Gearing up for John Muir centenary

Five community groups are in line for cash grants to help support the John Muir Festival later this year.

A series of events are being held to mark the life of Muir , a Scottish-American advocate of national parks who died in 1914, with a John Muir Festival and the opening of a long distance coast-to=coast walking route between Helensburgh and Muir’s birthplace of Dunbar.

Argyll and Bute Council is set to make small grants to local organisations to help them plan events and access fund from other bodies.

The Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs are planning two events linked to the festival – a Jimmy McGregor concert in Helensburgh’s Victoria Halls on April 24 and new drama to be performed two days later, when actors playing John Muir and Tom Weir will meet, with around 100 walkers converging on Goukhill.

The project is estimated to cost £2,990 and the council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee is being recommended to award £500 at its meeting on Tuesday.

Local composer and musician Louise Burnett is writing a John Muir Songcycle which will be performed in Helensburgh;  ArtsQuest SCIO say the project will cost £8,570 and councillors are recommended to give £1,000.

The Friends of Duchess Wood are expected to be given £250 for a John Muir themed walking theatre event in the woodland in Helensburgh.

And Helensburgh Explorer Scouts  are expected to be given £300 – they will showcase their pioneering and fieldcraft skills in Hermitage Park, as well as helping with refreshments and stewarding.

Finally local singing group Soulwind plan to create the John Muir Songline, a singing project involving choirs from Dunbar to Helensburgh and culminating in an event in Hermitage Park.