Backing for walk route extension

MSP Jamie Hepburn, right, with Keith Geddes of the Central Scotland Green Network Board
MSP Jamie Hepburn, right, with Keith Geddes of the Central Scotland Green Network Board

MOVES to extend a popular walking route that could attract thousands more visitors to Kilsyth and Croy have entered a critical stage.

Plans to enhance the John Muir Way, named after the Scot revered in America as the ‘Father of the National Parks’, were revealed in the summer.

The proposals would see the popular route improved and expanded to connect to other trails. At present, it stretches across central Scotland from Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar, to Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh.

Following an encouraging consultation, a technical and economic survey is now under way with a report due to go before the board of the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) early in 2012.

It is hoped the extended path will be formally opened in 2014, on the centenary of Muir’s death.

Keith Geddes, chairman of the CSGN partnership board, said: “We want to use the legacy of John Muir to inspire Scots to take opportunities for long and short distance walks along the route.

“The extended John Muir Way will be a boost to local Scots who want to explore the countryside and it will help attract more tourists to central Scotland from around the world.” Jamie Hepburn, MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, has given his support to the plans.

He said: “These proposals would place Kilsyth, Croy and surrounding areas at the heart of Scotland’s walkways, connecting the local area into the very rich network of walking routes that already exists.

“This would be good for the local economy too, as it can encourage tourism for the area.”