John Muir Way, West
Total distance covered; 80 miles (128kms)
7 days walking based in Falkirk
Falkirk, our base for the western section of the John Muir Way is located in the central lowlands of Scotland, approximately 20 miles north east of Glasgow and on the line of the Antonine Wall. The Union Canal runs through the southern edge of the town and the Forth & Clyde Canal through the northern edge. One of the main features of the town is the Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift which moves vessels between the two canals, through a vertical distance of 79ft. It was built in 2002 and effectively reconnected the canal network in central Scotland by replacing a flight of eleven locks which fell into disuse in the 1930s. It is the only boat lift of is kind in the world. During their hey-day the canals led to Falkirk being a major industrial town, specialising in iron and steel. Carronades for the Royal Navy were manufactured in the town, as were Britain's iconic red pillar boxes. Nowadays both canals are mainly use by leisure craft.
Another feature of the town, and one which reflects the importance of the steel industry, are The Kelpies. The Kelpies are the world's largest equine sculptures, and tower 98ft above the Forth & Clyde Canal. There are two horses heads and each structure weighs over 300 tonnes and is made up of 464 steel places which, if laid out in line would stretch for 1.5 miles. Between the two structures there are over 18,000 individual pieces. It is possible to book a tour which goes inside the structures. The Kelpies were designed by sculptor Andy Scott as a tribute to Scotland's horse-powered heritage. The sculptures are lit from within at night.
In 2011 Falkirk was voted as Scotland's most attractive town (ahead of Perth and Sirling). The town currently holds the Ramblers Association title of 'Britain's Best Walking Neighbourhood 2019', which is primarily a tribute to the quality of footpaths and the excellent availability of parks and green spaces within the urban environment.
Falkirk offers a good range of inns, restaurants and takeaways serving food in the evenings. It has a number of shops where one can purchase the makings of a packed lunch.
The daily meeting point in Falkirk is the seating area beside the grave of Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll, which is in Manse Place, just off the High Street.
Accommodation; There is a variety of accommodation in Falkirk, including hotels, guesthouses, and self-catering cabins and apartments. Details can be found on the following websites:
Alternatively, an accommodation guide can be obtained from the VisitScotland iCentre in Sterling, whose contact details are as follows:
VisitScotland iCentre, St John Street, Sterling, FK8 1EA
Telephone: 01786 475019
How to reach Falkirk by public transport. Falkirk has two railway stations, Falkirk Grahamston (centrally located) and Falkirk High (on the southern outskirts of the town). Both are served by direct trains from Glasgow and from Edinburgh.
General information on the John Muir Way and Falkirk, can be found on the following websites:
Holiday Options 2021
Day 1: Helensburgh to Balloch 9 miles (15kms)
Day 2: Balloch to Garve Bridge 14 miles (22kms)
Day 3: Garve Bridge to Kirkintilloch 13 miles (21kms)
Day 4: Kirkintilloch to Bonnybridge 13 miles (21kms)
Day 5: Bonnybridge to Falkirk 6 miles (10kms)
Day 6: Falkirk to Bo'ness Pier 13 miles (21kms)
Day 7: Bo'ness Pier to Queensferry 11 miles (18kms)
Currency Converter: All of our prices are in British pounds. To estimate the cost in another currency use the currency converter here.