Sunday, 16 March 2014

The old ways - addendum

The other day I noticed on my commute to work that new waymarkers had appeared along the stretch of the Water of Leith path that I cycle along every day. They signify that this is now part of the new John Muir Way. A Scottish-American naturalist of the nineteenth century, John Muir is credited with coming up with the concept of national parks and wilderness preservation. When it opens this year, the long distance footpath named in his honour, will link his birthplace in Dunbar to the west coast at Helensburgh, from where his family sailed to America. The section of the Three Lochs Way that I walked with Graham and Andrew between Helensburgh and Balloch will become part of that link.

In recent times, it seems like dozens of these new long distance footpaths have opened up all over the country. In my younger days, I might have poo-pooed the idea of waymarked trails but now, with greater maturity and insight, I absolutely love the idea. These long distance paths and tracks criss-cross the country, sometimes in wild areas and sometimes in very urban areas. They link people and places by boot and bike, and often bring back into use ancient, once-forgotten routes. 

The old ways are becoming the new ways.

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