COSLA’s Annual Conference on 17 February provided an opportunity for the CSGN Partnership Board Chair, Keith Geddes, to flag the benefits of the CSGN to Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, and councillors and officials from a number of councils along the proposed route including East Lothian/ Midlothian/ City of Edinburgh/West Lothian/ Falkirk/North Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire. An early ambition for the CSGN is to develop the John Muir Way across central Scotland in time for 2014, both the Year of Homecoming and the centenary of Muir’s death.
Scottish Natural Heritage is developing proposals to extend the existing John Muir Way which currently runs from Dunbar to Fisherrow in Musselburgh through to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park - Scotland’s first national park - and over to Helensburgh. Studies have shown that such a route would prove attractive not only to native Scots but to many abroad, not only in the United States where Muir’s name resonates loudly but around the globe. Economic benefit studies have shown that with appropriate marketing some 700 jobs could be created over the first five years of the route’s existence with an estimated extra 9,000 end to end walkers in the first year.
Keith also briefed Cllr Pat Watters, President of COSLA (pictured above) and Vice President, Cllr Rob Murray from Angus, who is is a member of the John Muir Trust, about the proposal.