Young Scottish film maker captures vision of John Muir

Zeki Basan, from Speyside, walked and cycled all 134 miles of the John Muir Way.
Zeki Basan, from Speyside, walked and cycled all 134 miles of the John Muir Way.
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A 16-year-old Scottish filmmaker has followed in the footsteps of John Muir, creating a short film on the wild places found along the John Muir Way.

Zeki Basan, from Speyside, walked and cycled all 134 miles of the John Muir Way - which stretches from Helensburgh in the west to Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar on the east coast - documenting his experience in a short film to inspire others to make the journey and embrace the natural environment around them.

The 22 minute film ‘The Wild Along the Way’ can be viewed on vimeo – https://vimeo.com/193034427

The motivated youngster raised £1,500 to undertake the challenge and was awarded funding from the Central Scotland Green Network, which developed the idea behind the route, as well as a Bill Wallace Grant, in order to complete the project.

‘The Wild Along the Way’ is the second in a trilogy of documentaries Zeki is producing on John Muir, following his first 10 minute piece on the Scots-born naturalist – ‘In the Spirit of John Muir’ https://vimeo.com/146027153 which he created in 2015 during a visit to Yosemite National Park in California.

Zeki Basan explained his motivation for creating the film. He said: “John Muir was a pioneering conservationist, happiest in wild places where he was rich in life and with a passion for observing every detail of wilderness and wildlife.

“By documenting the John Muir Way in the second film in my John Muir trilogy, I hoped to explore his respect for the environment and bring it into the consciousness of my generation, capturing their imagination and inspiring an appreciation of the world around us.

“The experience was incredibly rewarding as I had the opportunity to explore different parts of Scotland and I was surprised at how much wild there was in urban areas. I loved how flexible the Way is as you can walk, cycle, or even ride a horse along it and you can deviate to find quiet beaches or hilltop views. I would definitely recommend it as you get a real flavour of Scottish culture and history in one journey and I think John Muir would have been delighted with it.”

Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust and the inspiration behind the John Muir Way, said: “I first heard of John Muir when I visited Yosemite over 40 years ago and I was determined to bring him home to Scotland with the creation of a long distance route tracking his journey.

“Zeki is a credit to his generation, sharing so many attributes that John Muir was renowned for and we are proud to have supported him in this venture. His film on the John Muir Way is truly inspirational and will help to raise awareness of this significant figure in environmental history, as well as encouraging an appreciation and respect for the environment to protect the planet for future generations.”

Toby Clark, John Muir Award Scotland Manager at the John Muir Trust, said: “We first came across Zeki as he completed his John Muir Award with the Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger scheme and his progression through the John Muir Award levels culminated with his film ‘In the Spirit of John Muir’ – a beautiful journey through Yosemite following in John Muir’s footsteps.

“Now, Zeki is bringing Muir’s message back closer to home, and with support from the Bill Wallace Grant his new film expertly articulates just how accessible it can be to experience the wild along Scotland’s John Muir Way.

“John Muir is celebrated as an authentic and important storyteller for wild places – often stirring deep emotions and Zeki undoubtedly has a gift for evoking these feelings, his confidence and skills belie his age.”

For further information on the John Muir Way, visit www.johnmuirway.org