John Muir Way 10 days walking and 11 overnights

West Highland Way – 9 Days Walking/10 Overnights

The John Muir Way does not have a great deal of height variation, nevertheless, it should only be tackled if you undertake some advanced training with well-worn in boots and this itinerary allows you a more leisurely walk meaning that the longest day you will trek is 15 miles/24 km. This is an ideal option if you want to take an easy pace and soak up the scenery.

Day 1

Travel to Helensburgh With good public transport links, you arrive into the coastal town of Helensburgh ready to start your trek on the Way. If you arrive after lunch we recommend a visit to the National Trust for Scotland’s Hill House and enjoy some arts and crafts splendour.

Day 2

Helensburgh to Balloch9 miles/15 km The start of the route is marked by a seat made from Scottish oak and a circular stone plinth with engraved footprints and a John Muir quote. Take time out to look seawards and imagine sailing off to America from those waters like John Muir did well over a century ago before you set off up the hill on your trip. As you gain height towards Gouk Hill look back for stunning views of the Clyde and then Loch Lomond. Then the Way winds its way down to Balloch on the shores of the Loch.

Day 3

Balloch to Strathblane18.5 miles/29.75 km From Balloch Castle Country Park the Way passes through lush pastures and rolling Kilpatrick hills. The Way passes Burncrooks Reservoir with beautiful vistas on all sides. If this day is too long we can add a stop half way – though the route would be the cycle stage which passes Dumgoyne Distillery.

Day 4

Strathblane to Kilsyth
13 miles/21 km
Today takes you along old railway routes through working towns and towards Kirkintilloch where you join the Forth & Clyde Canal for a short while before heading up Bar Hill and the sight of a Roman Fort. As you leave the hill you will pass a Neolithic settlement before heading down to the canal again.

Day 5

Kilsyth to Falkirk

13 miles/21 km

Today takes you to another Antonine Wall fort before you join the Forth & Clyde Canal, Scotland’s oldest canal. From Bonnybridge you take the ‘Radical Pend’ towards Roughcastle then you drop down to the amazing Falkirk Wheel before reaching the stage end. It is well worth planning a short taxi run to see the Kelpies in Falkirk.

Day 6

Falkirk to Linlithgow8.5 miles/14 km A short day which will give you time to enjoy Callendar House in Falkirk and admire the landmarks on your route. Also as the Way skirts Linlithgow there is a 1.5 mile/2.5 km into the town for your accommodation.

Day 7

Linlithgow to South Queensferry14 miles/23 km Leaving Linlithgow you travel through some wonderfully rural countryside. The Fisherrow walk gives you superb views and was used by wives of fishermen travelling between Bo’ness and Linlithgow to sell their catches. Today’s walk is cram packed with places to visit from Kinneil House and the Steam Railway Museum in Bo’ness. Then Blackness Castle to Hopetoun House before reaching the southern end of the Forth’s road and rail bridges at South Queensferry.

Day 8

South Queensferry to Edinburgh15.5 miles/25 km As you leave South Queensferry enjoy the superb views of both of Scotland’s famous Forth bridges; be sure to get out at sunset (or dawn if you’re keen) to capture them at their best. You can also see the new road bridge due to open in 2016. Soon you will pass through Dalmeny estate. If you’ve time, why not visit the largest Napoleonic collection outside France in Dalmeny House before turning inland at Cramond and then on to the delights of Edinburgh. We highly recommend that you follow the alternative route in Edinburgh as given by Rucksack Readers – this will be supplied with your tour pack

Day 9

Edinburgh to Port Seaton11.5 miles/18.50 km You depart Scotland’s Capital towards Musselburgh Racecourse and the world’s oldest golf course. Soon you join the coast and its wading wildlife. Much of the shore is designated for its visiting birds, which flock on its sandy beaches and shores to pick up worms, shells or crustaceans amongst the tides. As you pass through Prestonpans look out for the fabulous murals. Prestonpans is the official stage end and there is no accommodation at this point. However, Port Seaton is only a further 1.5 miles/2.5 km this is ideal as it takes 1.5 miles of the longer stage tomorrow.

Day 10

Port Seaton to North Berwick15 miles/24 km As you leave Port Seaton head east to Seton Sands and long beach views. Soon you will see Gosford House on your right. The house is open on occasion and worth a visit. After Aberlady you will soon reach the comfortable golfing town of Gullane. Then onto Dirleton Castle with its tranquil wooded grounds before heading north to Yellowcraig Beach and North Berwick.

Day

11

North Berwick to Dunbar15 miles/24 km As you leave North Berwick you will have an opportunity to climb Berwick Law, which gives you great views both east and west of the town, to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and Tantallon Castle south of Dunbar. It has always sported whale jawbones and when the last ones decayed, fibre-glass replicas were installed. Then onto East Linton and the National Trust for Scotland attractions of the Phantassie Doocot and Preston Mill are well worth a look. The cafe serves up good lunches to fortify you for the final leg of the journey. You now follow the Tyne for a while, until the Way takes you onward to the coast and beaches of John Muir Country Park, before reaching Dunbar. Head for John Muir’s Birthplace Museum as this marks the finish of the route. Remember to sign the visitors book and ask for a completion certificate.

Day

12

Depart Dunbar For onward travel

Extra nights and/or rest days. If you are new to Scotland’s we would highly recommend extra days for visiting Glasgow, the Forth Valley and Edinburgh. We can quote for extra days and suggest itineraries for you to enjoy.

Price of Package: £775.00 pp (based on two persons sharing)

 

This package includes:

+ Eleven overnight stays in specially selected quality b&bs/guest houses/small hotels with en-suite facilities

+ Full Scottish breakfast

+ Baggage transfer from stage to stage

+ John Muir Way Rucksack Guide, Map & Edinburgh alternative map

+ Comprehensive tour pack with full information on your walk including location details for your accommodations and local facilities

+ The services of the Gemini Team prior to and during your holiday

 

Not Included:

–  Evening meals, packed lunches and drinks (available at all stages)

–  Transport to Helensburgh/from Dunbar

–  Travel Insurance (we recommend that you arrange your own cover)

 

Notes:

Additional overnight stays can be arranged at a cost of £45.00 pp per night – £55 per night for Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Discounts available for groups of 4 or more. Please ask at time of booking.

Please note that for solo walkers, there will be a single supplement of £25.00 per night.

 

Please feel free to contact Julie or Steve at info@geminiwalks.com or call us for an informal chat on 01324 410260 (overseas +44 1324 410260) about your trek on the John Muir Way. Sláinte.

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