Saturday, June 24, 2006

John Muir

The other day I decided that I was going to have some "me" time to do what I wanted to do. Having said that there was a time limit coz I still had to be back to collect the boys from school, but even so I still managed a few enjoyable hours to myself, that didn't involve any knitting, (how did that happen!!!!!). Ok what to do? I decided to go somewhere and do something I had never done/been before. The weather wasn't brilliant on Wednesday, but at least the wind was keeping the rain at bay for long periods of time and the sun was shining too. Over a cup of coffee with hubby at his place of work I decided to go off down the coast to Dunbar and visit John Muir's birthplace.

This is the house in Dunbar High Street where John Muir lived as a child, before emigrating to America at the age of 11 years. He was born in Dunbar on 21st April 1838 and died on 28th December 1914 in Los Angeles, USA.

This is a statue of John Muir as a child and can be found in Dunbar High Street, just outside The Dunbar Town House Museum.

John Muir (1838-1914) is the founder of the modern world conservation movement. Two hundred sites in the USA are named after him, including Muir Woods, Muir Beach, Muir Glacier and the John Muir Trail through the High Sierra.

Born in the fishing port of Dunbar, in East Lothian, Scotland, he developed an early awareness of the value of wild nature. At the age of eleven, he emigrated with his family to the wilds of Wisconsin in the American mid-west, where he spent his teenage years. Arriving in California at the age of 30, he achieved fame as a botanist, geologist and glaciologist, and pioneered what is now known as ecology. During his explorations of the High Sierra and Alaska (1870 - 1890), Muir became aware of the threats to such wild places, and was the first to clearly call for their conservation. He led the campaign for the protection of Yosemite, and deeply influenced Presidents Roosevelt and Wilson in designating over 50 areas and 200 national monuments. In order to campaign for wild places, Muir helped set up the Sierra Club which today is one of the leading environmental campaigning organisations in the world.

In and around Dunbar you not only find John's birth place, but also the John Muir Country Park and the John Muir Way which runs along 18Km of the coast from Fisherrow Harbour (about 5 mins walk from my house) in Musselburgh to Aberlady and then again for a further 16Km from Dunbar to Dunglass on the Scottish Border with England.

After my visit to John Muir's birth place I decided to walk some of the John Muir Way. I only did a small part of the bit from Dunbar to Dunglass. (See Windy Walk)


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