Carnival as Dunbar goes mad for Muir

Dunbar: Alex Salmond opens the John Muir Way
Dunbar: Alex Salmond opens the John Muir Way

First Minister Alex Salmond was in Dunbar on Monday to officially open the new 134-mile coast-to-coast pathway, the John Muir Way.

The new John Muir Way boasts some of the most beautiful coastal scenery, sweeping landscapes, wildlife sites and historic visitor attractions across Scotland’s heartland.

Walkers, cyclists and horse riders can enjoy the rocky coasts of East Lothian where Muir played as a child, the dramatic Blackness Castle on the Forth, historic Linlithgow Palace, Roman hill forts on Antonine’s Wall, and the unique Falkirk Wheel boat lift, among other highlights.

Dunbar’s High Street was filled with street theatre, art and musical performers before the First Minister declared the John Muir Way open as a flare was sent up from a RNLI lifeboat.

Ramblers, runners and cyclists led flag-bearers along the first section of the John Muir Way to rally at the Seabird Centre in North Berwick. The street theatre and other performances continued, supported by a whole range of local community events.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “John Muir was a remarkable Scot - a man whose passion for nature and the outdoors left an incredible environmental legacy that resonates to this day.

“From humble beginnings in Dunbar, his influence spread across the world and his name now adorns parks, glaciers and mountains. His legacy is celebrated in an annual commemorative day in California and his image has featured on two US postage stamps.

“There is no more fitting tribute, in 2014 the 100th anniversary of his death and in our Year of Homecoming, than to officially open the John Muir Way from Helensburgh to Dunbar and take walkers and cyclists through 134 miles of splendid scenery in Scotland’s heartland.

“The route will encourage many thousands of people to get out into the outdoors, get some exercise and enjoy the iconic scenery of Muir’s country of birth. As well as the health benefits, the new John Muir Way is expected to help Scotland’s tourist industry and around £40 million in economic benefits are expected to be brought to the many communities that are connected along the route.”

The route will be way-marked with John Muir Way signs, and a website (, book, leaflets and map will give people all the information they need to complete all or part of the trail.

John Muir was born in Dunbar in 1838, before emigrating to the United States in 1849. He helped save the Yosemite Valley in California, and was co-founder of The Sierra Club – one of the most influential environmental organisations in the USA.