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New memorial bridge built on iconic Scottish hiking trail

new west highland way bridge
A new West Highland Way bridge remembers a popular ultra runner

A new bridge has been installed on a famous long-distance walking and running trail that is one of the prize jewels of hiking in Scotland and has become popular with trail runners, too. The wooden construction replaces a stormed damaged crossing on the 96-mile West Highland Way and has been built in memory of popular Scotland and UK ultra runner John Kynaston. 

John was 61 when he suffered a heart attack and died in January 2021. He had been an enthusiastic  committee member of the West Highland Way Race, which takes place annually on the iconic route that journeys from Milngavie, north of Glasgow, to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. The WHW race is one of the world’s longest established ultra-marathons and was launched in 1985. 

John was also stalwart of Scottish athletics club,  a Kilbarchan AAC, stalwart and a well-known ultra runner, podcaster and blogger.  

Originally from Liverpool, John was living in Paisley when he passed away. He had run 52 ultra races, including six editions of the WHW Race. His long-term goal had been to run 100 ultras by his 70th birthday. 

Katrina Kynaston (L) and John's sister, Sue Neal (R) at the West Highland Way Memorial Bridge

John's widow Katrina Kynaston, left, and his sister, Sue Neal

west highland way start

The famous West Highland Way starts in Milngavie, near Glasgow (Image credit: Fiona Outdoors)

West Highland Way memorial bridge

The bridge is located near Beinglas Farm in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and is a replacement for the original bridge, which was washed away in a storm in 2019. The cost of £20,000 was raised through a crowdfunder organised by family and friends.

The project is supported by John's wife Katrina and his four daughters Jo, Emma, Laura and Hollie.

West Highland Way Race director Ian Beattie MBE described John as a "truly inspirational man, friend and athlete".

He added: "John loved the West Highland Way and the West Highland Way Race. The ultra-running community misses him dearly. We believe this bridge provides fitting tribute to him."

Stuart Mearns, Director of Place at the National Park authority, said: “The West Highland Way is a much-loved route and it is fantastic to see this replacement bridge completed and dedicated to someone who gained so much pleasure from outdoor activity in our beautiful landscape.

“We were pleased to be able to support the project as we work with the West Highland Way’s mnanagement and partners to look after this iconic long distance path. We hope the bridge will be enjoyed by many people for years to come."

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.