Cockburnspath Primary P6 & 7 Get their John Muir Awards!


Pupils from the senior class at Cockburnspath Primary have been working hard throughout this year to get their Discovery level John Muir Awards. The children have spend 8 afternoons throughout the year, discovering and exploring woods next to the school, and using all their senses to make sound maps, take part in treasure hunts, write poems, create sculpture and finally make minibeast hotels and lead the whole class in a litter pick of the woods.  Their favourite part was each session finishing with making hot chocolate on storm kettles and learning to ‘leave no trace’ that they had been exploring.

Team Building!

Making Musical instruments

Wild poem

Certificate of Excellence!

Thank you to all our lovely visitors who have taken time to review their visit on TripAdvisor and help us to earn a Certificate of Excellence for the 3rd year in a row!  Come along and find out why so many people give us a 5* rating. Our latest exhibition matches John Muir’s poetic writing with William Keith’s beautiful landscape painting of wild America, don’t miss it!

Teddies travel to Yosemite!

We were delighted last week to receive some photographs of John Muir Way Teddies from our shop which had found their way to a wedding at Yosemite on John Muir’s Birthday, 21 April!  Back at the end of March John and Maureen came to visit the Birthplace and fell in love with our John Muir Way Tartan teddies.  They were going to a wedding in Yosemite on 21 April and wanted to buy the teddies for the bride and groom’s 1 year old twins.  Lovely idea except we only had 1 in stock!  Thankfully our friends at Nicholson Kiltmakers who designed the John Muir Way tartan and supply us with our stock were able to send on a companion, and together the teddies went to Yosemite.  The twins were so delighted with the teddies that they took them down the isle with them, and John and Maureen kindly sent us some photos of the day, and agreed we could share these with our followers.  Many congratulations to the bride and groom who look lovely in some beautiful surroundings.



Happy Birthday John Muir!

Saturday 21 April marks John Muir’s 180th Birthday. Mark the day by coming to see us in his Birthplace and explore where his story began, we will have crafts and stories throughout the day to help celebrate.  Alternative if you want to enjoy the beautiful weather we are going to have, take advantage of one of the many events being held along the John Muir Way.  You will find a listing on

Whatever you decide to do – enjoy!

Sounds of John Muir

We are used to seeing the beautiful images of the wilderness John Muir spoke out so eloquently to keep wild. It is much more difficult to share the natural music of these lands, however Acoustic Ecologist Gordon Hempton has done just that. After following in Muir’s footsteps walking from San Francisco to Yosemite in the 1990s, Hempton now lives just outside Olympic National Park, and spends time making recordings of the natural world without any sound pollution from industry or travel, managing to link some sounds to those described by Muir in his writing.


For more information and to hear some of the recordings including ‘Snow Melting into Music’, ‘Soda Springs’ and ‘The song of the Merced’, follow this link to

William Keith and John Muir: Kindred Souls

Our next exhibition due to open in 1 April 2018 will be curated by Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace. The theme is the life of artist William Keith and his friendship with John Muir. Entitled ‘William Keith and John Muir: Kindred Souls’, it charts Keith’s life from his birth on 21 November 1838 in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, until he and Muir first met in Yosemite Valley in October 1872.  The two instantly became friends, bound together by similar interests in, and attitudes towards, nature and of course their Scottishness. The exhibition continues to trace their togetherness until Keith’s death in Berkeley, California, on 13 April 1911.  As a measure of how close the two Scots were, John Muir was the leading pallbearer at his friend’s funeral.

A prolific painter, mainly in oils, Keith is estimated to have produced around 4,000 paintings and sketches. Tragically half were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, either in his studio or in the homes of patrons.  As well as using images of his painting to illustrate the text, Friends’ exhibition includes eight reproductions of Keith works.

Entrance to the exhibition is free

New Saturday Storytimes!

You may already be familiar with our drop in craft sessions each weekend, however starting from Saturday 10 March we will be adding to this offer by holding storytime sessions suitable for pre-school and early primary school children at 11am and 2.30pm each Saturday.  Themes will be linked to our drop in for that week so Saturday 10 March will be Mother’s Day Flower Wreaths, butterflies and linked stories, Saturday 17 March will have a froggie theme and Saturday 24 March is all about birds. Sessions are free, however donations towards craft materials are always welcome. We look forward to seeing you then!

The Lost Words

With acrostic ‘spells’ by Robert Macfarlane and beautiful watercolour artwork by Jackie Morris, The Lost Words conjures back to glorious life some natural words fading from usage.

Published in October 2017, this stunning book focuses on words that are moving to the margins of many children’s lives and stories – bluebell, dandelion, otter, kingfisher, acorn – and presents them as both challenge and celebration.

Now available in John Muir’s Birthplace for £20, this book makes a lovely gift for all ages, or just treat yourself!  The John Muir Trust has also produced some fantastic resources for groups and schools which can be found on their website including an explorer’s guide, posters and a literature and nature resource.