John Muir will be forever linked with the High Sierra and California, but it was far from there that his life began, in the little coastal town of Dunbar on the southeast coast of Scotland. Here, Muir was born and lived until age eleven, when his family moved to the USA. Muir has long been honoured in the USA for his pioneering conservation work, but was little known in Scotland until recently, and his birthplace was forgotten. Only when the John Muir Trust was set up to protect wild land in Scotland in 1983 did his name start to become known; it was not until 1998 that the John Muir Birthplace Trust was formed, and work began to preserve the house he was born in to turn it into an interpretative centre about his life and work.
I first read John Muir back in 1982, when I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and picked up an old copy of The Mountains of California. I have read most of his writings since then, some many times, and he has been an ongoing source of inspiration. Some years ago I visited his house in Martinez, California, which is now a National Historic Site, but I had never been to Dunbar until last autumn when I spent a cold, windy November day wandering the town and the coast, thinking about Muir and the valuable legacy he left us.
Photographic note: the photos were taken as raw images with a Sigma DP1 camera and processed and converted to JPEGs in Adobe Lightroom.