Walkers will be able to access the mountains of Scotland from Friday. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Walkers will be able to access the mountains of Scotland from Friday. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mountaineering Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that travel restrictions for recreation are being lifted.

From Friday, the rule that meant walkers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts had to stay close to home, will be relaxed.

The Holyrood administration had suggested a five-mile limit for travel to exercise.

But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the travel restrictions would be lifted, except for parts of Dumfries and Galloway, where there has been a local outbreak of Covid-19.

Mountaineering Scotland, which represents hillwalkers, climbers, mountaineers and ski tourers north of the border, said the lockdown easing would mean most people would be able to return to the Scottish hills for the first time since the introduction of restrictions.

It said: “Although the weather forecast predicts rain for the weekend, climbers and walkers from all over Scotland are expected to take advantage of the relaxation.

Chief executive Stuart Younie said: “The lifting of the travel restriction is great news for Mountaineering Scotland members and hillwalkers and climbers across Scotland, most of whom have been unable to access the hills and mountains during the last three months.

“We urge anyone heading to the hills to plan ahead, and to enjoy their activities safely and responsibly whilst continuing to protect themselves and the communities they may be visiting.

“Remember to stay ‘Covid aware’ – the virus is still out there and we cannot yet return to normal, so we should all be aware of physical distancing and hand hygiene, and be sensible in our ambitions for the moment.”

Although the mountains of Scotland will be accessible there will continue to be a ban on people travelling to camp in tents, including those wishing to wild camp.

The Scottish Government said: “The first easing of travel restrictions applies to self-contained accommodation only.

“This means, for example, holiday homes and motorhomes where users have access to toilet and bathroom facilities which are not shared, and which have to be booked in advance so numbers can be managed.

“It does not include camping in tents, where campers would have to rely on shared facilities, or in the wild, since this is not ‘booked’ in advance so numbers cannot be managed.

“Those who want to camp in tents in the wild, or in campsites using shared facilities, are asked to wait until we confirm that Scotland’s tourism sector can re-open. We hope to do this on 15 July.”

People taking to the hills will still be expected to maintain the two-metre social distancing.

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