Figures just released by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) show that a further 200,000 also make use of some of the popular local sections for routine dog walking, commuting and other purposes.
Eight out of the 10 visitors questioned for the survey said they were extremely or very satisfied with their visit to Scotland’s newest long-distance route, citing in particular the variety of views, scenery, landscapes and terrain on offer. Seventy-five percent of the users are walkers, and 25 percent were cyclists.
The Way is designed to be used for local day trips throughout the Central Belt, as well as an end-to-end long distance trail, with easy access to attractions, public transport and accommodation along the way.
The survey found that a third of those interviewed were people who ‘seldom’ visit the outdoors, highlighting the potential of the route to encourage a new generation of outdoor visitors.
Ron McCraw, route developer for SNH, said: “We’re really thrilled to discover how many people are using the John Muir Way. In particular, it’s great that so many people who may not have considered going out for a walk or cycle very often before are enjoying the Way.
“We’re now working with Central Scotland Green Network Trust and other partners to encourage even more people to journey on the route, which will benefit communities and businesses throughout the Central Belt.”
Keith Geddes, chair of the Central Scotland Green Network, developed the vision behind the route and is proud to see both locals and visitors following in the footsteps of John Muir.
He said: “After years of planning it is great to see people enjoying the route while following the example of Muir and getting closer to nature.”
The John Muir Way officially opened in April 2014 and stretches across central Scotland, from Helensburgh in the west through to Dunbar in the east. The route boasts some of the most beautiful coastal scenery and sweeping landscapes,