We've tried to provide the best of our knowledge about walking or cycling across the route so here's some other helpful information to help you plan your trip.
To keep comfortable, wear clothing that is windproof, waterproof, quick to dry and light to carry. Weather in Scotland is notoriously variable, e.g. with summer temperatures ranging from 12 to 25°C and above. A warm hat and gloves as well as a sun-hat and sunglasses may be useful. The terrain is only rugged in a few places, so lightweight boots or sturdy walking shoes will suffice in most conditions. Some sections of the route are likely to be wet and muddy in poor weather.
In addition to food, water, map, phone and a First Aid kit, you may wish to carry sunscreen, insect repellent (midges appear in the west from May!) and tick removers (check your skin after your walk). Unless you are camping, you shouldn't need to carry any heavy equipment. To lighten your load, you may wish to make use of baggage services between destinations.
If you want to wild camp along the route, it must be on unenclosed land away from residential housing. You should follow the advice on responsible camping, including the disposal of human waste, in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and this website. Campsites are listed in the accommodation section and on the map guide. If you are wild camping leave no litter and follow the responsible toileting guide, 'Where to "Go" in the Great Outdoors'.
Eats and Sleeps
You’re never far from shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodation to suit your tastes and needs. In most areas we’ve listed the relevant services, but for Edinburgh we’ve just provided links to the relevant web pages to let you choose! We’ve listed a range of facilities as well as covering lower budget accommodation to the more expensive hotels in our lists at the bottom of each section page or in the accommodation section..
Guiding Services and Baggage Transfer
If you'd like a knowledgeable companion and don't want to carry your load then the companies below offer baggage transfer and guiding. They'll do sections with you or the whole route.
Temperatures can range from an average maximum of 17°C in the Summer to 5°C in the Winter. However, Scotland is renowned for its changeable weather, often experiencing four seasons in one day, so it is best to prepare for every eventuality. The prevailing wind blows from west to east, so if you’d like it behind you for extra help, start in Helensburgh. We've included links to the Mountain Weather Information Service and the Met Office which provide some of the most reliable forecasts for walkers, as well as Visit Scotland’s guide to the Scotland’s weather and climate.
Public Transport on the John Muir Way
The key stations serving the John Muir Way are marked on each section of the map as points of interest. Between Falkirk and Dunbar, several conveniently located stations provide access either directly onto the route or within 1-3 miles of it. These can be used to reach sections of the route for day trips or to complete the route in sections. Further west, stations are fewer, but bus services help to fill the gaps. For example, Killearn can be reached by bus from Glasgow, Helensburgh and Balloch; Strathblane from Glasgow; Bonnybridge and Kilsyth from Falkirk and Glasgow; Bo’ness and Blackness from Falkirk, Linlithgow and Edinburgh. Traveline provides details of both train services and buses. Some trains can only carry limited number of bicycles so it is advisable to check availability of spaces and book bicycle tickets in advance. This is especially relevant when traveling from Dunbar.
There are 76 (or so) public toilets along the route and we've mentioned them in each section description. Bear in mind they sometimes have seasonal opening times and may be located within other facilities. Many local authorities now operate a 'comfort partnership scheme'. But if you are 'caught short' follow the responsible toileting advice in the leaflet below.
John Muir Way Geocaching
Scottish Natural Heritage and Locus Focus have installed four geocaches at sites along the John Muir Way between Strathblane and Milton of Campsie. Each cache links to John Muir and has a local reference. To find out more go to https://www.geocaching.com/. If you are not already registered you can create an account which will enable you to join in and enjoy the discovery.
Massage Treats for Body and Feet
Why not treat yourself along the way? You've had a great day walking, running or cycling along the way (or maybe even Stand Up Paddleboarding along the canal), but now your feet are just a tiny bit sore and your limbs are just a little tired and you feel your body just needs to Relax, Restore and Repair - but just for a wee while, just to get you going again - maybe today, maybe tomorrow. Massage therapy might just be what is needed! Massage Therapy can help to alleviate tension, reduce muscle spasm and increase mobility. Importantly, it feels good after a long walk. Just a short detour off the Way brings you into Dullatur (Section 4) where you can give your body and feet a treat at Massage Therapy Scotland’s Dullatur clinic.
The Story of the John Muir Way
In 2010, the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) agreed to create a new long distance route named after John Muir. This was the vision of its Chairman Keith Geddes, who proposed extending the original John Muir Way in East Lothian westwards across Central Scotland. The route was planned for completion in 2014 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of John Muir’s death, Homecoming Scotland and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. SNH led the work with assistance from the 9 local authorities, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, and other key bodies. The route symbolically links Dunbar (John Muir’s Birthplace) with Scotland’s first national park (Loch Lomond and the Trossachs) and with Helensburgh in the west, forming a coast to coast route. It provides an accessible and varied route, linking together the finest landscapes, countryside and places of interest, for anyone to use. The route links together core paths, other promoted routes, trails and cycleways, including the original John Muir Way in East Lothian. It can be cycled from end to end, and there are some opportunities for horse-riding. Its development will encourage many people to become more active, through doing the route either as a single journey, or in stages or sampled by day trips, improving their health, wellbeing and enjoyment of nature, and raising their awareness of John Muir whilst giving local economies a boost through visitor spend. This is one of CSGN's flagship projects demonstrating what can be achieved by effective partnership working.
Please Give us Your Feedback
This route is brand new and we’re keen to hear about your experiences. Please let us know of any difficulties you had, eg. with path surface, gates, obstructions, signposts and way-marking and, more importantly, what you enjoyed about it! Opinions about this website are also helpful so please contact us with your views. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org