Harold Wood, renowned webmaster for the Sierra Club’s John Muir Exhibit, is a long standing life member of Friends. Among his many roles Harold is also chair of the Sierra Club’s Education Committee and an expert on all things regarding John Muir. Accompanied by his wife Janet, a professor of geology and earth science at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, and a NASA Solar Systems Ambassador, Harold took time out from a recent tour of the UK to visit Muir’s birthplace.
A two night stopover in Edinburgh proved too tempting and on Thursday 6 September Harold and Janet took a morning train to Dunbar station where they were met by Will Collin. From there they sauntered on to the High Street, stopping off at Kirk Close, the site of the Erskine Memorial attended by Daniel Muir and his family, and the St George Hotel which Muir booked into at the start of his 1893 return visit to Dunbar. Then it was on to the Birthplace where they were met by Jim Thompson and Jo Moulin.
Harold had seen the building before it was acquired by the Birthplace Trust. On that visit there was a top floor reconstruction of what the Muir home might have looked like back in the 1840s. But Harold wasn’t ready for the new interior. Fair to say both Janet and he were hugely impressed by what they found. They spent over two hours exploring every nook and cranny, finding Muir quotations in places they didn’t expect and being impressed by the amount of information to discover in so small a space.
Eventually Will had to pull them away to a lunch arranged at The Rocks where they were joined by a few Friends including honorary member Winifred Sillito and community council chairman Stephen Bunyan.
The afternoon programme was a walk round part of ‘John Muir’s Dunbar’ and a visit to the revamped Town House, led by Jim and Will. Fortunately the weather was fairly kind, no rain but blustery, typically Dunbar. Then a walk back to the station for the 5 pm train back to Edinburgh brought the visit to a close. Harold and Janet have promised to write up an account of their visit and we await it with interest