John Muir Way
Total distance covered; 80 miles (128kms)
7 days walking based in Falkirk
The John Muir Way is a 134 miles (215km) from Helensburgh on the west coast of mainland Scotland, to Dunbar, the birthplace of conservationist and 'Father of the American National Parks', John Muir.
It follows a varied and scenic route through the Central Lowlands belt bypassing Glasgow to the south and skirting Edinburgh and Arthur's Seat, before following the banks of the Firth of Forth to reach the North Sea Coast. Of course the term 'Lowlands' should not be misinterpreted as flat; the route climbs Gouk Hill, passes through the Kilpatrick Hills and skirts the Campsie Fells, all of which are undulating, wild and give a great sense of remoteness. Further east the route follows some stretches of The Antonine Wall, the Roman's northernmost fortification which stretches from the Forth of Clyde to the Firth of Forth, and enjoys sections of the towpath beside the historic Clyde and Forth Canal which, in its hey-day provided a coast to coast route for sea-going vessels serving the industrial heartland of Scotland. The canal now caters primarily for leisure craft.
We shall be offering the John Muir Way over two years, giving guests the opportunity to complete the route in manageable stages. The walk scheduled for 2020 covers the western section from the pier in the bustling seaside town of Helensburgh, to Queensferry and the iconic Forth Bridge. In 2021 we will be offering the eastern section from Queensferry to Dunbar. Even if you have no wish to complete the whole route either section is a great walk in its own right.
You can read more about the John Muir Way and its background on the route's official website.
Highlights of the 80 mile (128km) western section of the john Muir Way from Helensburgh to Queensferry, include the views of Loch Lomond from the summit of Gouk Hill, and on the descent to Balloch at the foot of the loch; the views of The Whangie and Auchineden Hill from above Burncrooks Reservoir; the ruins of Bar Hill Roman fort; the views of the Campsie Fells from the Antonine Wall as it crosses Croy Hill; the Falkirk Wheel, an impressive feat of modern engineering with very pleasing lines; The Kelpies, massive enquine sculptures built entirely from steel; Callendar House with its French chateau facade; the crossing of the Avon Aqueduct, Scotland's tallest, with its views down onto the River Avon and across the surrounding countryside; and the views of the iconic Forth Bridge on the approach to Queensferry - the end of the walk.
Day 1: Helensburgh to Balloch 9 miles (15kms)
Day 2: Balloch to Garve Bridge 14 miles (22kms)
Day 3: Garve Bridge to Kirkintilloch 13 miles (21kms)
Day 4: Kirkintilloch to Bonnybridge 13 miles (21kms)
Day 5: Bonnybridge to Falkirk 6 miles (10kms)
Day 6: Falkirk to Bo'ness Pier 13 miles (21kms)
Day 7: Bo'ness Pier to Queensferry 11 miles (18kms)
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