The First Minister, Alex Salmond opened the John Muir Way on Easter Monday, 21 April 2014. Walkers, cyclists and horse riders now have the chance to enjoy the scenic route from Dunbar to Helensburgh.
The 134 mile path can be walked or cycled in 7 to 10 days. It passes through Scotland’s central belt and close to numerous attractions like Blackness Castle on the Forth, Linlithgow Palace, Roman hill forts on Antonine's Wall and the Falkirk Wheel.
More than 195,000 people are expected to take this challenge over the next five years. Local communities are likely to benefit from the increased tourism and the creation of new jobs. According to the Minister the John Muir Way is expected to generate more than £40m for local communities.
Mr Salmond said: “John Muir was a remarkable Scot – a man whose passion for nature and the outdoors left an incredible environmental legacy.
“From humble beginnings in Dunbar, his influence spread across the world and his name now adorns parks, glaciers and mountains.”
Mike Cantlay, the chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The route takes visitors on a journey to areas they may have never experienced before, opening up the countryside for people to explore tranquil nature reserves, medieval castles, Roman ruins, hidden rivers and much more.”
Ian Ross, chairman of route developers Scottish Natural Heritage, said: "The route is an easy and enjoyable way for the three million people who live in the central belt to enjoy the outdoors every day by foot, bicycle, and even by horseback in some places."
On the day, creator of the concept of the route ‘From Birthplace to National Park’ Keith Geddes said: “Things could not have gone better, the sun and the crowds came out and the First Minister gave the new route a great send off. Both the Herald and the Scotsman have welcomed the new route in their editorial columns saying that the route was “A fitting tribute to Muir at last” and a great way to boost the economy. Let’s hope more and more Scots learn about Muir and are inspired by the relevance that his work still has today.”
You can view the John Muir Way promotional video here.