The John Muir Way is a long distance route for walkers or cyclists that runs for 134 miles or 215km across Scotland, from Helensburgh on the Clyde Estuary, to Dunbar on the North Sea. The route is fully waymarked throughout, and can be tackled either as a single multi-day trip or as a series of separate sections. En route from coast to coast the route takes in canal towpaths, outstanding inland and coastal scenery, excellent pubs and B&Bs, and some of Scotland's finest Roman remains. There are also hills to be enjoyed, castles to visit, and even a distillery: as well as a traverse of what many regard as the most beautiful city on earth, Edinburgh.
As the authors say in their introduction, the John Muir Way should not be confused with the 215 mile long John Muir Trail through the Californian wilderness. The main link between the Scottish route and the world famous writer and environmentalist is that it concludes at John Muir's Birthplace in Dunbar. The authors suggest that John Muir might have been baffled by the Scottish route's use of his name. This may do the Way a disservice: we suspect he'd have been in favour of anything which led to a greater appreciation of the natural world.
The book shares all the features we have come to know and appreciate from other Rucksack Readers: including waterproof paper, a robust spiral binding, and a fold out route map. Add in an introduction which covers planning issues such as public transport, accommodation, refreshments, timings and terrain and you really do end up with everything you need in order to dig out the hiking boots or cycle clips.
The book also includes a section on the waymarking of the Way, a biographical section about the life and work of John Muir, information about the canal heritage that will be seen en route, and coverage of habitats and wildlife. The heart of the book divides the route into 10 geographical sections, giving detailed route instructions and background information for each. In places the walking and cycling routes diverge, and there are also "unofficial" excursions and alternatives given where the "official" way omits particularly important attractions (such as Linlithgow).