just a few. As you head into Falkirk, Andy Scott’s magnificent Kelpies will give you a warm welcome, with plenty to explore and get involved in too.
Spend a day in Dunbar
The ‘father of modern conservation’ was born and raised in the scenic town of Dunbar in East Lothian. As a child, Muir discovered the beauty of the great outdoors in this pretty coastal area. Head to the John Muir Birthplace Museum in the town which shares the story of his life from inside his boyhood home.
With its ample seaside location, Dunbar has become a popular spot in recent years for surfers, with many flocking to Belhaven Bay to tackle the challenging waves. After an exciting morning of wave-riding, reward yourself with a lunchtime fish and chips by the town’s harbour, or peruse the local shops and cafes on the main street.
Explore Scotland’s National Parks
Speaking of conservation, why not discover all that Scotland’s two awe-inspiring National Parks have to offer?
In the Cairngorms National Park, unleash your inquisitive streak. Mighty and majestic, this huge expanse of mountains, moorland, forests, lochs, and rivers in the Highlands is the UK’s largest National Park and twice the size of the Lake District. It is packed full of historic sites such as fascinating 13th century island castle, Loch an Eilein, alongside 43 towering Munros.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park not only boasts one of our most famous lochs, it also encompasses the mighty Ben Lomond and the jagged peaks of the Arrochar Alps. Explore the park’s vast and varied landscape, with unforgettable views around every corner.
Looking for more information about this pioneering gentleman? Learn more about Mr Muir’s life and works at Discover John Muir.
Are you a budding environmentalist? Picture yourself as the next John Muir? Check out our landscape & nature pages for more information about Scotland’s fascinating geography, breath-taking natural features and much more.