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Mountaineering Scotland statement

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 Dave Hewitt 20 Jun 2020

Some agitation from Mountaineering Scotland:
https://www.mountaineering.scot/news/testing-time-for-mountaineers

Also, it'll be interesting to see if the proposed removal of travel restrictions in Wales from 6 July might influence similar issues in Scotland:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-53090890

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 doz 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Can't travel more than five miles to hillwalk on your own....can travel more than five miles to see a friend

Is it just me or do others find a logic disconnect here?

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 DizzyVizion 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Is it not currently the case though that traveling any distance for recreation is still actually legal? And it's more a request to stay within 5 miles of where you stay for recreation?

The Scottish government threatened to make it illegal but didn't...

Is this correct?

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 rogerwebb 20 Jun 2020
In reply to doz:

> Can't travel more than five miles to hillwalk on your own....can travel more than five miles to see a friend

> Is it just me or do others find a logic disconnect here?

I think the reasoning is that if you go to meet family or friends, and you are limited to two households, then it is assumed that there won't be a large number of vehicles parked in the same place causing a potential hot spot, and any such meeting will be confined to a single discrete location with no chance of contact outwith the family or friendship group.

So there is a logic and reasoning behind it. 

I am not sure that the right conclusion has been reached though. 

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 DaveHK 20 Jun 2020
In reply to doz:

> Can't travel more than five miles to hillwalk on your own....can travel more than five miles to see a friend

> Is it just me or do others find a logic disconnect here?

Climbing and hillwalking probably carry pretty low risk. I think our activities are unintended victims of a policy designed to limit activity which does carry a risk.

Post edited at 09:43
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 Kevin Woods 20 Jun 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

I personally had hoped for some gradual easing in distance for recreation. Seems very restrictive with Scottish Covid figures as low as they are just now, and everything else opening up. Guess that's another three weeks of Lowland climbing - but not really any big complaints to be honest.

Though if there is any influenza-style second wave in autumn, you can imagine the period of unrestricted travel being quite short. Hmm.. 

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 doz 20 Jun 2020
In reply to rogerweb:

Are garden centre carparks low risk then?

Post edited at 09:54
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 DaveHK 20 Jun 2020
In reply to doz:

> In reply to rogerwebb

> Are garden centre carparks low risk then?

It's not as simple as activities being allowed based on the relative risk they carry, the benefit they bring needs to be considered too. Opening garden centres has a positive economic impact and will help preserve jobs. Going hillwalking would have personal benefits but with pretty much all the shops and accommodation closed it's not going to bring much wider benefit.

Anyway, as I said before I think it's more of an oversight/collateral damage than a deliberate policy against outdoor types. 

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 gman2012 20 Jun 2020
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Yes, this is the phase 2 amendment:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/182/regulation/2/made

Exercise and outdoor recreation are still reasonable excuses to be out of the home and no explicit restriction on duration or distance has been added.

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 rogerwebb 20 Jun 2020
In reply to doz:

> Are garden centre carparks low risk then?

I would imagine that they carry no more and no less risk than, for example, the Ben Wyvis car park. However it is not me that you have to convince. 

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 doz 20 Jun 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

😊

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 rogerwebb 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Kevin Woods:

> I personally had hoped for some gradual easing in distance for recreation. Seems very restrictive with Scottish Covid figures as low as they are just now, and everything else opening up. Guess that's another three weeks of Lowland climbing - but not really any big complaints to be honest.

> Though if there is any influenza-style second wave in autumn, you can imagine the period of unrestricted travel being quite short. Hmm.. 

Where I am I can see hills, I can almost see the odd one with mountain crags, but, its back to the local crags here too. Should have moved to Torridon... 

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 doz 20 Jun 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Much as I like my friends, is hard to see the positive economic impact traveling to see them will have.... especially at my age where we get excited over a cuppa.... possibly more expenditure would have been involved in our distant youth but then again much of that was probably not contributing to the legal economy......

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 DaveHK 20 Jun 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

> Where I am I can see hills, I can almost see the odd one with mountain crags, but, its back to the local crags here too. Should have moved to Torridon... 

I can see Slioch from our local Co-op.

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 rogerwebb 20 Jun 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> I can see Slioch from our local Co-op.

The climbing there is rubbish ;) 

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

There was a professor involved in the policy on Radio Scotland yesterday morning doing a Q and A session. He was asked why travel for leisure had the 5 mile guidance while there was no limit for visiting. He accepted it was not about risk but simply that they considered visiting to be more important for people.  

So it seems walkers and climbers are just unlucky to be caught on the extreme wrong end of the policy - right at the lowest risk end of travelling for leisure, with leisure considered a lower priority than visiting people.

I have to admit that I am now finding this extremely hard to take. No climbing with the social contact it brings for another four weeks (three of which I am on holiday for without the distraction of work), while knowing I have friends who have already been ignoring the travel guidance and climbing or going to the hills for several weeks. I no longer feel in a mentally safe place.

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 doz 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I would look after your mental well-being Robert...there are folk up here who appear to think collecting a new dog from England falls within current guidelines

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In reply to rogerwebb:

I too was disappointed by the phase two easing - I expected travel to be extended. However we are viewing this as the walking/climbing community not the large number of urban dwellers who drove to Loch Lomond for a picnic and barbecue only a few yards from their (badly parked) cars. It is this behaviour that the travel restriction is aimed at reducing and we have got caught up in it.

It can't go on for ever and I fully expect a more beneficial change in the next level of easing - I just hope it comes soon.

Post edited at 11:01
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 gman2012 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Obviously there are anomalies in the guidance but this is where can can weigh risks and use your own judgement.

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 gman2012 20 Jun 2020
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

That's been happening since phase 1 - Duck Bay opened a stall selling ice cream and inflatables and it's been mobbed every sunny weekend, same with Balloch.

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 Dave Hewitt 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Don't let it get you too down, Robert - better days are coming. If you can, get yourself out for a wander in the sunshine and fresh air today - to the Lomonds again or another of those Dollar circuits we discussed in the previous thread. I'll wave to you - I'm just about to head out for yet another Cleuch loop from Tilli.

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 Pefa 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

You can meet up with family or friends and do socially distanced climbing/walking locally with them if you feel the need no? I know folk who went up to Tarbet Loch Lomond from Glasgow two weeks ago and a pal who went to Ayr on his motorbike during the week seen 30 other bikers there and police not doing anything. I'm told Largs was mobbed with Glaswegians last weekend and Nardinis is open so people are clearly flouting the rules en mass although I'm told if you go as far as the Green Welly police were writing down reg plate numbers.

I'm not telling you to break the rules BTW as I am still adhering to them myself but if you really need to get out and do stuff during your break there must be options available to you even though preferred ones are out of reach. 

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 DizzyVizion 20 Jun 2020
In reply to gman2012:

Then I'd say- wherever you go, whatever you do, keep within the limits of your ability...

or, I'll be right here waiting for you.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> I'm just about to head out for yet another Cleuch loop from Tilli.

I'm heading to Ben Cleuch from Dollar later, so might see you, though will probably be later.

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In reply to Pefa:

> You can meet up with family or friends and do socially distanced climbing/walking locally with them if you feel the need no? 

I've already been doing that a bit. I shoudn't really complain.

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 DizzyVizion 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Kevin Woods:

> Though if there is any influenza-style second wave in autumn, you can imagine the period of unrestricted travel being quite short. Hmm.. 

That would be quite the toe-poke to the goolies if that were to happen.

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 Dave Hewitt 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I'm heading to Ben Cleuch from Dollar later, so might see you, though will probably be later.

Maybe see you - I'm just about to leave and should be on the hoof by midday. Will do Ever-Cleuch-AGH then cut back to the Law. Likely to have lunch at the AGH crag - probably about 2pm. Tall bloke, beardie, baseball cap (there are a lot of us around, I know).

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 Fat Bumbly2 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

If only the FM were a hill goer?  
 

Follow the lead of the cyclists, they blew this nonsense out of the water a long time ago.  Hopefully there are some great hill days going on right now.  Got something on this afternoon, a >5km journey to see people ☑️ Not avoid them which is apparently Bad (I escaped the purity protractor earlier on a bike trip to the Lammermuirs)

As an aside, here in townieland there have been three rescues in as many weeks within metres of my door. One led to charges... local paper hinted that the rescued were not too pleasant to the RNLI and polis. 

Post edited at 13:32
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In reply to Robert Durran:

I'm really struggling too, to be honest.

Hmph. Have you checked whether anyone in, say, Kinlochbervie, would be interested in some maths tutoring sessions?

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 DaveHK 20 Jun 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

> The climbing there is rubbish ;) 

At the Co-op yes. But they do sell beer.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Iooks like plenty of cars and vans today at Altnafeadh on the Traffic Scotland webcam. Glasgow traffic in and out is back to normal levels by the look of it today. I think the disappearance of Stay At Home message means people are voting with their feet now and this will be impossible to police.

We really need a travel loosening before the travel and tourism opening up date of 15 July. Can't go from zero to infinity overnight. 

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 andrew ogilvie 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Actually I think we should complain as there seems very little rational basis to limit responsible access to the hills.

I had decided not to take further part in discussion on UKC etc but instead to send the comments I would have made to the Glasgow MSPs (so far fruitlessly but it's early days).

Beyond their letter to the government expressing concern at the use of the criminal law after the Beinn a Choin incident I can't discern how Mountaineering Scotland are advocating for mountaineers or offering a critique of the Scottish Government position. Bear in mind that it is a month since many of those freedoms were restored in England.

What has made me change my mind and contribute today is the thought of police collecting numberplates at Tyndrum - its hard to escape the conclusion that the threat of (trumped up?) criminal prosecution has, at present, been deliberately left hanging over access to the mountains  and,  given the charges used, remain a threat post virus. 

As a result of our peculiarly dysfunctional and disproportionate electoral system almost everyone in Scotland now has an SNP MP, as I do, otherwise I would also be seeking my Westminster representative to be actively reviewing the asymmetric lifting of restrictions in different parts of the country.

Speaking as an asthmatic in my 50s I am now firmly of the opinion that  measures to control the virus are a greater threat to my health, welfare and our society than the virus itself is.

And if that sounds paranoid... then that's also my point. 

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In reply to DaveHK:

I once rented a cottage in Fife. If you stood on the old pig pen at the end of the garden, you could just see Schiehallion, through a gap in the hills.

On Rannoch wall, on the Buchaille, you can lean back and belay and see Schiehallion, across the loch dappled moor. 

I always liked that connection from home to home. 

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Carleathern and Stronend today ,loads of motorcyclists on the wee roads around Kippen ,if it's ok for them...........

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 Niceboy 20 Jun 2020

The Scottish Government has created a very explosive cocktail of frustration and resentment with their inability to make effective decisions on easing the lockdown and this cocktail is already leaking out of its bottle by the illogical advice being issued by SG ( e.g. travel as far as you want to see parents/ family - suits Sturgeon/ Swinney etc- but no more than 5 miles for exercise- WTF!). They can of course hide behind the, "lives are important" smokescreen; however, the statistics do not justify over 5 million people being kept restricted when the rest of Europe has already eased out of it with no major disasters ( please don't mention, " a second wave"!). Sturgeon's move from lockdown to, " save the NHS) to now, " surpressing the virus" is unrealistic. Her guidelines are simply penalising the people who are conscientious enough to want to comply - the bams have been out of lockdown for weeks because they don't give a toss!

PS When France started coming out of lockdown it set a travelling distance of 100km for people. Sturgeon should have decided on something like that for Scotland, especially for phase 2.

Post edited at 16:04
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 Niceboy 20 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Just heard through the grapevine that Loch Muick carpark was  full this morning, with closed signs all thrown to the side; also Glencoe really busy with incomers.

The SG have lost their credibility with many of the people of Scotland now over the easing of the lockdown - although many of their supporters will not have  a word said against them, of course.

The situation re the outdoors is one thing but I ask SG supporters who post on here, are all these restrictions really worth it taking into account  the cost to the Scottish economy etc? ( Please don't just say, "lives matter" or " they are only following , "the science"!").

Post edited at 16:44
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In reply to Niceboy:

I have been an  SNP  memberr since the 1970,s. This is the one aspect of the lockdown I have opposed consistently. And have told  MP and MSP so.

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 Dave Hewitt 20 Jun 2020
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

> We really need a travel loosening before the travel and tourism opening up date of 15 July. Can't go from zero to infinity overnight. 

Yes - yet the assumption at present appears to be that it'll almost be like flicking a switch. Of course what might happen - and the way things have gone thus far perhaps supports this - is that come 15 July there will still be only pretty limited reopening of tourist facilities, with a retention of restrictions on how far people can travel and where from.

Central Ochils busy today. I had a 4hr wander round some of the tops in the early afternoon - including a socially distanced half-hour blether with a friend encountered at one point - and was going clockwise which is against the flow (given that far more people go up the Law than down it), so it was interesting to keep count. If I can decipher my scribbled notes (literally written on the back of an envelope), I met or came within acknowledgement distance of almost 100 people and saw another 20-30 across on skylines etc - although some of the latter could overlap with the ones I actually then met.

This is certainly a very high total for an Ochils loop - it's rarely as much as half that, even on a sunny weekend in summer - and it felt like a version of a known winter phenomenon hereabouts where if the Highland roads are dodgy and the forecast is good for one weekend day but not the other, the Ochils can get quite busy with Central Belt-ish walkers using them as the default option.

Incidentally, the chap I chatted with told me something interesting that I didn't know. We were talking about the lack of known hillgoers in the Scottish government and how that might be a factor in the slow rate of progress. I mentioned Michael Matheson, the transport secretary - who is ex (I think) Ochils MRT - and said that was perhaps about it. But my friend said that Fergus Ewing (rural economy and tourism sec) was a keen hill man in his younger days (and perhaps still is) and has a couple of hundred Munros under his belt. He's hardly been seen at the daily briefings - last week's appearance felt like a very rare sighting - but it would be nice to think that he's been having a quiet word with the very urban FM and is pushing for progress on hill and travel matters.

Post edited at 22:01
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 Dave Hewitt 21 Jun 2020
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

Re members of the current Scottish cabinet who have an interest in hills, both Fergus Ewing (rural economy and tourism) and Michael Matheson (transport) have been in mountain rescue teams:

http://www.fergusewing.com/biography/

https://www.holyrood.com/inside-politics/view,winter-is-coming-michael-matheson-on-reducing-transport-emissions-and-prepa_14778.htm

One would therefore hope that they're pushing the hill-access angle at least to an extent - although whether they have any real clout is debatable, given that the FM often seems to be running things on a presidential-style model, eg taking the press briefing herself every day rather than the Westminster approach of circulating it round various of the relevant ministers.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Central Ochils busy today. I had a 4hr wander round some of the tops in the early afternoon -  I met or came within acknowledgement distance of almost 100 people and saw another 20-30 across on skylines etc - although some of the latter could overlap with the ones I actually then met.

> This is certainly a very high total for an Ochils loop.

I did Dollar to Ben Ever along all the tops and then back the same way. I think I must have been a couple of hours after you. Quite busy around Ben Cleuch on the way out. Almost nobody on the way back. Another lovely afternoon. I don't think I've ever known the Ochils so dry underfoot.

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In reply to andrew ogilvie:

Your MP is still your Westminster representative even if he/she belongs to the SNP.

I’m not sure we should be taking the English approach as our benchmark (I guess time will tell on that one).

But like most others (apparently) my support of the current arrangement and balance of interests in Scotland is fast evaporating.

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 Dave Hewitt 21 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I did Dollar to Ben Ever along all the tops and then back the same way. I think I must have been a couple of hours after you. Quite busy around Ben Cleuch on the way out. Almost nobody on the way back. Another lovely afternoon. I don't think I've ever known the Ochils so dry underfoot.

Sounds good. Very dry underfoot as you say - less so now, though! That eroded bit near the foot of the Law gets quite skiddy and needs watching in descent when it's been like this - I know that two of the local hill guys, both considerably more competent than me, have been getting a bit wary of it in recent years.

Does sound like you were a bit later than me. I got to Andrew Gannel just before 2.10pm and sat at the top of the eastern slope for almost half an hour for lunch. Could see a couple of solo people across on King's Seat but no one coming my way. Then stopped again almost immediately for another half-hour to chat with my Dunblane pal - so it was after 3.10pm before I got to the mighty Whum Hill, from where I'd have gradually drifted away from your line to Cleuch (which could well have seen 200 ascents yesterday).

PS - Interesting that you reversed your route - I almost never do that, seem to have a clinical aversion to it. In your situation yesterday I'd have dropped off by the Law or Ben Ever and walked back to Dollar via the cycleway or (more likely because it's nicer/quieter) through Harviestoun.

Post edited at 15:38
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 Fat Bumbly2 21 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Shower dodging in the Lammermuirs today, local but like all hills outwith the meanie limit. Did see three distant figures. 
Arrived home as a thunderstorm turned up. The exodus from the beaches onto the A1 was something to behold.

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 andrew ogilvie 21 Jun 2020
In reply to The Pulsing Motorik of Neu!:

Thanks for your response: you are right to point out that the Westminster government are scarcely covering themselves in glory at present.

Maybe I should contact my MP too. 

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 Grahame N 21 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Glad to see that Mountaineering Scotland have dropped their absurd 'Phase 1' recommendation to only boulder or top-rope.

I'm one of the lucky ones who lives close to some crags (Polney, Cave Crags, etc) and has local climbing partners including my own household. We've been (mostly) following the guidance and top-roping which has been good fun but strangely has felt slightly naughty. Its not something I would normally do, and although top-roping is effectively the same as seconding it somehow doesn't seem quite ethical. Anyway, its allowed me to experience some climbs that I thought i'd never do, like Gotterdammerung (E4 5c) and Laughing Gnome (E5 5c)

Some 'on the ground' observations which may be of interest - during full lockdown the Dunkeld crags were pretty much deserted. I often walked or ran past the crags (and admit to doing some light bouldering) and the only climbers I saw were a couple of locals on the sports routes. When we moved to 'Phase 1' things changed immediately, and over the last few weeks the numbers of climbers have steadily increased. The 'broadly 5 mile rule' is being stretched to 20 or 30 or more. Many coming from Perth, Dundee and I'm sure much further, and there have been people camping at Cally Car-park. I suspect the crags are now busier than normal as folk from the central belt are not daring to go to the mountain crags or the north-west but see Dunkeld as fair game.

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 Dave Hewitt 21 Jun 2020
In reply to Grahame N:

> The 'broadly 5 mile rule' is being stretched to 20 or 30 or more. Many coming from Perth, Dundee and I'm sure much further, and there have been people camping at Cally Car-park. I suspect the crags are now busier than normal as folk from the central belt are not daring to go to the mountain crags or the north-west but see Dunkeld as fair game.

Interesting. Something does seem to have changed in attitudinal terms during the past week or so, with the Phase 2 disappointment having sparked a "sod it" response in a lot of outdoorsy people that might not have happened had Phase 2 seen the leeway ease from five miles to say 20. I'm basically still doing the same local stuff that I've been doing since Phase 1 and even during lockdown, when I was sneaking out from Stirling to the near end of the Ochils and it all felt quite furtive. Now I increasingly feel that I'm at the obedient end of the spectrum, however - eg a friend has been cycling 100+ miles from his house, but the other day he put the bike in the car, drove to Crieff and did 100+ from there. And other friends have more than once this past week driven the 15ish miles to Callander for a walk of some kind - low-level dog-walking stuff, I think.

I don't have any issue with this - good luck to them - but at present I wouldn't do those things. Dollar to the east and Buchany to the west remain the Truman Show-type edges of my universe, but the sands seem to have shifted around me and it now feels like I'm at the conservative/cautious end of things rather than being a bit edgy.

Post edited at 23:19
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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

but the sands seem to have shifted around me and it now feels like I'm at the conservative/cautious end of things rather than being a bit edgy.

I haven't driven anywhere except to the supermarket and I have restricted my 'exercise walks' to start from home. I feel a bit like you when I read about others ignoring the guidance but I think it needs people like you and me (and I think many others) behaving this way to prevent a further outbreak.

I will stick with my caution for a little longer.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> PS - Interesting that you reversed your route - I almost never do that, seem to have a clinical aversion to it. In your situation yesterday I'd have dropped off by the Law or Ben Ever and walked back to Dollar via the cycleway or (more likely because it's nicer/quieter) through Harviestoun.

I like to stay high! And anyway, I'm trying to get some leg fitness back, so I' ve set myself a target of 1000m ascent per Ochils outing and 3000m per week. I had enough flat walking before the 5 miles came in!

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In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> I feel a bit like you when I read about others ignoring the guidance but I think it needs people like you and me (and I think many others) behaving this way to prevent a further outbreak.

It would be interesting to know how many people are driving how far now. Are the people staying local now the minority? It is really hard to know from anecdotal evidence.

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 ScraggyGoat 22 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I wasn't surprised that the 5 mile restriction wasn't lifted, and am on record in another thread anticipating it.  I stuck  two fingers up at the Scot. Gov. and drove 35 miles to a isolated lay-by 10 miles from the nearest settlement, two miles from the nearest house, out of view from any buildings.  On arrival there were three VW camper vans parked up hidden in a burrow pit as best they could, with kids playing on bikes, deck chairs out, BBQ going and clearly settled in for the night.......its not just hillgoers, cyclists and Ned's pushing the boundaries but also relatively affluent families.

Spent the whole w/e out (two nights with high camps under canvas), took a relaxed approach and poked round bits of the hills I'd rarely go to, seeing an eagle, hare levert hiding without moving even though my partner had virtually stood on it, ptarmigan and chicks, and then an adder.  Wandering over two munro's, only saw five people in two groups in the distance, but to be fair the hills are on the remote'ish spectrum and the corners I poked in even more so. Did me the world of good.

Those advocating putting pressure on MSP's are valid, I can't see with the mind-set the Scot. Gov. currently has how we can realistically anticipate the change from Phase 2 to Phase 3 allowing unfettered movement, with more likely 'Geographic restrictions may apply' clause being invoked. Maybe something along the lines of if you have booked hard roofed accommodation you can travel, but if not not &.....some sort of wider local area stipulation.

Anyone expecting Fergus Ewing to say anything that the rural landed vote whom elected him, pull his strings and quietly fund the SNP (at the same time as threatening them behind the scene's with stirring up rural discontent about the Central belt focus of Holyrood), don't like............cat in hell's chance. Mountaineering Scotland might even grow a back-bone sooner!

Post edited at 09:25
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 Doug 22 Jun 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

I do wonder if Fergus would have got anywhere in politics if he hadn't been Winnie Ewing's son.

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 JimbotheScot 22 Jun 2020

im as chomping at the bit as the next person and frustrated also but can see why they are doing it, theres already flouting of the rules going on, and always would be but if there was a green light the place would be absolutely heaving with people even moreso.

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 Dave Hewitt 22 Jun 2020
In reply to JimbotheScot:

> im as chomping at the bit as the next person and frustrated also but can see why they are doing it, theres already flouting of the rules going on, and always would be but if there was a green light the place would be absolutely heaving with people even moreso.

Not sure - at least not everywhere, maybe just the standard places eg Arrochar, Coe, northern Cairngorms etc. Every Sunday evening I'm having a long phone chat with a retired friend who lives in one of the non-Lakes bits of Cumbria, and who is normally out on the hill three or four times a week (he's 75 but stronger/fitter than me). During the initial phase he was very limited and did a lot of roadwalking from home (which gave him foot-injury problems, but that's another story). In the past month however he's had free rein to get back on the fells, which he's been doing cautiously but with steadily increasing confidence. Round the fringes tends to be busy, he says - eg lots of cars the time he went along Haweswater, likewise one day when he went to the Coniston fells from Torver. But get further in - even to a Grade A hotspot such as Grasmere - and it's quieter, and the fells themselves are seemingly pretty quiet (he was on Helvellyn one day last week and that was busier, although still not heaving).

My friend reckons it's because there are no accommodation options and there's nowhere to eat/drink, so people are daytripping in and hence the fringes seem quite busy but the interior is quiet. Overall, he seems to think it's working OK. He's avoiding the villages in the main, partly because that's where a lot of the actual hostility seems to have been - folk aren't spending money so they're not welcome, etc.

How that might relate to a proper Scottish reopening is hard to assess, but the Scottish hill country has much more space in it for people to spread out, so on the evidence of the Cumbria situation it perhaps ought to be manageable. Worth the Scottish government giving it a go, anyhow - especially since it's increasingly happening by default with people being less than impressed by the various inconsistencies and restrictions.

Post edited at 11:21
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 Dave Hewitt 22 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I like to stay high! And anyway, I'm trying to get some leg fitness back, so I' ve set myself a target of 1000m ascent per Ochils outing and 3000m per week.

3000m per week is good going. I tend to do endless loops with 750m-900m of ascent, only occasionally up to 1000m or so. The other method - rather than stretching the distance or reversing ascent routes - is what two Ochil regulars (one sadly now no longer around) have tended to do. They would just straight-line it between summits, eg the late John Ramsay, even well into his 80s, would do stuff like Ever-Craighorn-Bengengie direct, which is just brutal. I've done a little of this but generally prefer to stroll round the longer and easier way.

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 StuDoig 22 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Interesting. Something does seem to have changed in attitudinal terms during the past week or so, with the Phase 2 disappointment having sparked a "sod it" response in a lot of outdoorsy people that might not have happened had Phase 2 seen the leeway ease from five miles to say 20.

Again Anecdotal but that seems to be what a lot of people I know have reacted, not just because of the limit it's self but because of the illogical combination or retaining a 5 mile limit whilst removing the limit for visiting friends/family, allowing you to use peoples "facilities" whilst visiting so long as you don't stay overnight, re-opening the high street at the same time as allowing un-restricted travel for social reasons etc.

Just makes the 5 mile limit for recreation meaningless.  

Interesting that SGs response to Mountaineering Scotland's challenge was that the restriction had to remain in place to prevent a surge in RTA and accompanying overloading of emergency services.  Obv. people never crash when driving for work or social reasons.......

Though Government advisor on Radio Scotland (possibly Jason Leitch?) stated it wasn't about risk, it was just that the SG felt allowing people to socialise was more important than allowing them to exercise.  Could be that they are simply taking an extremely narrow view of why people are keen to get out of the city center.  Not just for a whirl on the bike, or run on the moor but to get some mental breathing space.

Having adhered to the restrictions up until now (and even supported the restrictions in general as being a necessary evil) I'm not not anymore.  Whilst I won't be actively heading out to break them, if a plan involves traveling more than 5 miles-ish then I'll not be restricting myself either (will be staying in local area or region and dodging any busy places though - that does make sense!)

I have also written to my MSP - it won't change anything immediately but if enough people do register their objections then there may be hope for phase 3 being more sensibly applied.

Stu

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 joem 22 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

The whole thing is utter bollocks. I've never been so glad to live south of the border in my life. It's now the case that I could get on a plane to spain and go climbing for a week put I can't put my bike on the car and drive and hour and a half to go riding in the tweed valley.

If travelling for exercise was such an issues the death rates in England would have skyrocketed by now. Don't get me wrong I'm still concerned about what opening shops and apparently soon in England pubs might cause huge problems and I'm fearful of another lock down but 5 miles would feel like imprisonment. would also result in several thousand climbers packed into about 20m length of scrappy bouldering where I live. 

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 Dave Hewitt 22 Jun 2020
In reply to StuDoig:

> Government advisor on Radio Scotland (possibly Jason Leitch?) stated it wasn't about risk, it was just that the SG felt allowing people to socialise was more important than allowing them to exercise.  Could be that they are simply taking an extremely narrow view of why people are keen to get out of the city center.  Not just for a whirl on the bike, or run on the moor but to get some mental breathing space.

Yes, that was Leitch - the actual quote (from last Friday) is at 10:17 here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-scotland-53051977/page/3

It's both weird and worrying that he and (presumably) the elected officials around him seem to regard socialising and exercising as an either/or situation. But as has been mentioned repeatedly on these threads, this is an exceptionally urban administration and maybe the idea that one socialises with a friend by going for a hillwalk or to a crag is an alien concept.

> Whilst I won't be actively heading out to break them, if a plan involves traveling more than 5 miles-ish then I'll not be restricting myself either (will be staying in local area or region and dodging any busy places though - that does make sense!)

Absolutely makes sense. My equivalent version just now is that I might well soon drive round to Glen Devon for some hills - about 15 miles - whereas I'm not for driving to Callander/Kilmahog which is the same distance. The former would keep me in the local area whereas the latter takes me somewhere different. Having said that, while it was very pleasant to sit on top of Uamh Bheag last Wed (furthest I've been in that direction) and gaze at Vorlich/Stuc just across the glen, it did make the hankering worse. Right from the start in this I'd worked on the basis that there would be no Vorlich/Stuc-type outings in April/May, but if the health stats improved (as they have) then June would very likely see a return to such habits. The fact that this hasn't been allowed is difficult for a lot of people, I think, and is part of why there appears to have been a collective snapping of patience.

> I have also written to my MSP - it won't change anything immediately but if enough people do register their objections then there may be hope for phase 3 being more sensibly applied.

Good thing to do, for sure, but I wouldn't get your hopes up too much. My better half has written in some detail to our MSP, about the restrictions generally and also expressing concern about the Crianlarich/Chroin incident and subsequent criminal charges (we're in that same police area). Thus far she's just had a reply from the office manager effectively saying that police matters are nothing to do with them and that side of things should be taken up with the police directly.

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 Grahame N 22 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Having said that, while it was very pleasant to sit on top of Uamh Bheag last Wed (furthest I've been in that direction) and gaze at Vorlich/Stuc just across the glen, it did make the hankering worse. Right from the start in this I'd worked on the basis that there would be no Vorlich/Stuc-type outings in April/May, but if the health stats improved (as they have) then June would very likely see a return to such habits. The fact that this hasn't been allowed is difficult for a lot of people, I think, and is part of why there appears to have been a collective snapping of patience.

A friend of mine was ('legally') up Stuc a'Chroin on Saturday. She said in an email to me -  "...... and I were on Stuc a Chroin yesterday from Glenartney .......... . There must have been 20 or more people on the summit! Ive never seen so many people up there even before lockdown. Ben Vorlich looked as though ants were crawling over the top!"

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 jonny taylor 22 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

>> Government advisor on Radio Scotland (possibly Jason Leitch?) stated it wasn't about risk, it was just that the SG felt allowing people to socialise was more important than allowing them to exercise.  Could be that they are simply taking an extremely narrow view of why people are keen to get out of the city center.  Not just for a whirl on the bike, or run on the moor but to get some mental breathing space.

> Yes, that was Leitch - the actual quote (from last Friday) is at 10:17 here:

Thanks, interesting quote. But let's not miss the first half of his comment, which makes it clear he is doing this because he believes it will reduce spread of infection. As I know has been said plenty in this thread, it's frustrating that they just don't seem to get that hillwalking is *less* likely to spread infection than travelling to see friends in their houses instead. And if it's not about hillwalking, and is about managing crowds at honeypots, then they're not doing a very good job of that. The moment my personal patience snapped was driving past a roadblock down a closed road to rescue a broken-ankled casualty at a closed honeypot... the hill was crawling with people, with a good 30 cars parked illegally.

That was the furthest I've been from home in the last three months, incidentally. I too wonder why I bother.

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In reply to jonny taylor:

Just announced Scottish travel limit goes on 3 July. Hallelujah!

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 Dave Hewitt 24 Jun 2020
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

> Just announced Scottish travel limit goes on 3 July. Hallelujah!

Yes, progress on that at last - although it's "indicative" at present, which presumably means not quite definite. Here's the actual doc:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scotlands-route-map-indicative-dates-remainder-phase-2-early-phase-3/pages/2/

It could have been that the Welsh announcement about 6 July relaxation down there pretty much forced the FM's hand.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Don't worry Dave it,ll happen . I can at last go home to Gairloch having spent the lockdown in Glasgow! With my daughter.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> It could have been that the Welsh announcement about 6 July relaxation down there pretty much forced the FM's hand.

It could be the fact that the numbers are so good she thinks it is safe.  Only 9 new cases.  I think she is responding to the data with a slight lag to assess the results of previous changes which is the rational thing to do.

It surprised me that the R number has fallen in Scotland even though there's been so much relaxation.  One explanation is that it was care homes, not transmission among the general population, that was pushing it up and the care home issue is getting resolved.

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 1932 24 Jun 2020
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

Not before bloody time! I'll be as far north as is possible whatever the weather next Friday now that 'mummy' has let us all out to play. 

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

The question is where do you go...

stay somewhat local and go to Arrochar alps or Loch Lomond NP? Going to be busy... 

go somewhere remote (Torridon, Strathcarron), but that’s a long way up, increases the area of potential spread and something going wrong... I had very few problems with my car in last 3 years yet I’ve been to the garage twice in fortnight (car battery/brake sensor replacement, now screw in a tyre). Some cars might not be roadworthy. 

go somewhere local but obscure, compromise on not the fanciest hill, but somewhere remote and quiet. That’s my plan, the problem is that I don’t tend to remember places that weren’t as nice  

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 Dave Hewitt 24 Jun 2020
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

> Don't worry Dave it,ll happen . I can at last go home to Gairloch having spent the lockdown in Glasgow! With my daughter.

Brilliant - really pleased for you. Also pleased for the various hill people I know who have been feeling trapped inside cities or five-mile hill-less bubbles. I'm not sure I'll go very far at first but I'm certainly looking forward to a few Munros - current total for the year is one Munro day, one Corbett day, the Braes of Doune outing last week and 60 Ochil days! I'm not the world's most need-a-change-of-scene guy, but I think I need a change of scene...

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 Dave Hewitt 24 Jun 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> It could be the fact that the numbers are so good she thinks it is safe.  Only 9 new cases.  I think she is responding to the data with a slight lag to assess the results of previous changes which is the rational thing to do.

I think the distance easing was always going to come soon - the 15 July tourism reopening wouldn't work without it - but general developments elsewhere including the Welsh thing might well have nudged it forward by a few days compared to the original plan.

There could well still be different arrangements for islands - and it'll be interesting to see what happens with various car parks that are closed at present.

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 Fat Bumbly2 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I have been mildly pushing it, visiting local hills - hills I can see the house from, but outside the limit and of course cycling from home as I have been doing since March.  Will make sure no popular places will be visited early on - fancy a few lower Borders hills to creak up first.  

Had a very stressful lunch - mad panic to book a cottage in our booked from work holiday, although I have at the moment only one day's work left.  Succeeded and picked an unfashionable hill area in the Eastern Highlands. Properties are going fast..... 

To be honest - I am one happy bunny right now - lets hope we can keep the bloody thing down.

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 rogerwebb 24 Jun 2020
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

> Just announced Scottish travel limit goes on 3 July. Hallelujah!

Perhaps. Hope so, but it does depend upon what they mean by 'relaxed'. 

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In reply to rogerwebb:

Self catering accommodation also opens on same day, so I imagine there can't be a distance or overnight restriction planned. Fingers crossed. Best news in 3 months.

Post edited at 14:30
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 Dave Hewitt 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Self catering accommodation also opens on same day, so I imagine there can't be a distance or overnight restriction planned. Fingers crossed. Best news in 3 months.

You'll be able to drive to Tillicoultry!

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 rogerwebb 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I hope you are right but the last easing was more restrictive than expected so I am a little dubious especially when relaxed is used rather than removed. 

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 Dave Hewitt 24 Jun 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

> I hope you are right but the last easing was more restrictive than expected so I am a little dubious especially when relaxed is used rather than removed. 

Yes, I'm slightly cautious too - confident but not quite as much as The Watch upthread. However "relaxed" could be the word used rather than "removed" to allow scope for island restrictions. Worth keeping an eye on the national park situations, too - they can be a bit law-unto-themselves-ish. Generally very encouraging, though.

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 rogerwebb 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Good point about the islands. 

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> You'll be able to drive to Tillicoultry!

I can assure you that Tillicoultry is the last place I'll be going on 3rd July. Hopefully an early start for the north west🙂

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 Myr 24 Jun 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

> I hope you are right but the last easing was more restrictive than expected so I am a little dubious especially when relaxed is used rather than removed. 

Might this relaxation be along the same legal lines as previous 'relaxations' of the measures? In that it will still be the case that 'You must remain at home, unless you have a reasonable excuse to go out', but driving more than 5 miles for exercise will be added to the list of potentially reasonable excuses? 

Hopefully it's something more set in stone than that, this time. If it remains subjective what is a reasonable excuse to go out, then I will still be anxious about a surprise 'culpable and reckless conduct' charge for doing something which the local police division has decided is an unreasonable excuse to be away from home.

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 1932 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Myr:

Good point. I think the mechanism they appear to have set out in England makes a reasonable amount of sense, whether you agree with where exactly they've drawn the lines. I've not looked at the legislation in detail but going off what has been reported it doesn't use the 'you must have a reasonable excuse to leave home' and instead writes into law certain things (e.g. groups of over 30) which will be specifically forbidden by law. The rest is just guidance. 

This has the potential to make the situation much clearer after the Crianlarich incident . You can use your own judgment and follow or disregard the guidance as you please up to a clearly defined point at which point the law kicks in. 

Post edited at 15:34
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 tlouth7 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Myr:

The "reasonable excuse" framing was dropped a while back. It is precisely because the police couldn't use any Covid legislation that they resorted to "reckless conduct".

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 Dave Hewitt 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I can assure you that Tillicoultry is the last place I'll be going on 3rd July. Hopefully an early start for the north west🙂

Funnily enough I'm really looking forward to getting back round into Glen Devon. It's just over 15 miles from here and I decided it was beyond the edge of my "broadly five miles" universe, so it'll be nice to go back. There are lots of nice things to do around there and along the Dunning road, a pleasant bit of country.

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I hope Mountaineering Scotland’s detailed response to the latest developments is more constructive than this reporting suggests:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jun/24/fears-national-parks-in-scotland-and-wales-will-be-overrun-as-lockdowns-eased?CMP=share_btn_link

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> There are lots of nice things to do around there and along the Dunning road, a pleasant bit of country.

In the 22 years that the Ochils have been my local hills, I've only done anything from the Dunning road once - and that was for work! But I must have been up Kingseat at least 500 times 😱. Good circuit of Dollar Glen plus Ben Cleuch this evening. Only saw 2 people!

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 Dave Hewitt 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> In the 22 years that the Ochils have been my local hills, I've only done anything from the Dunning road once - and that was for work!

The grassy things west of Tonguey Faulds are nice (although Black Creich Hill is a candidate for the most difficult tree-covered summit in the country), and a Lendrick-Mellock-Innerdouny outing is worth doing and not entirely straightforward. Lots of good options. That glen is also where I most often seem to have unexpected/unusual wildlife sightings, eg a sea eagle (maybe) in a tree and mysterious big cat prints (maybe) in soft snow.

> But I must have been up Kingseat at least 500 times 😱.

That's good going. I'm well behind on King's Seat, just 340 - although the last month without at least one was Dec 2007 (exactly 150 months ago). Of the main Ochil tops (the nine in Donald's list), I've got four above King's Seat and four below.

> Good circuit of Dollar Glen plus Ben Cleuch this evening. Only saw 2 people!

Lovely evening for it. Colsnaur for me tomorrow, probably quite warm.

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 Fat Bumbly2 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Black Creich... the horror!

other summits there are very pleasant and I have had some good days on the bike east of the road.

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 Dave Hewitt 26 Jun 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

> Good point about the islands. 

The islands do - for the most part - appear to be reopening along with the rest of Scotland:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-53177039

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 rogerwebb 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Yes. I think whatever the intention was last weekend the tide is now so strong I don't think it can be stopped. 

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 Cog 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

It’s been very peaceful on Mull.
Looks like it won’t get as busy as usual because of continued restrictions on ferry passenger numbers.
 

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