Growth in John Muir Award activity on the John Muir Way
Popular central Scotland walking trail attracts even more John Muir Award participants
During 2016, the John Muir Trust has supported more people to engage with the John Muir Way through its main engagement initiative the John Muir Award. The John Muir Way is a coast-to-coast walking route stretching 134 miles across Central Scotland.
John Muir Awards were completed by 555 participants who visited the John Muir Way as part of their Award this year. Of these Awards, 28% were achieved by people experiencing some form of disadvantage.
These Awards were achieved in partnership with 31 organisations from across ten Local Authorities and one national park. They include primary and secondary schools, youth, community and conservation organisations and scout groups, as well as individuals and families.
Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust and the inspiration behind the route, said: “The John Muir Way was created to honour the Scots-born environmentalist in his homeland by developing a long-distance route where people from Scotland and further afield could explore wild places, connect with nature and develop an appreciation and respect for the environment. From Helensburgh to Dunbar, the route offers a variety of landscapes and wildlife for people to experience and appreciate, and it’s fantastic to see so many Award participants visiting.”
The year has seen an increase in the range of different Award activities taking place on the John Muir Way – from school pupils getting to know local wild places, to community champions receiving training on how Muir-related initiatives can encourage diverse communities to access, experience and enjoy the outdoors.
Getting active, meeting people, exploring new places and finding out about local history have all been motivations to visit the John Muir Way. From technology to arts, science to storytelling, the Way has inspired activities to help engage with the outdoors.
Some Award participants even met ‘John Muir’ himself on the John Muir Way. John Muir impersonator and lookalike Lee Stetson joined young people from Haldane Youth Services during a visit to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, spending time sharing stories of John Muir’s boyhood adventures in Dunbar.
Lucy Sparks, John Muir Award Scotland Project Manager said: “The John Muir Trust encourages a wide range of people across Scotland and beyond to experience and enjoy the outdoors through Muir-related initiatives. Both the John Muir Award and the John Muir Way provide good opportunities to engage more people in enjoying wild places, helping to build interest in John Muir’s story, ethos, legacy and the relevance of his messages today.”
Photograph taken by Toby Clark.