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Welcome for easing of travel restrictions

By John Davidson

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People will be allowed to travel to the mountains from July 3.
People will be allowed to travel to the mountains from July 3.

Outdoor enthusiasts have welcomed the news that the five-mile travel restriction for leisure and recreation will be lifted from July 3.

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced the loosening of some lockdown measures on Wednesday, June 24, setting out 'indicative' dates for a number of measures.

It also includes the opening up of self-catering accommodation from July 3, as long as there are no shared facilities between different households.

Mountaineering Scotland welcomed the lifting of the travel limit. Its chief executive officer, Stuart Younie, 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.”

Paddling, mountain biking and other activities are also set to benefit from the move, but people are being reminded to be sensitive to the concerns of rural communities and of each other.

The Scottish Canoe Association said: "The SCA welcomes the first minister's statement, where future dates for the further easing of lockdown restrictions in phase two and three of the Scottish Government route map were announced. We are currently reviewing the implications for paddling and are working with sportscotland, the Scottish Government and the governing bodies for other outdoor sports to put together the guidance for these future dates based on this announcement."

Ms Sturgeon warned that the virus had not gone away and that people must stick to the public health guidance in order to continue suppressing the outbreak.

Hill walkers have been reminded that this is not yet a return to normal, and that distancing and hygiene guidelines must still be observed.

Mr Younie added: “We all need to remain Covid aware. 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.”

Outdoor bodies will be updating their guidance on the back of the latest advice, and people are urged to study this before planning their trips.

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