New ten-day festival to celebrate John Muir

John Muir
John Muir

A ten-day festival to celebrate John Muir, the conservationist and founding father of national parks, has been announced.

The John Muir Festival will take place from April 17-26 next year, and includes the official opening of the new John Muir Way, a new route stretching between Dunbar – Muir’s birthplace – and Helensburgh on the west coast.

UZ Arts – specialists in staging daring and thought-provoking outdoor art work that captures the public imagination – has been appointed to programme the week.

John Muir was born in Dunbar on April 21, 1838, where he spent his childhood exploring the East Lothian coast and countryside before departing to spend his adult life in America. An adventurer, botanist and explorer, he ranged across the continent recording the wildlife he encountered and the landscape he travelled across.

He is often called the Father of the National Parks in America and his birthday has been a day of celebration there since 2003.

Planning has already begun to ensure the festival has international appeal, community engagement and lasting benefit.

UZ Arts will be commissioning national and internationally renowned artists for an innovative programme designed not only to generate local community interest along the length of the trail, but to raise awareness of the new John Muir Way outside Scotland.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), in partnership with CreativeScotland and Homecoming Scotland, are supporting the festival.

Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: “Given it is the centennial year of his death, it is a fitting tribute that the John Muir Festival and opening of the John Muir Way will take place in 2014.”