Saturday 21 March 2015

Perth & Kinross civic reception marks John Muir Trust double success

Deputy First Minister and local MSP John Swinney was presented with a painting of John Muir by the artist John Byrne

On March 20th I went down to the John Muir Trust's wonderful Wild Space Visitor Centre in Pitlochry to represent The Great Outdoors magazine. The occasion was a Civic Reception by Perth and Kinross council to mark two recent achievements for the JMT - winning the TGO Outdoor Campaigner of the Year Award 2014 and delivering the 100,000th John Muir Award in Scotland (which really is magnificent).

The reception was addressed by Perth and Kinross Provost Liz Grant and local MSP John Swinney (who is also Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government). Mr Swinney praised the role of the Trust in standing up for wild places and getting people involved with nature and said “I’ve always been proud that the charity which looks after some of Scotland’s most magnificent landscapes – not least Schiehallion in Perthshire – is based in the heart of my own constituency.” I hope Mr Swinney relays these views to his government colleagues!

Liz Grant said: “The John Muir Trust has a long history of working in Perth and Kinross to raise awareness and help protect our areas of outstanding natural beauty. It is only right that their campaigning work has achieved national recognition in this way. I was in particular pleased to be able to acknowledge the efforts of the Trust in supporting over 100,000 people to achieve a John Muir Award certificate. This approach to engaging people from across Scotland to take an active role in protecting their nature and wide places is to be encouraged.”

John Muir Trust Chief Executive Stuart Brooks with the TGO Award plaque in the Wild Space Centre.

Recently elected JMT Chair Peter Pearson also spoke, saying: “We are delighted that Provost Grant and Perth and Kinross Council have honoured the John Muir Trust by hosting this Civic Reception. Although we work across Scotland, England and Wales, we are proud of our long association with Perthshire. We have owned and managed the magnificent Munro, Schiehallion, for the past 15 years, and have been based in Pitlochry for more than a decade. Two years ago, we opened the Wild Space centre, which has grown into a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike.”

Other guests included local MP Pete Wishart, regional list MSPs Jayne Baxter and Richard Simpson, and local councillor Kate Howie, as well as representatives from Education Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, and Scotland’s two national park authorities.

Staff and students from Pitlochry High School also attended the event to celebrate their commitment to the John Muir Award scheme, which includes regular active outdoor journeys and conservation volunteering activities such as tree planting, footpath maintenance and building nest boxes.  

As the reception wound to an end I took the opportunity to have another look round Wild Space, which is always worth a visit. Browsing the book display I realised I already had most of them. Even so I found a book to buy - Mary Colwell's biography John Muir. And I already have many books on Muir, including three biographies!

Thanks to Alan McCombes, JMT's Media Manager, for the photograph of John Swinney, the details of attendees and quotes from the speeches. I didn't take notes myself!



  1. I do hope Mr. Swinney was taking notes. He'll need them for the decision on Allt Duine. Then again, maybe not.

  2. I agree with Jane.
    Did anyone have a chat with Swinney over Allt Duine?
    This was a TGO Award that was richly deserved. The JMT and MCofS both work tirelessly fighting 'inappropriately sited' wind farms. I put inappropriately in inverted commas because I have yet to see a wind farm sited 'appropriately.'