John Muir Way

Cross through the stunning scenery of the Scottish heartland from Helensburgh to Dunbar.

11 to 13 nights
133 miles
Moderate / Demanding

From £990 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

The full John Muir Way trail traverses more than 130 miles along the breath of Scotland from Helensburgh in the west to Dunbar in the east. Along the way, the walk encounters roman ruins, old distilleries, impressive castles and many more intriguing historic landmarks, as well as plenty of charming towns and villages, each with their own unique stories to share.

The scenery along the John Muir Way is fantastically diverse, showcasing sparkling lochs, rolling hills, unspoilt coastlines and rugged mountains, with plenty to discover throughout your walk.

© Contours Walking Holidays John Muir Way map
Helensburgh to Dunbar
133 miles (212 km)
1st March to 31st October

Holiday highlights

Crossing through the beautiful heartland of Scotland from coast to coast.

Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Antonine Wall and the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh.

Exploring the many fascinating locations along the trail, including Balloch Castle, Bar Hill Fort, Hopetoun House, Dirleton Castle and, of course, the John Muir Birthplace and Museum.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
JMW1 From Helensburgh to Dunbar 11 nights, 10 days walking Moderate / Demanding£990
JMW2 From Helensburgh to Dunbar 12 nights, 11 days walking Moderate / Demanding£1080
JMW3 From Helensburgh to Dunbar 13 nights, 12 days walking Moderate / Demanding£1170

John Muir Way 11 nights, 10 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Travel info
  • Weather

Travel to Helensburgh where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Helensburgh to Balloch. 9 miles (14.5km)

Day 2

Balloch to Strathblane. 18.5 miles (29.5km)

Day 3

Strathblane to Kilsyth. 13 miles (21km)

Day 4

Kilsyth to Falkirk. 13 miles (21km)

Day 5

Falkirk to Linlithgow. 9 miles (14.5km)

Day 6

Linlithgow to South Queensferry. 14 miles (22.5km)

Day 7

South Queensferry to Edinburgh. 14.5 miles (23km)

Day 8

Edinburgh to Cockenzie. 12.5 miles (20km)

Day 9

Cockenzie to North Berwick. 14 miles (22.5km)

Day 10

North Berwick to Dunbar. 14.5 miles (23.5km)


Depart from Dunbar after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to walk more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are walking on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Walker or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Walker Supplement
£45.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£35.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£50.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Edinburgh)
£75.00 per person / per night
Extra night (South Queensferry)
£60.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 11 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

Edinburgh is a capital city like no other, offering a vast amount to see and do. Walk between the stone townhouses in the World Heritage Site of Old Town and New Town; visit Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the remains of an extinct volcano; or take in the incredible city skyline from Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park: you won?t yet have touched the countless further museums, galleries, theatres and landmarks that Edinburgh offers.

To add a touch of the seaside to your walk, consider a rest day at Helensburgh or Dunbar. With beautiful views from its placement on the Clyde, Helensburgh plays host to Hill House, designed by the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the fragrant Geilston Garden. Dunbar offers sandy beaches and the ruin of Dunbar castle, crouched on an outcropping of rock overlooking the harbour. This was the birthplace of John Muir, and the museum about him is accessible from the town high street.

Falkirk, too, offers excellent sites to explore, including a French ch?teau set in Scottish countryside at Callendar House and fantastic architecture in the town itself.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£50.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Edinburgh)
£75.00 per person / per night
Extra night (South Queensferry)
£60.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 132.5 miles (212 km)
Duration: 11 nights, 10 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 9 miles (14.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 18.5 miles (29.5 km)
Code: JMW1 Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 1st March - 31st October
Start of holiday: Helensburgh
End of holiday: Dunbar

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air - The most convenient major city and international airports are Edinburgh, Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick.

By Rail - There is a choice of rail stations at the start of the trail (Helensburgh). Helensburgh Central or Helensburgh Upper - depending on the location of your accommodation. There is a rail station at the end of the trail (Dunbar).

By Bus - Various bus services run to Helensburgh and from Dunbar.

From London - Trains run from London Kings Cross station to Helensburgh Central.

Return To The Start - The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take a train from Dunbar to Helensburgh.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.

Routes on this trail

8 to 9 nights
91 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £720 per person
A self-guided walking holiday from Helensburgh to Edinburgh through the beautiful Lomond Hills.Find Out More
4 to 5 nights
41 miles
From £360 per person
A self-guided walk from the city of Edinburgh to Dunbar along the unspoilt Scottish coastline.Find Out More

Customer reviews from the John Muir Way

“All expectations were met or exceeded. Maps, luggage transfer and lodgings were very well done. The material sent prior to the walk was most helpful, particularly about local transportation options. Keep up the good work.”
Mr Crocker, USA
“Interesting, fun, scenic.”
Ms Schnitger, USA
“Brilliant to be back in Scotland. I really enjoyed this one. Lots of scenic variety, ranging from hills and forests in the west, canals and the Antonine Wall in the centre, and coastal walking in the east. Also lots of extras to see and do along the way - I had a boat trip on Loch Lomond, a ride on the Falkirk Wheel, and climbed Arthur's Seat and Berwick Law.”
Mr Julyan, UK
“The walk was an excellent way of connecting to the West Highland Way from the Pennine Way. Surprisingly rural and quiet most of the time. The digital route supplied worked well but most of the Route had excellent on the ground signage. I think this makes an excellent link route when doing a longer version of Land’s End to John o’ Groats.”
Mr Dowling, Ireland
“It was wonderful. Everyone replied to our questions quickly and helpfully.”
Ms Yatsko, USA
"Callander Park in Falkirk" by Jinru Chen (2019)
"A Wringing Spider Web" by Jinru Chen (2019)
"View from Corstorphine Hill" by Thomas Witzel (2018)
"Bass Rock" by Thomas Witzel (2018)
"Forth Bridge" by Thomas Witzel (2018)
"View from Port Seton" by Thomas Witzel (2018)
"Dumgoyne" by Thomas Witzel (2018)
"Preston Mill in East Linton" by Pirson Marc (2018)
"Sycamore Forest before Aberlady" by Pirson Marc (2018)
"Belhaven Bridge" by Pirson Marc (2018)
"Sammy and the Seagulls in Dunbar Harbour" by Pirson Marc (2018)
"Avon Aqueduct" by Arthur Brown (2017)
"Shorefront Promenade at Prestopans" by Arthur Brown (2017)
"Stoneymollan Road" by Mary Brown (2017)
"Helensburgh and the Clyde" by Mary Brown (2017)
"Tyne Estuary" by Mary Brown (2017)
"Dunbar Castle" by Bill Borie (2017)
"Union Canal" by Bill Borie (2017)

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