Upland section of John Muir Way now open


A new upland circular route which links to the John Muir Way at the Kilpatrick Hills has now been officially opened.

The 10km route on the National Forest Estate aims to increase the number of visitors to the popular John Muir Way which stretches 134 miles between Helensburgh and Dunbar.

The new section offers walkers and cyclists a wilder experience taking them from the Edenmill farm shop then around the Burncrooks Reservoir and back.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the views over the expansive hill ranges overseeing Dumbarton and Clydebank.

The £500,000 route was funded by Forestry Commission Scotland, sportScotland and Scottish Natural Heritage and is part of the Central Scotland Green Network project.  

Speaking at the official opening, Alan Stevenson, Head of Communities, Recreation and Tourism at Forest Enterprise Scotland said:

“This a great section of the John Muir Way giving amazing views, a sense of space, rugged beauty and wildlife.

“If you want to get away from it all, recharge the batteries and enjoy a more challenging route then this is a must do.”

The new section provides an alternative route to the Balloch to Carbeth section of the John Muir Way which makes use of the West Highland Way and runs along a public road and path. Walkers can still follow the route out to Balloch if they wish – the loop around the reservoir is an option for people who don’t wish to do the full walk. 

During the construction of the new route a helicopter was used to airlift three bridges, bags of aggregate, concrete and cement to create the path.

Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network added:

“The completion of this new route is another important milestone in the on-going development of the John Muir Way. The coast to coast route provides a valuable insight into the diverse landscapes and heritage of Central Scotland and this additional section will help to make the route more accessible so locals and visitors can follow the example of John Muir himself.”

Iain Rennick, SNH’s Forth unit manager, said: 

“With this new section, people now have the option to journey through the Kilpatrick Hills and enjoy a great upland experience within Central Scotland, while the low-level route, which uses some of the West Highland Way, is still available as an easier option.

“The John Muir Way is an easy and enjoyable way for the 3 million people who live in the Central Belt to enjoy the outdoors every day by foot, bicycle, and even by horseback in some places. Walking some or all of the Way is a great way to reduce stress and spend time with your family and friends.”

Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland said: 

“Walking and cycling are two fantastic ways to combine physical activity with getting out and enjoying Scotland’s stunning landscape and, as an avid walker myself, I know of the huge range of benefits regular participation brings. 

“As an organisation, sportscotland is committed to working with our partners to develop more and better ways for people to make sport and physical activity a part of their lives and this project does just that.  That’s why we were delighted to invest £200,000 from the Active Places Fund and the Sports Facility Fund in this great initiative.

“This new section of the John Muir Way will provide greater access for those looking for a challenge and I am sure it will be well used for many years to come.”

The John Muir Way was completed in 2014, and boasts some of the most beautiful coastal scenery, sweeping landscapes, wildlife sites and historic visitor attractions across Scotland’s heartland. The route is way-marked with John Muir Way signs, and a website johnmuirway.org, book, leaflets and map gives information on completing all or part of the trail.

The new path extension will deliver on the Scottish Government’s aspirations as part of the Central Scotland Green Network action plan, part of a 40 year initiative with a remit to change the face of Central Scotland. 

The Kilpatrick Hills is one of the Commonwealth Woods, a legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games for generations of people to enjoy and has received financial support through Legacy 2014: Active Places.

Notes to editors

  1. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6508 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.