John Muir to be immortalised in teen’s documentary

Zeki Basan with Lee Stetson. Picture: contributed
Zeki Basan with Lee Stetson. Picture: contributed
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A TEENAGE filmmaker is set to follow in the footsteps of John Muir as he creates a short film on the world renowned environmentalist.

Zeki Basan, from Speyside, is planning to walk all 134 miles of the John Muir Way from Helensburgh to Dunbar and make a short film of his experiences to inspire others and learn a little bit more about the nature around them.

The motivated youngster has already been recognised for his work on John Muir following a visit to Yosemite National Park, during which he created a ten-minute film called In the Spirit of John Muir.

Zeki is aiming to raise £1500 to enable him to undertake the challenge and he has been awarded funding from the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, as well as a Bill Wallace Grant to support his work.

Zeki said: “With his passion for observing every detail of wilderness and wildlife, John Muir was a pioneering conservationist, happiest in wild places where he was rich in life.

“I would like to bring that passion and richness back into the lives of my generation before it is lost to technology.

“By documenting the John Muir Way in the second film of my John Muir trilogy, I hope to encourage others to see things they might not have seen or known about before.

“By focusing on the plants and their uses, the wildlife, and nature stories from John Muir’s childhood, I want to bring the wild to the Way.”

Keith Geddes, chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, said the organisation was happy to support Zeki.

He 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 an inspirational youngster who shares so many of the same attributes that John Muir was renowned for and we are proud to be able to support him as he looks to inspire a new generation.”

In honour of his passion for outdoor adventures, friends, colleagues and outdoors organisations established the Bill Wallace Grant to help people get out into the wild places of the world, and make a difference to these places. The fund is run by the John Muir Trust.

Zeki has already met Hollywood actor and John Muir impersonator, Lee Stetson, as part of his project.

Lee said: “I’m a fan of Zeki, I think his short Yosemite film In the Spirit of John Muir is wonderful.

“And I’m pleased that his next film will be here in Scotland on the John Muir Way.

“It’s an opportunity for a young person to bring Muir’s message close to hundreds of thousands of people from across the Central Belt and beyond. It’s a good thing.”

There were more than 60,000 visits to the John Muir Way in 2015, according to a new Scottish Natural Heritage report, with 6000 people completing the trail end-to-end over consecutive days and a further 200,000 also making use of local sections for dog walking and commuting.

• To support Zeki in raising funds, contact Ghillie Basan at ghilliebasan@hotmail.com.

newsen@edinburghnews.com