An important Scottish walking route, the John Muir Way, which First Minister Alex Salmond officially opens in Muir’s hometown of Dunbar on April 21 has been rerouted to keep walkers out of Linlithgow.
Originally, the route named in honour of the pioneering environmentalist saw walkers being directed into Linlithgow.
Now the revised route sees a potential lucrative source of revenue being denied to traders in the town.
Leading guide book printer, Rucksack Readers of Edinburgh, have decided that the change to the official route is such that they cannot support it and have printed the previously designated walking trail.
Asked why the guidebook that she publishes tells walkers and cyclists to ignore the waymarkers, Jacquetta Megarry explained:“Because the official route bypasses the historic town centre that means, if you followed the waymarkers, you’d miss the best bits of Linlithgow. Worse still, you’d miss most of the cafes, pubs and shops, and if you’ve just walked or cycled from Falkirk, who wouldn’t want a cuppa, a pint or a meal?
‘‘Perhaps most people will do this route in sections and, if they are using public transport, they need to reach bus stops or the railway station.
Ken Lussey, author of the highly acclaimed website, Undiscovered Scotland said: “I cannot understand why this trail no longer routes walkers into what must be one of the prettiest town. It may be slightly shorter using the approved route but, if that’s the criteria, then take a train instead.’’
SNH claim the route was changed at the request of the council’s roads department.
West Lothian Council said; “Both Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the council did look to bring the route more into the town centre but there aren’t any suitable options available at the present time. We did look at the option of the route crossing the A706 to achieve a more direct route to the town centre by the Palace and Loch but it is not suitable for a variety of safety reasons,”