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Mountaineering Scotland welcomes announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown travel restrictions to ease

By Philip Murray

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Canisp, Cul Mor and Cul Beag seen from Stac Pollaidh.
Canisp, Cul Mor and Cul Beag seen from Stac Pollaidh.

HILLWALKERS and climbers across Scotland will be able to travel more widely from early July when 'stay local' lockdown restrictions ease – in a move that has delighted a national mountaineering body.

Mountaineering Scotland has welcomed the lifting of the restriction, which looks set to take effect on July 3 and was announced by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today.

Stuart Younie, Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, which represents almost 15,000 walkers and climbers, and acts as a voice for the sector in Scotland, said: “Today’s announcement, and the plans to bring forward a relaxation in travel for leisure is a positive step and one that will be welcomed by our members and outdoor enthusiasts across Scotland.

“We hope that more people will now be able to enjoy a return to the hills and mountains but continue to play their part and stay safe as they have done over the last few months.”

But, while it has voiced delight at the announcement, it has urged walkers, hikers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts to stick to distancing and hygiene guides and rules to ensure Covid-19 infections don't rise.

It stressed that the easing of the lockdown does not herald a return to normal.

“We all need to remain Covid aware," they added. "Think where you are going and consider avoiding places you know are likely to be busy and be sensitive to the concerns of rural communities.

"The sacrifices we have all been making have helped us get this far in a return to the hills, but the virus is still out there so we would encourage anyone heading to the hills to do so with this in mind and to act responsibly.”

Mountaineering Scotland will be looking in more detail at the First Minister’s statement and updating the guidance for hill walkers and climbers on their website, with a reminder that the lifting of the limit will not take effect until July 3.

Mountaineering Scotland’s guidance for hill-walkers and climbers can be found at www.mountaineering.scot/coronavirus.

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