April 11, 2014 6:10 pm

Short cuts: Footpath in honour of John Muir, Parc Zoologique in Paris reopens

Dunbar harbour©Alamy

Dunbar harbour

Scotland A new footpath that stretches across Scotland will be opened by Alex Salmond, the first minister, on April 21. The 134-mile path commemorates the life of naturalist and author John Muir, beginning on the east coast at his birthplace, Dunbar, and continuing to Helensburgh, west of Loch Lomond, from where he set sail for the US aged 11. Muir went on to become an advocate for the preservation of natural wilderness, becoming known as the “father of America’s national parks”. A John Muir Trail already exists in the US, passing through some of California’s most breathtaking wilderness and culminating on the summit of its highest mountain. The new Scottish route, whose launch is timed to coincide with the centenary of Muir’s death, offers more modest topography, navigating the densely populated central belt rather than the Highlands. However, there are many highlights, ranging from the ruins of 15th-century Linlithgow Palace to sites of industrial heritage and the beaches around North Berwick, known for their abundant bird life. The route will be waymarked and a website, book, leaflets and map will guide walkers and cyclists. johnmuirway.org

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France The Parc Zoologique de Paris reopens this weekend after a closure of almost six years and a €167m renovation. Managers say that the zoo, which opened in 1934, has been completely reimagined, with fewer fences and cages, and animals grouped by region rather than species. “It’s like a journey around the planet,” says director Sophie Ferreira Le Morvan.parczoologiquedeparis.fr

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