Our website uses cookies throughout our system and to help us provide a better service. Continue to use the site as normal if you're happy with this, or click here to change your settings

The Scottish Government has confirmed the relaxation of the travel restrictions for outdoor recreation as of 3 July. We are currently updating the guidance for hill walkers and climbers which will be available on this page on 3 July.

The guidance document in the links below is from 18 June 2020.

Read our detailed Phase 2 guidance for hill walkers and climbers in Scotland here:

Guidance for hill walkers and climbers in Scotland

Updated 19 June 2020

Mountaineering Scotland has produced guidelines for walkers and climbers in Scotland for Phase 2 of the Scottish Government route map for easing lockdown restrictions, which came into effect on 18 June 2020. 

The guidelines have been created in collaboration with the Mountain Safety Group which includes Scottish Mountain Rescue, Mountain Training Scotland, Glenmore Lodge, and the Association for Mountaineering Instructors, as well as through work with many other partner organisations.

The purpose of this guidance is to provide a framework for hill walkers and climbers within the current Scottish Government public health advice and phase of exit from lockdown, and to highlight additional considerations to be aware of in the presence of COVID-19 when taking part in these activities. 

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.

Please read the guidance in full before planning your activities and remember to:

  • Stay local: Limit your travel to around 5 miles for recreation and follow the current public health advice for Scotland to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • Be prepared: Car parks, toilets and other facilities remain closed.
  • Be safe: Plan ahead and stay well within your limits - whatever your activity - to avoid the need for rescue and emergency services.
  • Be considerate: Think about how your actions might impact on others and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code at all times.

Guidance for hill walkers and climbers

Read our FAQs here

Please note that advice from the Scottish Government may differ from that for England and Wales.

Public health advice for Scotland

Outdoor access during COVID-19

The current guidance in relation to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code for COVID-19 is:

  • Stay local – please do not travel in your car to take exercise; please make use of the paths, open spaces and quiet roads in your own local area.
  • Maintain your distance – please stay at least 2 metres away from other people and if possible, try to avoid busy times on popular paths or places.
  • Respect the health and safety of farmers and others working the land – please follow all reasonable requests and signs to avoid particular areas, such as farmyards, fields with pregnant or young livestock, and other busy working areas.
  • Keep your dog under control – please put them on a lead or keep them close at heel and do not let them approach other people or livestock.
  • Avoid contact – try to avoid touching surfaces and if possible, plan a route that does not require you to open gates.

For full details visit the Scottish Government website.

Reporting access issues

If you have any concerns or questions regarding access issue please contact access@mountaineering.scot

Mountain Bothies

Although some COVID-19 restrictions look likely to be eased shortly, the Mountain Bothies Association has reiterated that all MBA-maintained bothies remain closed to visitors. At present, it seems unlikely that they will be able to re-open until such time as Government guidance permits public gatherings in enclosed spaces without the need for social distancing. The MBA is keeping the situation under close review and if there is any change or indeed any further information that becomes available they will provide further advice on their website and Facebook page.

Further resources

Follow Mountaineering Scotland and ClimbScotland on social media to find out more about ways to stay active and engaged:

Mountaineering Scotland: Facebook - @MountaineeringScotland / Twitter - @Mountain_Scot / Instagram - @mountaineeringscotland

ClimbScotland: Facebook - @ClimbScotland / Twitter - @Climb_Scotland / Instagram - @climbscotland

Other sources of information:

All Mountaineering Scotland and ClimbScotland events have been cancelled up until the end of June and future events will be assessed on a rolling monthly basis.

Sportscotland/Harper McLeod club resources

Sportscotland and Harper McLeod have put together further guidance and information for sports clubs in Scotland which seeks to address some of the most common questions that clubs may have during this time.The club hub contains new documents covering a range of topics relevant to clubs including financial support, data protection, general meetings and events.

>>Access the club hub here

Club meets and regular activities

Under the latest government measures to reduce contact with other people and slow the spread of the virus, all club meets and activities should be suspended until the further notice. We recognise that it is important to stay active during this time, and to find ways to do so that are in accordance with the current measures of social distancing and avoidance of non-essential travel.

Maintaining contact with club members
At this time, maintaining contact with club members at a distance is vital to keep up relationships and support positive mental health. Regular communication with club members via email or social media is important for maintaining a sense of community.
Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, House Pary and Facebook groups are just a few ways you can keep in contact and may provide an opportunity for some of your members to learn to use some of these digital tools. It’s also a good opportunity to ask your members to contribute to the conversation with photos, videos and stories of their adventures, and to share fun and happy memories as well as plans and ideas for future meets.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have an impact on a number of events over the coming months, including your club’s AGM.
To comply with the current social distancing requirements, holding a face to face meeting is not an option at this time, therefore Mountaineering Scotland is fully supportive of the need for exceptional measures and accept that clubs may need to postpone their AGM or use digital solutions to hold a ‘virtual’ AGM, even if this contravenes their constitution. In either case, it is important that clubs communicate plans with members at the earliest opportunity and ensure that if a digital solution is used, it is freely available to all members who wish to participate.
We encourage clubs to continue regular committee meetings using electronic communications or phone conference only until restrictions on movement are lifted.
Club huts and hut insurance
Again, in accordance with Government measures all club huts are now be closed. The likely duration of closures is unknown, but is likely to last months rather than weeks, so will likely impact on the finances of the hut and clubs operating huts. 

The property insurance cover provided via Howden does not provide compensation for the closure of huts under these circumstances however, the length of time the property can remain unoccupied has been increased from 45 days to 90 days and this also applies to huts. Howden has confirmed that, for those clubs who insure their hut via them, that a delay in testing appliances and systems within a hut will not be seen in a detrimental way by the insurers if the test was due to be undertaken during the lockdown period.

The UK and Scottish Government package of support for small businesses which may be relevant to some club huts:


Public liability and club insurance
We have had a few enquiries from clubs and members re insurance, and have received this advice from Howden:
"At the present time we at Howden can only advise you and your clubs to follow the Government advice. Within any insurance policy there is a reasonable precautions condition and if the club or members are deliberately ignoring advice or acting recklessly this may impact on the liability indemnity being available. All clubs and members should record their decisions and reasons to proceed or not with their activities, and ensure that risk assessment and risk management is considered through their process. The health and wellbeing of everyone being of primary importance as per the Government's guidance."

 Other sources of information

The International Federation of Sport Climbing has released an updated statement on 13.3.2020 giving details of championship cancellations and postponements. This updates and replaces previous statements.

Read here for the full 13.2.2020 statement.