Rest day in Dunbar
If you’re watching a quiz show and there is a question about conservation, national parks etc. and it starts “Who …” the answer will probably be John Muir. Born in 1838 here in Dunbar, he grew up in a strictly religious family. They emigrated to America when he was 10, originally intending to settle in Canada but, like so many others, they decided to go west, to Wisconsin. He was nearly blinded in an industrial accident and when his vision returned he decided to walk into a new life, to see nature and to write about it. His influence spread and he is now considered the father of the US National Parks, from which all others followed.
In very recent years the Scots have reclaimed John Muir and I spent an inspiring afternoon in his family home where his lifetime achievements and legacy are beautifully displayed.
In America the John Muir Trail runs through the wilderness from Yosemite to Mt Whitney and if you walk that one, you must be prepared to wrestle bears, tread on rattlesnakes, catch your own dinner etc. The John Muir Way in Scotland is a stroll even by British standards. It’s a shame they didn’t think to name the Southern Upland Way after him. All the same, it’s an interesting walk through the Scottish Lowlands, exploring the wonders of Scottish engineering, old and new. There’s also a rest day in Edinburgh coming up.
I’d like to think I would have emigrated to America in the 19th century. My ancestors thought about it, reached the port but then changed their mind. So I’m left behind feeling a little bit restless at times. That’s why I like to listen to the Pet Shop Boys singing Go West.