Saturday 21st April would have been Muir’s 180th birthday and also marks the fourth anniversary of the opening of the John Muir Way, one of Scotland’s Great Trails which stretches 134 miles across central Scotland. Running from Dunbar to Helensburgh, the John Muir Way was launched to commemorate the man who was known as the ‘Father of the National Parks’ in America.
The Way can be enjoyed on foot or by bike and John Muir Day provides the perfect opportunity to follow in Muir’s footsteps passing through countryside, coastal towns, cities and villages. The route is suitable for all ages and abilities and can be enjoyed in short loops, day trips or by completing the route in sections.
A host of activities have also been arranged across Scotland to mark John Muir Day including a ‘Paddle Pickup’ on the John Muir Way. Organised by Sustrans and led by Scottish Canals and Scottish Waterways Trust, the water based litter pick up on the Union Canal in Edinburgh will be held on Friday 20 April.
Young people can apply to take part through the Young Scot Active Rewards programme which is encouraging young people to be more active more often in the outdoors during the 2018 Year of Young People. For further information please visit https://rewards.youngscot.org/rewards/1520-apply-join-in-the-paddle-pick-up-active
As part of Young Scot’s partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, cardholders can also celebrate with £1 entry to many of the historic sites along the John Muir Way including; Tantallon Castle, Dirleton Castle, Seton Collegiate Church, Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Place.
Those looking to get out and explore Scotland’s woodlands and shorelines are invited to join the Friends of Kinneil on their annual trek from the historic Kinneil House and Museum to Blackness Castle on Saturday 21 April. The walk will take in the historic Carriden Church and places can be booked online at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/walk-the-way-kinneil-to-blackness-and-back-tickets-44159387918.
Kinneil House will also hold an open day with costumed interpreters and entertainers on Sunday April 22 from 12 noon to 4pm.
Those hoping to capture the moment are in luck as Historic Environment Scotland is holding a wildlife photography for beginners class on the Saturday (21 April). The event from 4.30pm to 6.30pm must be booked in advance by calling 0131 652 8150 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to help increase habitats for pollinators, Balgreen Community Garden is holding a spring clean and planting event on Thursday 19 April, 10.30am to 1pm. The garden forms part of the John Muir Pollinator Way project, aiming to create hundreds of mini-wildflower meadows that provide shelter and forage along the route for pollinating insects. Those interested can contact email@example.com or 0131 455 7367.
John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar is also celebrating Muir with an exhibition titled ‘Kindred Souls.’ The event, which is currently running, showcases the work of Muir’s close friend, William Keith, a respected Californian landscape painter. The John Muir Birthplace Trust can be found at www.jmbt.org.uk, on Facebook and Twitter.
Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT), is proud that John Muir is being recognised through these initiatives.
He said: “We are proud that the John Muir Way is helping to interest more people in the life and legacy of John Muir. It is also encouraging to see his work inspiring people – both young and old - to think about conservation and how they can make their own individual or collective contribution to improving the environment while getting closer to nature. There’s a great line-up of activities for all the family and we hope everyone enjoys celebrating the special day.”
Rob Bushby of the John Muir Trust helps to co-ordinate UK-wide John Muir Day celebrations, and commented: “Every year, more people are taking the opportunity to explore and share Muir’s ethos, stories and adventures in their studies, work and leisure time. The John Muir Way, along with National Parks, charities and community groups, have some fantastic events, resources and activities lined up from 14th to 22nd April to celebrate John Muir’s 180th birthday.”
The full list of events that can be enjoyed as part of a walk or cycle along the John Muir Way also includes art exhibitions and talks, 2 for 1 offers at cafes, bike and Segway hire deals, £1 entry to historic sites for young people and educational tours.
For further information about the events and the John Muir Way, please visit www.johnmuirway.org/getinvolved – a dedicated website on the 134 mile route with key information to help people plan their trip.
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