The Milestones Story

In 2009 while receiving chemotherapy Emma began to read more about the world renowned naturalist John Muir. Her interest in his life grew and in 2012 Emma came up with a plan.

In 1867 John Muir, the Dunbar born naturalist, chose to walk one thousand miles from Indiana to Florida taking a route that would be the ‘wildest, leafiest and least trodden way’ that he could find. Emma’s plan was to celebrate the Centenary of Muir’s death by following in his footsteps.

The starting point of the walk was to be Jeffersonville and over the next ten weeks Emma would have walked through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and finally arriving in Cedar Keys. A trek of fifteen miles a day.

When it became clear that Emma was not well enough to undertake this adventure, she decided that she would walk one thousand miles in Scotland. Eventually her failing health made her adapt the scheme once again. She would get others to pledge miles towards her target and while walking these miles they would place a ‘milestone’ somewhere on the walk where it might become part of the landscape. As people pledged their miles to the website then the total of miles would rise until the 1,000 mile target was reached. If the target is surpassed then all the better.


The ‘milestones’ are small handmade and fired individually shaped stones, some of which can be seen in the images of this page.

If you would like to take part then please e-mail the website with your information and your pledge of how many miles you intend to do. We will send you a ‘milestone’ by post and when you do your walk please send us something about your experience, an image, a poem, a reflection or a map of the route that you have done. Anything that your interaction with the Scottish landscape inspires you to do. We will add those miles to the total. A great app to describe your route clearly is ‘Footpath’. A snapshot of your route map is easily and clearly sent.

We are determined to reach Emma’s 1,000 mile target. We hope you can help us in this and if you are not able to take a walk, for whatever reason, we hope you will follow the experiences of those who do.



The first pledge came from the McInnes family who walked from St Monans to Pittenweem in mid July 2014.  Keeping to the Fife coastal path they left 4 milestones when they'd gone about a mile and the final one on the way back.

 Their route is marked in green, distance apx. 3.5 miles each way. 




The second pledge, a week later, came from Julia Barton and Cal walking in North Berwick and Gullane, East Lothian. 

 Their routes are marked in green, total distance apx. 3 miles.

"As I stepped onto the beach with Cal at North Berwick the Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar rolled in in a spectacular way. After adjusting to the for-shortened views and laughing at the situation, got two little girls to take a picture of us about to set off with your pebbles and Cal's ball.  We headed west for two miles to the point past the golf course and then planted the pebbles into the sand. 
We stayed in the van at Gullane overnight so we could do our third mile there in the morning sunlight.....Mmmm. Woke early to mist but laughed our way onto the beach and decided the mist was a great refreshing way to start the day. 
So, the 3rd mile was the length of Gullane beach from the east end to the bird reserve. Pic 4 is the beginning, 5 Cal finding the way and 6 & 7 the end point 1 mile on! I loved the walk! Thank you - having your pebbles and your project in mind made me do it! Will be ordering more pebbles..."




In early August Charli and Iain Prime covered 6 miles in North Berwick.


'Iain and I dropped Milestones yesterday. You know we love to walk anyway but it gave us an added focus, on an amazing sunny afternoon. Neither of us had done this walk before, so another new venture was achieved. We actually finish up where Julia Barton and Cal finished, so we have created a link!
We have set them as a treasure trail and Iain will compile a set of clues to put on the site.'



Frances Priest and Friends - 8 Miles


In Memory of Dear Emma

Torridon, Beinn Alligin   October 2014

Frances, Craig, Jenny & Lorne


 Adrian, Noelle, Lyra and Arabel - 2 Miles 13/09/2014. 

We set out on a family walk with our wonderful marker stones to take in Easter and Wester, Craiglockhart Hills. Tramping through Craiglockhart Nature Reserve, is a joyful affair and on that bright but hazy day we stopped to pick blackberries and elderberries before crossing reaching the Ordnance Survey marker on Wester Hill.

Our second point for leaving a milestone, was a rocky outcrop near the grounds of Craiglockhart. A place we often went to see the fireworks or admire the view of the castle (at that time obscured by lush foliage).

From there it was back through the ex-campus. What was a historic and beautiful space shared by the community, has fallen into the hands of a group well known for their insensitive building projects. The idea of a future when that hill is covered in snow, but not children and adults from far around, on sledges is a sad one indeed. Here is a place people gather on New Years Eve, to see in positive dreams of possibilities before them, not a place anyone thought would become a place to make a profit from selling a view of this amazing city.

It is worth reading up on Craiglockhart, there are connections with Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, William Kinninmond Burton and Alexander Monro.

Even the shorter walks in the Nature Reserve and near the campus buildings are worth while. Grab your kite and make the most of this fantastic part of Edinburgh, while you still can.

We took this walk before Emma's passing.   We miss you Emma.




Gill Russell May 2015 





Kay and Pat Tweedie are aiming to walk the John Muir Way from Dunbar to Helensburgh before the end of October.  The 134 mile route will be broken into sections to build up strength and stamina.


Linda Greig, Liz Myhill and Lindsey Tyler will be walking up and around Schiehallion, Perthshire, in August, covering apx. 20 miles - some by kayak.  

 Jane Murray Bird and her son pledged 4 Miles and took to the Pentland Hills. An excerpt is below, or you can see the blog post at:




This is Miles, he is 2cm tall.

When Emma and I discussed the walk Miles would take, many things were taken into consideration.

Should we scale the distance of the walk down to match his size, should he walk where a regular sized person could not, was it allowable that I (his photographer) carried the Milestone on his behalf...

These and other questions ironed out, Miles set out on the 19th of August 2015 to walk up Blackford Hill in Edinburgh.

Along the way Miles survived the attention of many dogs, was saddened at some littering, was asked to move on by some official looking people who assured him 'It was just a balloon', crossed a river by walking over a fallen tree, admired the Moai statues and after a big walk for such a small chap, he rested with an ice cream and admired the view of Edinburgh that spread out below him.

If he can pass on one thing, keep an eye on the small as well as the big picture, and please be careful where you tread.

Distance covered 2 miles (standard measurement)

 More images from Miles' walk, in a higher resolution and be found at: