Doors Open Days 2018

We are delighted to once again be taking part in the Edinburgh and East Lothian Doors Open Days on 29 and 30 September organised by The Cockburn Association.  Drop in anytime 10am – 5pm on Saturday and 1pm – 5pm on Sunday and have a go at our new trail deigned especially for 2018 Year of Young People, exploring what life was like for John and a young boy in Dunbar.

Doors Open Day is your chance to explore some of Edinburgh & East Lothian’s architecturally and culturally significant buildings – all for free. From heritage landmarks to the newest architecture, Doors Open Day offers free access to properties that are either not usually open to the public or would normally charge an entry fee. The event also offers the public an opportunity to find out more about the area’s public buildings.


Peace Run

We were delighted this morning to welcome participants in the Sri Chinmoy Peace Run to John Muir’s Birthplace.

The Peace Run is a global torch relay that symbolizes humanity’s universal aspiration for a more peaceful world. Now in its third decade, the Peace Run is humanity’s largest and longest grassroots effort for peace. Since its inception the torch has visited more than 150 nations.

Along the route people in thousands of communities — from children to senior citizens, from everyday folks to world leaders — will join the Peace Runners by carrying the torch a few steps or a few miles, each person adding their hopes and dreams in a global wave of friendship and goodwill.

Everyone can participate: athletes and non-athletes, young and old alike. Carry the torch a few steps, a few blocks or a few miles, or join in one of the thousands of welcoming ceremonies along the route. All it takes is your commitment to take a step for world peace. Everyone gets a chance to hold the torch. Find out more info at

15 Years Young!

Happy Birthday to Us!

John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar opened its doors to the public on 23 August 2003. In the last 15 years, we have welcomed over 180,000 visitors from all over the world, and led them on a discovery of John Muir’s legacy.

School Group containing 100,000th visitor in 2012

John Muir was born on 21 April 1838. As a child he developed a deep love of the natural world which he explored around Dunbar. This interest grew into a lifelong journey, both physical and spiritual, of exploration, revelation, hardship and wonder. Arriving in Wisconsin at the age of 11, his later introduction to Yosemite Valley, California, resulted in his campaign to preserve wilderness. This led to the establishment of the first National Park system. Today, he is remembered as a pioneer of the modern conservation movement, and his message is as relevant now as it was then.

HRH Duke of Wessex visit 2008

The last 15 years have brought many key moments, from visits by royalty, Prince Edward on 2008, and Prince Charles in 2009, to the opening of the John Muir Way in 2014 including a visit by the First Minister, Alex Salmond. Mr Salmond was memorably joined by a whole group of bearded ‘John Muir’s at the beginning of the Way in Dunbar! (below)


Opening of John Muir Way 2014


Some of our favourite visitors have been those with a connection to John Muir himself, some of his direct descendants have made a pilgrimage to Dunbar and have been visibly moved by their experience, most recently his Great Granddaughter, Gail Culbertson (below).


We have also enjoyed spreading John Muir’s message to new generations, and each year around 1200 Primary 5 pupils from East Lothian visit the Birthplace as part of their John Muir Citizenship Project which also includes drama and dance sessions as well as visits to local nature hotspots with East Lothian Ranger Service.

Cockburnspath Primary John Muir Award 2018

The John Muir Award, which earlier this year celebrated its own 21st Birthday, is also going from strength to strength and we are delighted to welcome many groups undertaking different levels of the Award to give them an introduction to John Muir.


John Muir’s Birthplace is proud to be a Gold Green Tourism Venue and a 5* VisitScotland Visitor Attraction, showing our continuing commitment to conservation and quality and we look forward to many more years of spreading John’s words… ‘ I care only to entice people to look at nature’s loveliness.’

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