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Guidance for hill walkers and climbers in Scotland – Mountaineering Scotland

**Please note that the information below is the Scottish Government guidance and restrictions may differ between Scotland and the rest of the UK. **

Update 07/01/2021

From Tuesday 5 January 2021, mainland Scotland moved to a temporary lockdown, with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes. Some islands will remain at Level 3. More information on the temporary lockdown and local authority boundary maps is available on the Scottish Government website.

Mountaineering Scotland welcomes the inclusion of outdoor recreation as one of the exemptions for travel, recognising the low risk of transmission outdoors and the benefits to health and wellbeing.  However, given new variant of virus, we all need to be extra careful to avoid transmission.

We encourage everyone to continue to act responsibly particularly in areas where access and car parking may be busy, and to respect the feelings of rural and remote communities and those living and working in the countryside.  When planning your activity stay well within your limits and minimise the risks to yourselves and others, continue to follow the Scottish Government FACTS advice to minimise the risk of transmitting COVID-19, and seek a test and self-isolate if you are experiencing symptoms.

For the indoor climbing community and all our young athletes, unfortunately Level 4 restrictions mean that our climbing walls must close again, and our best wishes go out to all those venues affected and  we hope to see you back open again very soon.

Key points for level 4:

  • You should not leave your home or travel outside your local authority area unless for an essential reason, and should avoid any unnecessary travel.
  • There are exemptions for sport, exercise and outdoor recreation allowing travel within and up to 5 miles from the boundary your local authority area as long as you start and finish at the same place, and abide by the rules on meeting other households (see below). The Scottish Government recommend that you travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way.
  • Household rules now apply to all outdoor recreation and physical activity in level 4 areas (including organised club/group activities), allowing a maximum of 2 people from 2 separate households to meet outdoors for sport or exercise, with 2m physical distancing maintained at all times. Children under 12 do not count towards households or numbers when meeting outside.
  • The members of an individual household or extended household can meet outdoors for sport or exercise.
  • Indoor facilities are to remain closed at Level 4 (includes climbing walls, outdoor centres, huts, bothies).

Key points for level 3:

  • Informal outdoor recreation and exercise is permitted in accordance with the Scottish Government guidance on how many households you can meet with outdoors (maximum number of 6 people from up to 2 separate households), with 2m physical distancing maintained at all times. Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people counted in a gathering.
  • You can leave your local authority area during the course of outdoor recreation if it starts and ends within the area or around 5 miles of your local authority boundary (please note the 5 mile limit does not apply to organised sport/outdoor activity, which must start/finish in the local authority area).
  • Organised club/group activity under the Mountaineering Scotland guidance is allowed but only within the local authority area.
  • Indoor climbing walls remain open and operating under ABC guidance.

Guidance downloads

Guidance for hill walkers & climbers (updated 07/01/2021) 

Guidance for affiliated clubs and huts (updated 07/01/21) 

ABC Guidance for indoor climbing wall operators 

Our guidance for hill walkers, climbers and clubs in Scotland have been developed in collaboration with the Mountain Safety Group which includes Scottish Mountain Rescue, Mountain Training Scotland, Glenmore Lodge, and the Association for Mountaineering Instructors. 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.

This guidance applies to all visitors to Scotland as well as residents.

COVID guidance for other parts of the UK

Under current Scottish regulations, unless you have a reasonable excuse (see exceptions) you must not travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Please check for updates on the Scottish Government website.

Restrictions and advice on what you can do and where you can travel are also in place within England, Wales and Northern Ireland and in the other territories in the Common Travel area, the Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
  • Mountaineering in England and Wales: For full details of the current COVID guidance for England and Wales, please visit the BMC website.
  • Northern Ireland: For details of COVID restrictions in Northern Island click here.

To keep yourself and other safe you should:

  • wear a face covering
  • avoid crowded places
  • clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • stay 2m away from other people
  • self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)

Local protection measures are now in place in Scotland – find out more on the Scottish Government website.

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

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