Covid-19: Scotland Moves to Phase 1
- Saturday 30th May 2020
The announcement earlier this month by the First Minister means Scotland has now moved to Phase 1, the first stage of relaxation of lockdown restrictions, and that Scottish climbers and hill walkers can now start to extend their activities locally.
Mountaineering Scotland have welcomed the news that Scottish climbers and hill walkers can start getting out more and extending their daily exercise – albeit locally. They stressed however that it was not a restarting of sport and recreational activity in the way that English climbers and hill walkers were allowed unlimited travel and exercise earlier in May.
The crucial factor in the factor in the Scottish Government’s advice is that people should not drive for more than five miles to take their exercise. That means therefore that all those that live the in cities and in the Central Belt will still be unable to access the hills and crags.
Mountaineering Scotland has published detailed guidelines so that people can be aware of how the Government’s guidelines affect them and so that those who are within reach of hills and crags are aware of additional considerations they must keep in mind – and that many car parks and other facilities remain closed and unable to accommodate walkers and climbers.
Stuart Younie, Chief Executive Officer of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “While welcoming this step forward, it must be stressed that an easing of lockdown does not mean a return to normal, and we urge everyone heading out to enjoy the outdoors to be mindful of how their individual actions reflect on the whole outdoor community.
“The key will be for individuals to take a sensible approach to their activities, use your judgement to manage the risks, and to consider the social responsibility we all have to each other, to protecting our emergency services and to minimise the transmission of COVID -19.”
For this stage, walkers and climbers are reminded to stay local and follow the current public health guidance for Scotland to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
They should remember that many car parks, toilets and other facilities will remain closed, which may affect any plans.
They should plan ahead and stay well within their limits - whatever their activity - to avoid the need for rescue and involvement of the emergency services.
And they should be responsible and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code at all times.
Mr Younie added: “We are aware that many will feel frustrated that they are still not able to access the hills and crags they love, but it is the first step on a journey that, if we all do our part to keep it on course, will see wider access returning more quickly. At Phase 1 the Government has recognised the benefits hillwalking, climbing, and access to the outdoors, have on our physical and mental health, and we will continue to press for as rapid a return to the hills for all as is safe and responsible in this pandemic.”
For further advice on Mountaineering Scotland’s guidelines click here.