Friday 19th June 2020, 6:00pm
Mountaineering Scotland welcomes the good news that progress is being made in suppressing the Coronavirus in Scotland, and that both the rates of infection and deaths are falling meaning we can progress along the route map out of lockdown.
We know it has been difficult 3 months in lockdown and would like to thank all those hill walkers and climbers who have played your part, and continue to do so, in the effort to prevent the spread of the virus by respecting the public health guidance, staying home and staying local.
At Mountaineering Scotland, our preparations for exiting lockdown started in April following the announcement of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making, and the indication from the First Minister that some outdoor activities may be able at an earlier stage in exiting lockdown.
This involved many meetings and conversations with other organisations, and working closely together with other outdoor sports and the Mountain Safety Group, we developed a phased plan and guidance documents which allowed hillwalking and some limited climbing activity to be included in Phase 1. That this was successful was a real achievement, and we have been working over recent weeks to build on this in Phase 2 and update our guidance to include further climbing activity and scrambling (see link below).
Whilst some who live close to the hills have been lucky enough to take advantage of these changes, many more have not. In response to feedback from our members and in advance of the announcement of a move to Phase 2, we wrote to the Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, outlining concerns about the recent charges against two hillwalkers, and also asking for a further relaxation to the distances allowed to travel for leisure in Phase 2.
While the move to Phase 2 is a positive one overall, we had hoped that there would be better news for those who have been unable to travel outside of towns and cities to access the outdoors, and we know many will be feeling a sense of disappointment and frustration at the continuation of the (broadly) 5 miles restriction on travel for outdoor activities.
We feel this too and please be assured that Mountaineering Scotland are committed to the re-introduction of hill walking and climbing at all levels in a safe and responsible way. We continue to put every effort into achieving this and to communicate with our members and the wider public to keep you updated and informed.
So, thank you once again for your support and for sticking with the guidance and continuing to do so. Your actions reflect well on the outdoor community, and support the case for more positive changes as we move towards Phase 3.
You can read the Phase 2 guidance for hill walkers and climbers here:
Mountaineering Scotland is a not for profit membership organisation and the voice of Scotland's hillwalkers, climbers, mountaineers and ski tourers. We could not continue our vital work for Scotland's mountains and mountaineers without the support of our members.
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