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John Muir Way

Balloch CastleThe John Muir Way runs across Scotland for 134 miles (215km) from Helensburgh on the Clyde to Dunbar on the North Sea. The route is fully waymarked and designed as much to suit cyclists as walkers. It will appeal not only to those planning a single coast-to-coast expedition but also to people tackling it in sections, made easy by good public transport across central Scotland. The route offers a wealth of fine scenery, peaceful canal towpaths, Roman remains and welcoming pubs and bed and breakfast locations.

Linlithgow PalaceThe John Muir Way includes some surprisingly remote stretches despite its route through populous central Scotland. Starting from the domestic architecture of Helensburgh, it passes through Scotland’s first National Park (Loch Lomond and the Trossachs), along the historic canals of central Scotland, past the engineering wonder of the Falkirk Wheel, the Roman Antonine Wall, Linlithgow Palace, the Forth Bridges, through Edinburgh’s capital attractions to the coastal expanses of East Lothian, ending at John Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar.

Although the route can be walked at any time of the year, for a continuous coast to coast journey the summer months are to be preferred due to the longer days and more settled weather. If you plan on walking about 15 miles per day the route will take you about ten days to complete. The John Muir Way uses a mixture of footpaths, cycleways and towpaths and some minor roads. In places there are separate routes for walkers and cyclists, but the clear waymarking makes navigation straightforward. Nevertheless we would strongly recommend purchasing the guide book for the practical information and route descriptions it provides.

The ten day stages recommended by the guidebook are:
Helensburgh to Balloch
Balloch to Strathblane
Strathblane to Kilsyth area
Kilsyth area to Falkirk
Falkirk to Linlithgow
Linlithgow to South Queensferry
South Queensferry to Edinburgh (Meadows)
Edinburgh to Prestonpans
Prestonpans to North Berwick
North Berwick to Dunbar


Image Attributions
Balloch Castle/Fingalo / CC-BY-SA-2.0-de
Linthingow Palace/Alex Sanz / CC-BY-SA-3.0


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Start: Helensburgh

Grid Ref: NS 296822

End: Dunbar

Grid Ref: NT 678789

Distance: 215km

Walking Time: 10 days

Counties Traversed
West Lothian
East Lothian

Explorer™ Maps
347; 348; 349; 350; 351

John Muir Way Guidebook

To purchase the guidebookd from our bookshop please click the image above