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Scottish non-mandatory travel restrictions

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So I wonder what proportion of climbers and walkers in the central belt are going to abide by the restrictions and not head north (or indeed south) to the crags and hills over the next three weekends and half term.

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 Michael Gordon 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I thought they were mandatory? If they're just advice, then same as before - consider it carefully, then make your own decision! A non-mandatory 'restriction' is not a restriction.

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 Fractral 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I would honestly prefer it if they were mandatory. At the moment I'm going back and forth on whether I can justify going walking alone as essential for my mental health. If the restrictions were mandatory it would be easier to justify following them.

On the one hand, I'll travel alone by car to a quiet part of the highlands and camp alone away from anyone else and the road, so the only possibility for contact is if my car breaks down. There is minimal harm in that given I live alone and can't really meet up with people indoors anymore. OTOH, I understand the need for the restrictions and really do want to follow them. But going outdoors is my only escape! Aaargh.

I dunno. I'll probably head north alone this weekend. Maybe that makes me a bad person?

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I thought they were mandatory? If they're just advice, then same as before - consider it carefully, then make your own decision!

Of course, but I am wondeing how manty will make the decision to follow them.

> A non-mandatory 'restriction' is not a restriction.

Ok, maybe "restriction" is the wrong word,

Post edited at 13:57
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In reply to Fractral:

> I would honestly prefer it if they were mandatory.

I sort of agree. I'd rather just be told what to do rather than have to weigh up the morality of the whole thing for myself and then have to watch other people coming to other conclusions. I only found the initial lockdown stressful once people started opting out of the 5 mile rule because it wasn't actually illegal.

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In reply to Fractral:

> I would honestly prefer it if they were mandatory.

I sort of agree. I'd rather just be told what to do rather than have to weigh up the morality of the whole thing for myself and then have to watch other people coming to other conclusions. I only found the initial lockdown stressful once people started opting out of the 5 mile rule because it wasn't actually illegal.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

I agree as well.  If it is necessary, make it law.  If it is not necessary, bin it.

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 Dave Hewitt 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

There's already been quite a bit of discussion of this across at Walkhighlands, might be of interest - see from p3 here onwards:
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=100331&sk=t&sd=a&start=30

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 tehmarks 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Fractral:

> I dunno. I'll probably head north alone this weekend. Maybe that makes me a bad person?

For what it's worth, I think that makes you a pragmatic and sensible person.

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 OwenM 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I'm not even sure what they are. What does "avoid unnecessary travel out of your area" actually mean?

I live in the Ochils, can I travel to the Trossachs to go hill walking or the Cairngorms? 

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 Michael Gordon 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Of course, but I am wondering how many will make the decision to follow them.> 

Seems rather academic as we'll never know the statistics. Best to just make your own decisions and not worry about others.

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 Michael Gordon 08 Oct 2020
In reply to OwenM:

> I'm not even sure what they are. What does "avoid unnecessary travel out of your area" actually mean?> 

Presumably the same as it did during lockdown. Only travel for work purposes.

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 Graeme G 08 Oct 2020
In reply to OwenM:

> I'm not even sure what they are. What does "avoid unnecessary travel out of your area" actually mean?

It’s not area, it’s health board. I’m assuming you’re Forth Valley? That’s where you’re meant to stay.

> I live in the Ochils, can I travel to the Trossachs to go hill walking or the Cairngorms? 

Yes, but as it’s not ‘necessary’ you’re being encouraged not to.

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 Dave Hewitt 08 Oct 2020
In reply to OwenM:

I'm handy for the Ochils too - I'm in Stirling. Assuming you're in the Forth Valley health board area - eg on the Hillfoots side of the Ochils and not so far east (eg beyond Muckhart) that you're in NHS Tayside or NHS Fife, then Trossachs are absolutely fine as they're also in NHS Forth Valley. Cairngorms are advised against however. Here's a map of NHS Forth Valley:

https://nhsforthvalley.com/about-us/

As far as I can tell, it basically coincides with the Stirling, Clacks and Falkirk council areas.

PS - You're a free agent until Friday 6pm - that's when all this new stuff seems to kick in. I'm going to have a Glen Devon outing Friday lunchtime while I still can.

Post edited at 16:58
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 OwenM 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Presumably the same as it did during lockdown. Only travel for work purposes.

No, during lockdown it was "you can only travel 5 miles from home".

I drive all over the country all day everyday for work. As soon as I knock off I've got to stay put.

I can't visit anyone, I can have visitors,  I can't meet anyone in a pub or cafe. I live alone, so no human interaction allowed.

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 OwenM 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

The Trossachs it is then.

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 gman2012 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

There was an evidence paper produced along with the new restrictions (which do not in fact cover travel outside your area).  The new guidance seeks to reduce indoor transmission, particularly in the hospitality sector:

https://www.gov.scot/news/new-moves-to-stop-covid-19-spread/

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-evidence-paper-october-2020/

"39.Looking at these factors, any indoor setting where the public mixes freely with members of different households and people of different age groups carries a number of risks. Hospitality therefore presents one of the highest risks."

Yet there's immediate shaming of hillwalkers...by other hillwalkers.

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 Michael Gordon 08 Oct 2020
In reply to OwenM:

> No, during lockdown it was "you can only travel 5 miles from home".> 

But you were allowed to travel further than that for work purposes, same as you can travel outwith your health board now if it is for work.

> I can't visit anyone, I can't have visitors,  I can't meet anyone in a pub or cafe. I live alone, so no human interaction allowed.

Assuming you want to stick to the advice, the option is still there to meet others (within own health board) for exercise, e.g. hillwalking and climbing.

Post edited at 17:45
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 Michael Gordon 08 Oct 2020
In reply to gman2012:

> Yet there's immediate shaming of hillwalkers...by other hillwalkers.

There certainly shouldn't be. The travel ban isn't mandatory and there has never been a ban on hillwalking.

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In reply to gman2012:

> Yet there's immediate shaming of hillwalkers...by other hillwalkers.

Yes, it's the five mile thing all over again. People going to the hills being caught up in a necessarily blanket restriction designed to stop people travelling from areas with high infection and interacting with people in areas of low infection. Hopefully most people will make their own decision based on the spirit of the intention of the advice. 

I'm in the interesting position of living just outside the restricted area but working just inside it (with a fair amount of human contact) and with almost all my social contact inside it at the climbing wall. 

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

> There certainly shouldn't be. The travel ban isn't mandatory and there has never been a ban on hillwalking.

It is actually very hard to find anything about the travel advice on the scot.gov website. Is it there? It doesn't seem to be with the other stuff about pubs and so on. I'm just going on what Sturgeon actually said yesterday.

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 gman2012 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, it's the five mile thing all over again.

No, there really isn't any restriction on travel in the guidance this time. 

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In reply to gman2012:

> No, there really isn't any restriction on travel in the guidance this time. 

I was referring to the dilemmas and possible finger pointing.

Or are you agreeing with me that there is nothing official on the scot.gov website (unless it's well hidden)?

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 S Andrew 08 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Going south on a booked holiday (permitted).

Having spent the last three months watching idiots ignoring any precautions and getting us back into the situation we’re in I’ll be interpreting the rules a bit more robustly this time around.

But I understood the stay local(ish) request was only for 2 or 3 weeks atm.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

The way I look at it if there's not a law forbidding it, it is perfectly reasonable to assess the actual risk of the activity and if it is very low go ahead and do it.

The point of the restrictions is to control the spread of the virus, if you are doing something like wild camping nowhere near other people there's no risk of spreading a virus.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

Had a stay booked for this weekend, for something that realistically was the last weekend to do (long day out!). 
 

It didn’t feel like a right thing to do and cancelled. Staying local-ish for some time now...

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In reply to Fractral:

> On the one hand, I'll travel alone by car to a quiet part of the highlands and camp alone away from anyone else and the road, so the only possibility for contact is if my car breaks down.

So why on earth would you NOT travel wherever you want to travel to?

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In reply to Neil Williams:

> I agree as well.  If it is necessary, make it law.  If it is not necessary, bin it.

That's a bit too black and white and this thread proves the point. There will be people who will go with the advice, which will reduce some high risk travel (eg family visits). However, being advisory, it doesn't preclude people from low risk travel (eg going climbing / walking). Plus the roads will be less busy. 

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In reply to Graeme G:

> It’s not area, it’s health board.

That's crazy. How many people know which health board area they live in and where its boundaries are? Surely local restrictions should correspond with reasonably well known local boundaries (and even then most people won't know exactly where the boundaries are but that doesn't really matter as long as people have a rough idea).

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In reply to gman2012:

Indeed. The screen grab half way down this articles is telling. This shows an estimate of where Covid is picked up, by setting. The hospitality sector is by far the largest culprit (30% in total for pubs and restaurants, including people who work there). Most of the other significant vectors are essentials - supermarkets, hospitals and care homes. Gyms are 2% (this might reflect the fact that only a minority of the population goes to gyms but still, it's tiny). The outdoors doesn't even feature.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-54464470

As a friend messaged me in the last lockdown, why are climbers so anti climbing?

Still, it's not a bad thing. The fewer people are out and about, the quieter the roads and the crags will be.

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Misha:

> That's crazy. How many people know which health board area they live in and where its boundaries are?

I think large numbers of people - the considerable majority - do know which health board area they're in, as most folk have reasonably regular dealings with the NHS. Far fewer of them will know where the exact boundaries are, especially people who don't live close to the edge of their area. But it does seem that Scottish health boards map pretty accurately if not exactly on to council areas (eg my own health board, Forth Valley, appears to be a composite of the Stirling, Clacks and Falkirk council areas), so there'll be a reasonable level of knowledge of that too, via council tax bills etc. Quite where the council/NHS boundaries are in inhabited areas in hills will be known to very few, eg from looking at the map these past couple of days it appears that the pointy Meall Garbh summit on the Tarmachan ridge is completely unproblematic for me to visit as it's on the Stirling / Perth and Kinross council border, ie the Forth Valley / Tayside NHS border, but the main Munro summit just NE of there is technically advised against for Stirling / Forth Valley people such as myself as it's in Perth and Kinross / Tayside NHS. More to the point in practical terms, the high road up to the Lawers dam is also in Perth and Kinross / Tayside NHS, so (personally) that means I won't be driving there for the next 16 days and hence ascents of the main Lawers summits are out for a while. I'm not short of other options, however.

Post edited at 09:04
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 OwenM 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

All of which begs the question "how does the virus know where the boundaries are"? 

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

>  eg from looking at the map these past couple of days it appears that the pointy Meall Garbh summit on the Tarmachan ridge is completely unproblematic for me to visit as it's on the Stirling / Perth and Kinross council border, ie the Forth Valley / Tayside NHS border, but the main Munro summit just NE of there is technically advised against for Stirling / Forth Valley people such as myself as it's in Perth and Kinross / Tayside NHS. More to the point in practical terms, the high road up to the Lawers dam is also in Perth and Kinross / Tayside NHS, so (personally) that means I won't be driving there for the next 16 days and hence ascents of the main Lawers summits are out for a while. I'm not short of other options, however.

Dave, you're overthinking this by miles! There's no way the people drawing this up care about which part of a mountain ridge you visit - they'll be working in terms of cities, towns and smaller habitations.

Avoiding any risk of passing on an infection to someone outside the Forth Valley area is complying with the spirit and intent of the guidance; there's no need to stick to the letter of the law as it isn't a law in the first place. And the risk of passing it on walking past someone on a hill appears to be somewhere between actually zero, and effectively zero!

Having driven past it two weekends ago, actually getting parked at Lawers may be a challenge, though.

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to OwenM:

> All of which begs the question "how does the virus know where the boundaries are"? 

Of course - but the general idea is to reduce the spread of the virus by reducing unnecessary travel.

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 gman2012 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Indeed. The screen grab half way down this articles is telling. This shows an estimate of where Covid is picked up, by setting. The hospitality sector is by far the largest culprit

The largest culprit of those listed, it states above that the govt has prioritised keeping education and workplace settings open which leaves only a small number of settings where they can act to reduce transmission - hospitality is the highest of those. 

The Scottish evidence paper outlines similar priorities - the infection rate jumped up at the end of the school holidays but they want to keep education and most of the economy open and accept the increased infection coming from that. Not a good time to be working in a non-priority sector.

"32.We want as many as possible of the activities of daily life to continue, and for as much as possible of our economy to remain open. In particular, we support Ministers’ determination to keep schools, colleges and universities open. Loneliness and social isolation is something we are very aware of and wish to minimise. In order to suppress the virus, decision-takers have to take into account the increase in transmission that arises from these settings and priorities. We are aware this poses hard choices about keeping other sectors open"

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to skog:

> Dave, you're overthinking this by miles!

I know - I wouldn't pretend I'm not! During these past few days however I've been quite interested/entertained by looking at where the council / health board boundaries lie, and given that you and I are both in an "easy" area - there's masses of scope for entirely unproblematic hillgoing in Forth Valley NHS - then personally I'm going to be a good boy and stick pretty rigidly with it for the initial 16 days at least. With the very much tighter local restrictions earlier I pushed the envelope a bit at times for what felt like my own wellbeing, but for the next wee while I'm sticking to Forth Valley. Am heading off to Glen Devon in a couple of hours for a final-fling walk there as that's outwith the advised area from 6pm this evening. I know it's all a bit silly and pedantic, and I'm far from in agreement with lots of the advice etc, but maybe part of my way of getting through it is to treat the boundary thing almost as a game.

Having said that, more seriously, on the way out today I'll be dropping off my better half for a garden visit to a friend in Bridge of Allan who has got "long Covid" and is still, six months on, far from well - and the friend almost certainly got the virus due to travelling (dodgy taxi driver en route to a routine NHS appointment back in the spring).

> Having driven past it two weekends ago, actually getting parked at Lawers may be a challenge, though.

Funnily enough I was up that way last Friday and it looked to be much quieter than of late - parked up at the dam which was back to normal levels of busyness for the time of year. (That was the furthest I've travelled this year - 45 miles each way in the car.)

Post edited at 09:38
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In reply to Misha:

> That's a bit too black and white and this thread proves the point. There will be people who will go with the advice, which will reduce some high risk travel (eg family visits). However, being advisory, it doesn't preclude people from low risk travel (eg going climbing / walking). Plus the roads will be less busy.

You have a lot of confidence in peoples' judgement...I don't!

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In reply to Dave Hewitt (and Robert's original question):

I've given this a bit of agonising.

Despite seeing little practical reason to avoid travelling to other areas, in the car, to walk outdoors there - and staying out of towns, shops and garages - I intend sticking to the rules.

It's only 16 days, the rules are there for a good reason, attempting to help with a serious and growing problem, and whether they're right or wrong they're at least a reasonable good-faith attempt.

It does help that the Forth Valley area is really pretty good, yes - and it helps a lot that a specific exemption was made for prearranged holidays, as we have a cottage booked on Skye for the second week. We'll still go to that, but take as much as we can with us, stay out of shops and garages as far as possible, and do what we can to keep indoors contact with people to an absolute safe minimum.

I'm not passing judgement on anyone that travels outside their area to do distanced outdoors activities and avoids people, shops and garages while there, though.

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In reply to skog:

> It does help that the Forth Valley area is really pretty good, yes - and it helps a lot that a specific exemption was made for prearranged holidays, as we have a cottage booked on Skye for the second week.

What if my "pre-arranged holiday" (or at least pre-intended holiday) is to chuck my stuff in the car and go wherever the weather looks best, roadside dossing with effectively no human contact, except possibly meeting up with someone else from the Central Belt for the odd day walking?  I hardly ever "pre-arrange" a holiday in the UK!

Post edited at 11:52
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In reply to Robert Durran:

I don't know, follow your own conscience and keep it safe.

Nicola Sturgeon specifically said:

"We are not imposing mandatory travel restrictions at this stage, and specifically, we are not insisting that people cancel any half term breaks they have planned."

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 S Andrew 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I’d say go for it. You shouldn’t be penalised simply because you’re not paying for accommodation and the risk of COVID transmission is probably negligible compared to many going on booked holidays with more human interaction.

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In reply to Misha:

> That's crazy. How many people know which health board area they live in and where its boundaries are? Surely local restrictions should correspond with reasonably well known local boundaries (and even then most people won't know exactly where the boundaries are but that doesn't really matter as long as people have a rough idea).

I assume the test/trace, death, hospital admission data they are basing this on is collected by the health boards so local restrictions based on the data fall on health board boundaries.

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In reply to skog:

Could I ask what the downvotes on my "I'll follow the rules but not criticise anyone who doesn't, but takes care" post are for?

Purely to understand - it seems a pretty reasonable and inoffensive stance to me, but maybe I've missed something I need to think about?

(My initial emotional response to the new rules was anger, that restrictions are being imposed on things I love that are very low risk. But I've cooled down since and accepted that it's just a blanket rule imposed for a short time to minimise damage - and it specifically has exceptions, and isn't law anyway so allows some discretion.)

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 Michael Gordon 09 Oct 2020
In reply to skog:

It may be that you were seen as taking the high ground from a fortunate lofty pedestal, i.e. following the rules technically but not in spirit (going to Skye) while others on day trips to hills may be breaking the rules technically but less riskily. But just a guess, I didn't click anything and am certainly not judging.

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

Maybe. I'd have thought that would have been covered by the fact that going on a planned break is very specifically within the letter AND spirit of the rules as announced by the First Minister, but maybe people weren't actually paying attention to the announcement.

Or maybe it's the opposite, someone's annoyed that I won't be spending much money in local businesses on Skye while I'm there.

Or they're annoyed that I accept the restrictions as more or less reasonable.

Or they think we should be going above and beyond the restrictions of our own initiative.

Or that they don't think it's reasonable to be accepting of others carefully breaking the rules.

Or that they have a big thumb and clicked while scrolling.

It could be anything, really, there's no way to tell if they won't say; I just asked in case it was someone who had a point worth listening to.

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 Lankyman 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> What if my "pre-arranged holiday" (or at least pre-intended holiday) is to chuck my stuff in the car and go wherever the weather looks best, roadside dossing with effectively no human contact, except possibly meeting up with someone else from the Central Belt for the odd day walking?  I hardly ever "pre-arrange" a holiday in the UK!


This sounds very like what I intended to do next week. I live in northern England (not one of the hotspots) and would consider myself low risk for having/transmitting covid. The loose 'plan' was to aim for Morvern and Ardnamurchan but could have veered east if the weather looked better than the west. I'd drive through and beyond the central belt without stopping. However, I'd feel I was sticking two fingers up to Scots who are following the advice to stay local. Instead I'm heading into the Lakes to haul my filthy carcass over a few fells I've not done for a while. May even complete my Wainwrights nearly 50 years after doing my first one. 2020 will be my first Scotland-less year for a long, long time.

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 jpicksley 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

I've read this type of response a lot. I mean where people are worrying about what it will look like to other people who make different decisions (that's how the "two fingers" comment read to me, sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth). For what it's worth, my opinion is that if it's not actually illegal (i.e. it's a suggestion) and you can properly social distance and your conscience can cope with it, then do whatever it is you want to do. What other people think is up to them and they will follow their own conscience. If they want to be judgmental good luck to them. Personally I don't care what judgments other people make on me. They don't know me or my behaviour. The key point is to social distance. All of the guidelines and new laws are tools to guide/make people social distance. I dare say that every one on here is intelligent enough to know what social distancing means and how to do it. If we all behave sensibly then whether anyone on here decides to go up a hill or up a climb is not going to make one iota of difference to the spread of this virus. Anyway, I hope you all have a good weekend, my fellow threaders. Stay safe.

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 Lankyman 09 Oct 2020
In reply to jpicksley:

> I've read this type of response a lot. I mean where people are worrying about what it will look like to other people who make different decisions (that's how the "two fingers" comment read to me, sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth). For what it's worth, my opinion is that if it's not actually illegal (i.e. it's a suggestion) and you can properly social distance and your conscience can cope with it, then do whatever it is you want to do.

I'm sure everyone can justify themselves as an exception. However, there is such a thing as showing solidarity with others who are being asked to curtail their activities . I would definitely like to go to Scotland but just because it's not illegal doesn't make it right. My conscience would definitely not rest easy. If we all just act as individuals, only acting out of self-interest, then no-one is safe. I work in retail and have to deal with people every day who see no reason to wear a mask, social distance, wash hands etc because they are 'special' and, hey, what difference does one person make? The reality is, no - that one individual probably is safe but we all have to act socially to tackle this. To all you Scots staying local: stick with it, hopefully it'll pass soon and I'll come and see you next year?

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In reply to Lankyman:

> I'm sure everyone can justify themselves as an exception. However, there is such a thing as showing solidarity with others who are being asked to curtail their activities . I would definitely like to go to Scotland but just because it's not illegal doesn't make it right.

Follow your conscience, of course - but not only is it not illegal for you to come, it isn't against the advice -at all-.

It's people -living in- the restricted Central Belt health board areas that are being asked not to travel out of them unnecessarily, and others not to travel -to- them unnecessarily.

You, or someone from, say, Orkney, are not being requested to stay away from the Highlands.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52646738

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 jpicksley 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

I think you misunderstand me. I'm not making out that I'm an exception and I'm not attempting to justify myself as one. On the contrary. I explicitly said we should all social distance and behave sensibly, which is contrary to us all behaving as individuals and acting out of self-interest. Clearly there are people out there behaving like that, but I'm not one of them. If your conscience doesn't allow you to come to Scotland then that's fine, it's your conscience and your choice but please don't misrepresent me.

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 jpicksley 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

The link that skog has posted makes it very clear. You should feel free to come to Scotland (other than the Central Belt of course), so please come and have a good time. Unless your conscience tells you otherwise. In which case go somewhere else and have a good time there instead 

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 gman2012 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

The government's medical advisors prepared an evidence paper which did not recommend travel limits.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-evidence-paper-october-2020/

The government then published its new guidelines based on the paper, again no travel limits.

https://www.gov.scot/news/new-moves-to-stop-covid-19-spread/

Sturgeon presented the guidelines in a speech at which point she added the travel limits. These don't seem to be based on any advice from her medical experts, so it's understandable that people will question them and this could undermine compliance with the guidelines that actually have a scientific basis. 

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to gman2012:

An "additional measures" document was published yesterday:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-additional-measures-october-2020/

The relevant bit re travel says:

we want people to be safe. We are not advising that people who have already booked holiday accommodation in October need to cancel. More generally, please think about whether you need to travel, especially if you live in or would be travelling to, or through, the central belt. The Scottish Government is asking people within the central belt areas (see end note for definition) to think carefully about whether they need to travel outside their local health board area and, where that is necessary, to plan to do so safely

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to skog:

> Follow your conscience, of course - but not only is it not illegal for you to come, it isn't against the advice -at all-.

> It's people -living in- the restricted Central Belt health board areas that are being asked not to travel out of them unnecessarily, and others not to travel -to- them unnecessarily.

I'm not sure that's correct - my reading of that "additional measures" document is that even if one doesn't live in the five problematic areas the advice is that one shouldn't travel through without good reason - hence someone from the Borders or Cumbria or wherever shouldn't really drive north to the Highlands unless it's pre-booked stuff or work etc:

"please think about whether you need to travel, especially if you live in or would be travelling to, or through, the central belt"

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-additional-measures-october-2020/

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 Michael Gordon 09 Oct 2020
In reply to skog:

> Maybe. I'd have thought that would have been covered by the fact that going on a planned break is very specifically within the letter AND spirit of the rules as announced by the First Minister> 

It's certainly within the letter of the law. Whether it's in the spirit of the thing is a matter of opinion.

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 gman2012 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

The timing of this is a bit suspicious, looks like her speech took everyone by surprise. Still not based on advice from her medical advisors, unless she has persuaded the Chief Medical Officer to edit their evidence paper!

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to gman2012:

> The timing of this is a bit suspicious, looks like her speech took everyone by surprise.

Dunno - thinking back over earlier SG publications re Covid (I seem to have read an inordinate number of these over the past few months!), there's often been a two- or three-day lag between the verbal announcement by the FM and the actual details appearing online.

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

If that's what you want to think, I'm not going to convince you otherwise. But it was -explicitly- stated by the first minister during the -very same- briefing as the suggested travel restrictions, so I've no idea where you're getting that from.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-speech-7-october-2020/

People appear to be making up their own rules now. Fine, but I'm not interested, I'm going to carry on doing my best to stick to the actual rules.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Ok, that's new. It's also ludicrous, someone driving up the A74, M80 and A9 without stopping isn't going to pick up covid in the Central Belt by osmosis.

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In reply to skog:

> Ok, that's new. It's also ludicrous, someone driving up the A74, M80 and A9 without stopping isn't going to pick up covid in the Central Belt by osmosis.

It seems that all these guidelines assume that people can't go half an hour without visiting a cafe or a gift shop or stopping in paid accomodation. I'm going to go on the spirit of them rather than the absolute word. 

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> May even complete my Wainwrights nearly 50 years after doing my first one.

Go for it - I completed mine a couple of years ago (scorching conditions on Catbells, a mere 35 years for the full set) and it felt like a satisfying thing to have done. Plus I have friends with 19 and 15 rounds respectively, and I didn't want to feel left out!

> 2020 will be my first Scotland-less year for a long, long time.

Similar-in-reverse here - the last year when I didn't have at least one Lakes raid from Scotland was 1995. Haven't managed one thus far this year, but we have a wedding to attend in Coniston in December so that should do the trick, with a couple of fell days tacked on. Can't actually attend the wedding - we were in the chosen 30 but not in the new-fangled 15 - but it's getting livestreamed to the nearby hotel, seemingly. Modern life.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

Yeah, I don't think that's unreasonable, really, especially for someone who's stuck to the school holidays for their time off.

I'm still going to stick to them, though; I've cancelled several of my days off next week as we were going to be weather-chasing and camping and that's pretty much out. Work's really busy just now anyway, so it's maybe no bad thing for me. And we still have the second week, and I can take a couple of long weekends off later, restrictions permitting.

I suspect the travel "restrictions" may have just been a last minute panic measure to try to stop people going to neighbouring health board areas to go to the pub.

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In reply to skog:

> I'm still going to stick to them, though; I've cancelled several of my days off next week as we were going to be weather-chasing and camping and that's pretty much out. 

Forecast looking great from about Tuesday though🙂

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In reply to Robert Durran:

Ach, typical!

I hope you get good use of it.

I can always take the kids bivvying overnight on Beinn Each or something.

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 Fat Bumbly2 09 Oct 2020
In reply to skog:

In a low incidence, few hills, council area (East Lothian) sucked in by the health board thing - will keep to my mid term holiday plans with a clear conscience. 

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

If the concern is to a large extent about younger people, they don't deal with the NHS much so might have no idea. Besides, NHS trust boundaries can be / are different between primary, secondary and ambulance trusts. May be not in Scotland but certainly here in England. I guess people can look on a map but it has to be easy and instinctive for people to follow.

Any kind of local lockdown boundary in a mountainous area is completely meaningless and pointless of course. 

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In reply to gman2012:

Indeed. To be fair, I think most people would agree that schools have to remain open. The damage done to children's life prospects through continued closure would be massive. I think they could have had more of a push to keep Uni courses online though. Not everything can be online of course but even if they could move some of it online it would help.

Apparently those stats I linked to might be a bit shoddy - based on fairly limited research. Still, it makes sense that hospitality is going to be way up there in terms of transmission vectors, once 'essential' settings are factored out.

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In reply to skog:

> It's only 16 days

I applaud your approach but would you still be saying this when the same restrictions are still in place in 16 weeks' time...

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In reply to S Andrew:

> You shouldn’t be penalised simply because you’re not paying for accommodation and the risk of COVID transmission is probably negligible compared to many going on booked holidays with more human interaction.

Ah but that common sense. Whereas what the various governments are saying is that stuff which involves spending money and keeping the economy going is fine, whereas other things need to be restricted, like visiting friends and family. Otherwise they would have closed the pubs long ago... That said, visiting friends and family isn't necessarily a great idea either right now for many people.

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In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Of course. That doesn't mean that the restrictions have to map across to exactly the same areas - they need to be easy for people to follow, that is the priority. The whole thing about restrictions is a total mess. Hopefully the traffic light system will help. I also think that restrictions should never have been a devolved matter for Scotland and Wales, not for any reason of politics but because it created even more mess and confusion (whereas NI should have aligned with RoI).

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Fat Bumbly2:

> In a low incidence, few hills, council area (East Lothian) sucked in by the health board thing - will keep to my mid term holiday plans with a clear conscience. 

I've also heard that people in South Lanarkshire - much of it pretty quiet and rural - were less than chuffed at being lumped in with the previous lot of Greater Glasgow restrictions a month or so ago. People living on the edge of any affected area, and who have quieter/nicer places just over the NHS border, are also awkwardly placed in this - logic would suggest trundling along to the quieter places for headspace/exercise, but conscience or civic duty or whatever might suggest otherwise. At least it's nowhere near as restrictive as the earlier five-mile limit - the health board areas are all quite large, so everyone does have a lot of scope to go somewhere - plus it's only for 16 days, in theory at least.

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Besides, NHS trust boundaries can be / are different between primary, secondary and ambulance trusts. May be not in Scotland but certainly here in England. I guess people can look on a map but it has to be easy and instinctive for people to follow.

This is mainly a Scotland-related discussion I guess - as per the thread header and the ongoing developments - but in England are the NHS Trusts aligned with county boundaries? I'm too long away and I forget how it works. Thankfully my sister in Ilkeston is on the Derbyshire side of the Erewash given the spike in cases and imminent restrictions across on the Notts side of things.

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In reply to Lankyman:

> I'm sure everyone can justify themselves as an exception. However, there is such a thing as showing solidarity with others who are being asked to curtail their activities

Well, almost everyone showed solidarity back in spring (I did) and what good did it do in the end? Here we are, going into the second wave, partly due to government incompetence and partly due to human nature. I'm not saying the lockdown was completely wrong or that the new restrictions are completely wrong. The issue is that restrictions are a blunt instrument and don't cater at all well for our niche activities (outdoors, alone or with one or two others).

To my mind, it doesn't seem worthwhile making 'sacrifices' such as curtailing our activities when realistically the risk is low. The irony is that there are things I can do at the moment which I won't do because they are high risk, such as going to the pub (perhaps not for much longer!). In the coming weeks and months, there may well be things I won't be allowed to do (same as back in spring) where the risk is low. It makes no sense! 

People not wearing masks or SDing in retail and other public environments are just selfish, stupid or both. There is actually a meaningful level of risk there.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

If you travel through without stopping, what on earth would the issue be? I'd say stopping at a services is fine as well if you take suitable precautions. However the Central Belt is narrow enough to pass through without stopping at all.

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In reply to Misha:

> That said, visiting friends and family isn't necessarily a great idea either right now for many people.

It definitely isn't and so is quite rightly not allowed in Scotland. One has to go to the climbing wall to see one's friends (indoors at least). I've no idea what people who don't climb do!

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I'm showing my ignorance of local boundaries in Scotland here but in England it's a real mix. You've got county councils, city councils within county council areas and unitary authorities such as Birmingham which aren't part of county council areas at all. Then you've got primary, secondary and ambulance NHS trusts (plus separate ones for things like mental health). The various trusts are grouped into several (about 10?) NHS areas (probably not the right term) and people really wouldn't know where the boundaries of those are!

We have some special rules in Birmingham (no visiting other people at home, broadly) and this was imposed on the city council area (just over 1 million people - we are the largest unitary authority in the country I think). Same in neighbouring Solihull, Sandwell and Wolverhampton but not Dudley or Walsall. If you look at a map, all of these are just one big urban blob. Of course I know where roughly all of these areas are but I don't know exactly where the boundary between Birmingham and Sandwell is - there is no obvious geographic separation, just some random roads which the boundary follows. The same for Birmingham and Solihull, although at least the street name signs are a different colour in Solihull so you can tell which area you're in if you're actually on the ground. If they ever try to impose local travel restrictions by city council area, it would be ridiculous here.

Then you have the people living on the border. My parents live in Newmarket, which is in Suffolk but surrounded on three sides by Cambridgeshire. In the course of an hour's walk from their house, it's possible to cross the county boundary several times. One of the popular footpaths runs along the border so you could have one leg on each side. I know this is an extreme example but it demonstrates that local restrictions can be absurd and people can't be blamed for exercising common sense. In some ways, it would be better if they asked people not to travel beyond a radius of X miles or a drive of longer than X minutes with average traffic.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> I've no idea what people who don't climb do!

I imagine a fair few of them go to the pub (if it's still open) and/or go to see their friends and family at home anyway.

If the 'no visits' rules are still in place at Xmas (which common sense suggests should be the case), it would be interesting to see how many people will break the rules. I imagine BoJo (don't know about Nicola) will issue some kind of reprieve as he won't want to be seen as the Grinch who stole Xmas and of course it's a key time of year for retail and hospitality. So we can have a semi lockdown in November followed by a semi lockdown in January and lots of people dying, all so that people could go to visit the in-laws who they probably didn't really want to visit anyway...

The world is full of contradictions these days...

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 Dave Hewitt 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Misha:

> I'm showing my ignorance of local boundaries in Scotland here but in England it's a real mix.

Thanks - interesting. I've had a look at my old haunts in Derbyshire and the NHS Trust there does seem to map on to the actual county boundary, including Derby itself - Derby is a unitary authority but has usefully stayed part of the county proper.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derbyshire_Healthcare_NHS_Foundation_Trust

I know from experience that county boundaries can create complications in England in NHS terms in a way they seem not to do here in Scotland. When my father died - out like a light at home in Derbyshire - the ambulance carted him off to the nearest hospital, King's Mill - but that's across in Notts. He was officially declared dead there, and when it came to getting the death certificate ahead of the funeral, this created problems and the registrar (very good, and probably well used to dealing with such issues) said it was best to put that he died in Notts - even though we all knew that he actually died sitting in his favourite chair at home in Derbys while having his supper. By contrast, I think that if I'd died in Glen Devon earlier today - in NHS Tayside even though I live in NHS Forth Valley - then there probably wouldn't have been much problem.

Post edited at 22:11
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 Michael Gordon 09 Oct 2020
In reply to skog:

I just said it was a matter of opinion. I'm not sure the first minister went into much detail about the spirit of the legislation. And anyway, there isn't any legislation! So I wouldn't worry about it.

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 Michael Gordon 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It seems that all these guidelines assume that people can't go half an hour without visiting a cafe or a gift shop or stopping in paid accomodation. I'm going to go on the spirit of them rather than the absolute word. 

Quite right. And with some justification, one could have done the exact same thing during lockdown.

Post edited at 23:33
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In reply to Misha:

> Of course. That doesn't mean that the restrictions have to map across to exactly the same areas - they need to be easy for people to follow, that is the priority.

No doubt if they had a six months or a year to write the software they could remap the data they have collected and use some other boundary from health board areas.  But they don't  they are in the situation where R>1 and infections are growing rapidly.  Moving fast is more important than getting everything perfect.    Take a week to get a more considered response and you are dealing with a problem that is 1.5x larger.

> The whole thing about restrictions is a total mess. Hopefully the traffic light system will help. I also think that restrictions should never have been a devolved matter for Scotland and Wales, not for any reason of politics but because it created even more mess and confusion (whereas NI should have aligned with RoI).

I totally disagree with this.  Westminster has been the least competent of all the governments.  It has consistently reacted too slowly and mixed in incompetence and corruption for good measure.

We do not need a perfect system of restrictions to get R < 1 again.   If the restrictions clamp down on the largest factors quickly and they send a general message to the public that the sh*t is approaching the fan and they should be more careful that could be enough.

Post edited at 04:02
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 Fat Bumbly2 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Misha:

England was never going to fall in line with the (slightly) better run countries. Only so far you can go to help those who don’t know where they live.

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 Fat Bumbly2 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Still going *and I don’t think you understand how it felt after being told that there would be no national travel restrictions.. The health board trick came out of the blue, just like that relaxation in May which introduced the 5 mile thing. Yesterday I had to travel 100km to spend the day indoors in a crowd. Next week I will do the same to be on my own.... the actual 16 days is rather well (cynically delayed?, )timed for my profession.  May feel different if you are “allowed” half of Perthshire.  
 

Spare a thought for our businesses (and those in rural Lanarkshire)

*unless the estate cancels the booking.
 

Post edited at 08:27
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 Michael Gordon 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Misha:

> I also think that restrictions should never have been a devolved matter for Scotland and Wales, not for any reason of politics but because it created even more mess and confusion (whereas NI should have aligned with RoI).

I'm always mystified by this idea of different approaches causing confusion. I mean, can't you just work out which country you're in (shouldn't take too long) and observe the restrictions for your own region?

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In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

They have had 6 months! It’s just that none of the governments have used that time wisely to devise a sensible and robust approach to the second wave. None of them! I get that BoJo assumed there won’t be a second wave but what was ‘cautious’ Nicola doing? She must have assumed they could keep a lid on it, kind of forgetting about the border. They are all making it up on the hoof now, which is pathetic.

I agree BoJo has been incompetent but what I meant was the restriction levels have to be the same everywhere. 3 to 5 levels and everyone knows what they entail. They can then be imposed locally by / in consultation with local authorities. My point is it’s way too confusing now, so people might know an area has restrictions but won’t necessarily know what those restrictions are.

The other thing which strikes me is the whilst Wales and Scotland have been more cautious with the unlock, which seemed sensible at the time, it didn’t do them any good in the end. Infection rates now are comparable again - partly (mostly?) I suspect due to being next door to England. I feel sorry for my climbing friends in Scotland and Wales as they were restricted for longer and it has turned out that this was, essentially, pointless.

I’m now wondering about next summer. Let’s hope a vaccine starts getting rolled out to vulnerable groups in spring. The big question is whether it will have been administered to a large enough number of people to avoid having a third wave this time next year. I imagine we’ll still have SD but hopefully no significant restrictions. However I fear that BoJo’s incompetence will result in massive delays with the vaccine roll out, which will be the next scandal... 

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

You can. What about visitors?

I went to Pembroke back in early August and was surprised to see that face masks weren’t obligatory in shops - which meant most people don’t bother wearing them.

Besides, there are local restrictions which vary from one local area to another. Less so in Scotland and Wales but even then, surely a traffic light system makes sense?

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 Michael Gordon 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Misha:

> You can. What about visitors?>

If you're visiting another country then you've got to make the effort to find out their rules. 

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 Dave Hewitt 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Fat Bumbly2:

> Still going *and I don’t think you understand how it felt after being told that there would be no national travel restrictions.. The health board trick came out of the blue, just like that relaxation in May which introduced the 5 mile thing.

I can't remember exactly how the FM phrased the "no travel ban" thing before the announcement, but I was always a bit sceptical about that - it was very carefully worded and seemed to have a fair amount of fudge/wriggle room in it. Plus I usually adopt the Paxman Principle with regard to what politicians-in-power say - whether they're at Westminster or Holyrood or wherever.

Feels like what a large part of Scotland now has a regional travel ban - or a requested ban as per the advice.

> May feel different if you are “allowed” half of Perthshire.  

For sure - there's no doubt that outdoorsy people based in NHS Forth Valley are better placed in this than others based in the Lothians or indeed any of the other four areas. Someone on Walkhighlands rather mournfully made the point that s/he lives in Dumbarton, 250 metres from the edge of the council/health board area, and is thus being advised not to travel to the nearby hills up the west side of Loch Lomond because those are in Argyll and Bute council which at some stage was swallowed up by NHS Highland. It's all a bit of a postcode - or perhaps grid reference - lottery.

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 OwenM 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

But it's not even the whole country, it's just some parts. How many English people know where South Lanarkshire starts and finish let alone Forth Valley health board area.

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 Dave Hewitt 10 Oct 2020
In reply to OwenM:

> But it's not even the whole country, it's just some parts. How many English people know where South Lanarkshire starts and finish let alone Forth Valley health board area.

Agreed, but in a way they don't need to - the five NHS regions cited effectively form a buffer zone across central Scotland, and it's not possible to drive to or from the Highlands without passing through at least one of the five areas.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

I assume this is in Rocktalk as it encourages more banging heads against stone walls. Groundhogs are out in force. Give it a rest,guys ,go to the hills to continue preserving your health and sanity in an appropriate socially distanced manner.

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In reply to gman2012:

> Sturgeon presented the guidelines in a speech at which point she added the travel limits. These don't seem to be based on any advice from her medical experts, so it's understandable that people will question them and this could undermine compliance with the guidelines that actually have a scientific basis. 

Let's not forget how fast this is getting worse.   The advice the day before she made her speech could have been different from what was considered reasonable when preparing an earlier paper.

Look at the graph of infections and it is pretty clear why the regulations are changing fast.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-cases-latest-uk-lockdown-second-wave-france-spain-b930991.html

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In reply to Misha:

> The other thing which strikes me is the whilst Wales and Scotland have been more cautious with the unlock, which seemed sensible at the time, it didn’t do them any good in the end. Infection rates now are comparable again - partly (mostly?) I suspect due to being next door to England. 

That's my take.  The Scottish Government had the right idea - get infections really low over summer so that schools could be opened safely in autumn.   But it didn't work out for them because of cross-border transmission, dependence on UK government furlough schemes and sustained hostility and misinformation from the media which is largely controlled by UK government and London based rich right wingers.   The power and influence of the Scottish Government wasn't sufficient to stay in control with Westminster pushing for faster reopening.

The University thing was the final straw.  Thousands of students moving from high infection to low infection area and mixing.   It was an error but it was a forced error.  Scottish Universities would not have been able to pay their staff if they hadn't re-opened with face to face teaching when English Universities were doing so.   I suspect reopening secondary schools may also prove to be an error.

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 Oceanrower 10 Oct 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Hostility, Tom? Well, you'd know more about that than most on here...

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 Lankyman 10 Oct 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> That's my take.  The Scottish Government had the right idea - get infections really low over summer so that schools could be opened safely in autumn.   But it didn't work out for them because of cross-border transmission, dependence on UK government furlough schemes and sustained hostility and misinformation from the media which is largely controlled by UK government and London based rich right wingers.   The power and influence of the Scottish Government wasn't sufficient to stay in control with Westminster pushing for faster reopening.

> The University thing was the final straw.  Thousands of students moving from high infection to low infection area and mixing.   It was an error but it was a forced error.  Scottish Universities would not have been able to pay their staff if they hadn't re-opened with face to face teaching when English Universities were doing so.   I suspect reopening secondary schools may also prove to be an error.


There you go again, blaming it all on the filthy English. I'm in the Lakes just now but could just nip up there to reinforce your prejudices.

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 Dave Hewitt 10 Oct 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The University thing was the final straw.  Thousands of students moving from high infection to low infection area and mixing.   

That theory doesn't seem to hold with regard to the Glasgow situation, given that Glasgow University has for decades been very "in on itself", with an unusually high proportion of students from the local area. That would suggest the recent spike in student cases there relates more to behaviour and/or being crammed together in accommodation, rather than the students having arrived en masse from elsewhere.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Last  Covid case in Arran was in May. Visitors have been coming and going since July _ no more cases. My area of NW Highlands  has had no cases attributable to tourism during same period.  My daughter's post code area of Glasgow has the same weekly rate of infection as much of Highland Region. 

​​​​

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 Fat Bumbly2 10 Oct 2020
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

Arran has been very much shafted - by a bureaucrat's pen c. 1974.  

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In reply to Lankyman:

> There you go again, blaming it all on the filthy English. I'm in the Lakes just now but could just nip up there to reinforce your prejudices.

The virus isn't the fault of the English.  It would have been bad no matter what.

However, the response to the virus is the fault of the English.  We can see where the Scottish Government would have gone if we were an independent country from the actions they take with the powers they have.  We can also see where the Westminster Tories have gone and they have f*cked up at every turn.   It is the English who elected them.  Scotland has not voted Tory since the 1950s.   

The scale of the current problems is totally due to the Tories in England opening up too fast and too far over summer instead of being cautious and to the Tories completely f*cking up the UK level resources such as test labs by handing contracts to their incompetent friends.   

The whole Brexit thing is also completely the fault of the English Tories and the colonial government of Scotland by England.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> That theory doesn't seem to hold with regard to the Glasgow situation, given that Glasgow University has for decades been very "in on itself", with an unusually high proportion of students from the local area. That would suggest the recent spike in student cases there relates more to behaviour and/or being crammed together in accommodation, rather than the students having arrived en masse from elsewhere.

I don't think it works like that.   It only takes one asymptomatic super spreader to start an outbreak.  When you mix students from high infection areas with students from low infection areas you are rolling the dice.  

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 Lankyman 10 Oct 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The virus isn't the fault of the English.  It would have been bad no matter what.

> However, the response to the virus is the fault of the English.  We can see where the Scottish Government would have gone if we were an independent country from the actions they take with the powers they have.  We can also see where the Westminster Tories have gone and they have f*cked up at every turn.   It is the English who elected them.  Scotland has not voted Tory since the 1950s.   

> The scale of the current problems is totally due to the Tories in England opening up too fast and too far over summer instead of being cautious and to the Tories completely f*cking up the UK level resources such as test labs by handing contracts to their incompetent friends.   

> The whole Brexit thing is also completely the fault of the English Tories and the colonial government of Scotland by England.


John 11:35

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 Oceanrower 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> John 11:35

No. Tom 16:33.

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In reply to Oceanrower:

As usual every time I think things are bad, it turns out they are far worse:

English NHS document instructs contact tracers not to follow up infections in schools:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1314969372641894401/photo/1

Take that in the context of this graph showing obvious exponential growth in new cases:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-cases-latest-uk-lockdown-second-wave-france-spain-b930991.html

They either simply can't keep up or they are intentionally not collecting numbers because if the numbers were collected they'd show the schools could be closed.

Post edited at 19:44
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In reply to Michael Gordon:

Having the same traffic light system everywhere in E, W & S would make it easier for people, don’t you think? Compliance with all these rules has to be made as easy as possible, otherwise people won’t comply to the same extent. That’s just common sense.

It’s not reasonable to expect people to keep up with lots of different rules in different areas. The local rules are different in different areas. That is certainly the case in England. To be fair, Scotland and Wales seem to be more consistent in terms of the levels of local restrictions. Still, a single traffic light system across all of E, W & S would make a lot more sense, considering there are cross border workers and holiday makers (of course fewer of those these days).

Unfortunately politics gets in the way of cooperation.

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In reply to OwenM:

Exactly. I suppose people should check before they travel. Again, that should be made simple. A single national website for E, W & S with maps and rules for all the areas. Really not that hard to set up. Plus local advertising on motorways and billboards. 

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Agreed, but in a way they don't need to - the five NHS regions cited effectively form a buffer zone across central Scotland, and it's not possible to drive to or from the Highlands without passing through at least one of the five areas.

But people will do, until it’s made illegal, and even then some people will do. I’m not itching to visit Scotland at the moment and I doubt I’ll get any winter climbing done up there this year as the restrictions will only get worse. However if someone drives through an area without stopping, there is no harm done whatsoever. 

Post edited at 23:53
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In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Whilst I agree BoJo’s government is useless, I don’t think many governments around the world have come out of this well and who knows how Scotland would have fared as an independent country. After all, Covid measures are devolved, as is health. I think test and trace is as well - at any rate, it’s certainly not Public Health England in charge of it in Scotland. Nicola is a very good politician and I have nothing against her but being a good politician doesn’t mean someone is good at fighting pandemics...

NZ have done well. In Europe, Latvia was doing well but even there cases are going up now. The Nordics didn’t do badly. Essentially, small, geographically isolated countries where the virus took longer to get established and action was taken relatively early. I don’t know if Scotland actually fits that profile. You didn’t lock down earlier and I suspect there were a fair few imported cases from the half term ski breaks, quite possibly the same level per head of population (just speculating here). China has also managed to suppress it, if their stats are to be believed, but that’s because they are a dictatorship, the government can do whatever it likes and the population had to obey or else.

Having England next door certainly didn’t help but bear in mind also that schools opened earlier in Scotland. You started from a lower base of infections but had a couple more weeks of schools being open. The reopening of hospitality was a few weeks later but it was enough to get the ball rolling. The end result, for various reasons, is not much different to England.

I agree that more should have been done to move Uni courses online as far as possible - not possible for all courses of course. I completely disagree that schools should be closed. That should be the absolute last resort. School closures are massively damaging to children’s life chances. Close pubs, walls, shops, whatever, but not schools.

Post edited at 23:56
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In reply to Oceanrower:

> Hostility, Tom? Well, you'd know more about that than most on here...

I am hostile as f*ck.  The difference is I don't own the Telegraph or the Times or the Mail or even the Independent.   I'm hostile with no influence.  The Tories and the rich b*stards that own the London newspapers are hostile and malevolent and have huge influence.  

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In reply to Misha:

I agree with a lot of what you say.  The school and university term starting earlier is certainly a reason why Scotland hit this wave first and the gap to England closed.  However, it is not over, this is not the final state of play.  My guess is the gap will widen again as England gets the same effect from its schools and unis opening.   A smart government in Westminster would have learned from what happened in Scotland and done something different.

Scotland can't really move too far from England's policies because anything radically different would cost money and the Tories control the money.  If Richy Rich decides to stop funding furlough then Scotland can't do anything which would require furlough.    The SNP government actually co-operated on four nations approaches to many things including some PPE sourcing and shared test labs.  That was a mistake.  Possibly a forced error and probably they never thought for a minute the Tories would be so brazen about awarding contracts to unqualified mates.   Sturgeon will also know that if she goes too far the Tories will the Covid emergency as an excuse for removing powers.

I don't want to close schools but I think they are going to be the next outbreak spots after unis.  My daughter now has several people in her year group with positive tests and others isolating.  A few weeks ago the cold went round the school despite Covid precautions.    S5 and S6 students have siblings at Uni and they have friends who are freshers at Uni.  Some of them have a social life which they haven't put on hold.     Possibly primary school children don't catch Covid as easily but S5 and S6 aren't going to be any different from freshers at Uni.

Post edited at 05:13
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 Fat Bumbly2 11 Oct 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Two colds so far this term.... Third time unlucky?

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 JohnBson 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I sort of agree. I'd rather just be told what to do rather than have to weigh up the morality of the whole thing for myself and then have to watch other people coming to other conclusions.

And thus the dictatorship started. It's not about morality as much as about risk and acceptable levels to the individual and the society they live in. Your distrust of others is probably rooted in a deep distrust of the self, this neurosis must be quite a burden but not one society should be forced to bear. 

>I only found the initial lockdown stressful once people started opting out of the 5 mile rule because it wasn't actually illegal.

You sound like you are overly scared about this, if it wasn't illegal it was because it was either unnecessary or impossible to make law because it would infringe civil liberties to an unlawful degree.

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 JohnBson 11 Oct 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I agree with a lot of what you say.  The school and university term starting earlier is certainly a reason why Scotland hit this wave first and the gap to England closed.  However, it is not over, this is not the final state of play.  My guess is the gap will widen again as England gets the same effect from its schools and unis opening.   A smart government in Westminster would have learned from what happened in Scotland and done something different.

> Scotland can't really move too far from England's policies because anything radically different would cost money and the Tories control the money.  If Richy Rich decides to stop funding furlough then Scotland can't do anything which would require furlough.    The SNP government actually co-operated on four nations approaches to many things including some PPE sourcing and shared test labs.  That was a mistake.  Possibly a forced error and probably they never thought for a minute the Tories would be so brazen about awarding contracts to unqualified mates.   Sturgeon will also know that if she goes too far the Tories will the Covid emergency as an excuse for removing powers.

> I don't want to close schools but I think they are going to be the next outbreak spots after unis.  My daughter now has several people in her year group with positive tests and others isolating.  A few weeks ago the cold went round the school despite Covid precautions.    S5 and S6 students have siblings at Uni and they have friends who are freshers at Uni.  Some of them have a social life which they haven't put on hold.     Possibly primary school children don't catch Covid as easily but S5 and S6 aren't going to be any different from freshers at Uni.

Wow you're literally primed to be a conspiracy theory type. Soon you'll be sucked in by a bot network and give up critical think entirely. Some lizard men are coming for you! Look it up ;-)

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In reply to JohnBson:

> Wow you're literally primed to be a conspiracy theory type. Soon you'll be sucked in by a bot network and give up critical think entirely. Some lizard men are coming for you! Look it up ;-)

There is not a single conspiracy theory in what I posted.

It may not fit with the world view of the Daily Mail or Telegraph or BBC but that's not my problem.

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In reply to Fat Bumbly2:

> Two colds so far this term.... Third time unlucky?

One cold.  And I really hope we don't get unlucky with regard to Covid but I feel the odds are getting worse.  It's getting close to my personal risk tolerance limit. 

I think there's a lot of wishful thinking going on.

Catching the cold at school is not a rare event.  It happens pretty much every year. 

The official numbers show almost 1% of the population in some student districts in Edinburgh currently have a positive Covid test.

People tend to have kids only a few years apart.   It is very likely that someone in S5 or S6 at school will have siblings at Uni.  In Scotland someone in S6 could have left school after S5 and already be at Uni so it is likely there will be friendship groups crossing between school and uni.  So why would anyone think there isn't going to be infection into schools when there is a high rate of infection in first year uni.

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In reply to JohnBson:

> And thus the dictatorship started. It's not about morality as much as about risk and acceptable levels to the individual and the society they live in. Your distrust of others is probably rooted in a deep distrust of the self, this neurosis must be quite a burden but not one society should be forced to bear. 

What on earth are you on about? Any non legally enforceable blanket guidance is there for a reason. Depending on one's personal circumstances, there may be difficult decisions to make as to the the extent to which one might comply to be acting within the spirit of the guidance. 

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 Dave Hewitt 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Getting back to the main subject of the thread, I went round Ben More/Stob Binnein today by the standard route from the north. Very busy - looks like the "stay in your NHS area" thing is being widely ignored. Lots of youngish people and Glasgow-ish accents. Chatted with a bloke at one point and he said he'd counted 95 cars along the verge at the start - and I think he started before me. From where I parked it took me four minutes to walk along the road to the start of the path. Laybys along Loch Lubnaig also overflowing, and Callander was pretty busy when I drove back through about 5pm.

Lovely day, anyway - cloud on top of the first hill but it cleared off very nicely for Stob Binnein. Could see a dusting of snow on something in Lochaber - not sure quite where as there was still some cloud at that level, but I think it was probably on the Aonachs.

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 Michael Gordon 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Yes very busy there. Not surprising I guess for a good weather sunday in October.

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 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I would have happily gone to the other half of the county to avoid that.  Ben More's roadside was rammed three weeks ago when I passed on the way to Morvern. I had never seen so many cars at the base of a Scottish hill (or almost any hill, only Pen y Pass in Wales). The days I feared back in the 1980s when the hills would have paths and be like North Wales seem to have arrived in full.  Was "good" yesterday and went to the Lammermuirs - nobody about.  Good views over Perthshire with a northerly

Post edited at 08:36
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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Yes very busy there. Not surprising I guess for a good weather sunday in October.

Much busier than that. I'm in the habit of doing that round every year during the August-October period, and I'm above 20 ascents for each of the hills overall - and I've never seen them anywhere near as busy as yesterday. They were twice as busy as I've ever seen them. It felt more like the first surge of activity in July post-lockdown - and close to the mad pre-lockdown weekend in March when the hills and laybys were completely mobbed with people doing stuff while it was still allowed.

It was all very cheery and good-natured, anyway - I don't really mind busy hills and it's always good to see "new" people out, as was clearly the case with some of the punters yesterday. The only thing I could have done without was having just settled down for my lunch on a knoll below the cairn on Stob Binnein when two young blokes plonked themselves down for their own lunch right next to me - just about two metres distancing but close enough to have felt intrusive even pre-Covid - it wasn't like there was a lack of other bits of hillside to sit on. I didn't say anything but gathered together all my belongings and moved a bit further away.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I was on Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich. We saw three other people when nearly back down (but we had made a 4am start from the car!).

I drove back via Glen Lyon. About twenty cars parked beside the road for the Carn Mairg hills had parking penalty notices on their windscreens - seemed a but harsh since they really weren't blocking the road.

If people are sticking to the non car sharing advice then the number of cars is probably being about doubled. We had three cars for three of us in Glen Lochay.

Post edited at 08:58
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In reply to Fat Bumbly2:

>  The days I feared back in the 1980s when the hills would have paths and be like North Wales seem to have arrived in full.  

It is depressing, but, unless you are fixated on ticking specific Munro's, the crowds are easily still avoided - it has just become something to factor in when deciding where to go.

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I drove back via Glen Lyon. About twenty cars parked beside the road for the Carn Mairg hills had parking penalty notices on their windscreens - seemed a but harsh since they really weren't blocking the road.

Gosh - were they actual police penalty notices or just the estate (which has a reputation) being stroppy?

> If people are sticking to the non car sharing advice then the number of cars is probably being about doubled. We had three cars for three of us in Glen Lochay.

Agreed, but that's been the case right through - and the number of parked cars in the standard places was very high yesterday. I'm not sure a great many people are avoiding car-sharing, anyway - at least from what I've seen over the past few months both in the hill context and locally.

Incidentally, some clubs still seem to be going out en masse - I met (and avoided) a huddled-together group of ten on Ben Cleuch a couple of weeks ago and there was another group of seven or eight on Ben More - both sets looked like they were experienced adults on a club meet. I think that's maybe allowed, though - at least the numbers - via the "organised outdoor activity" clause.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Gosh - were they actual police penalty notices or just the estate (which has a reputation) being stroppy?

I didn't stop, but they did look like the official police type in a sticky envelope.

> I'm not sure a great many people are avoiding car-sharing, anyway - at least from what I've seen over the past few months both in the hill context and locally.

Yes, I think it has been widely ignored, despite being a very obvious risk. I can only assume that people who car share would also have no problem ignoring the rule on visiting homes if they found it inconvenient

Post edited at 09:36
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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I didn't stop, but they did look like the official police type in a sticky envelope.

Funnily enough it crossed my mind on Ben More yesterday that the polis might ticket people parked on the traditional verge - but nothing of that sort happened and it's easy enough to get off the road there. There looked to be some weird and wonderful parking in the proper layby half a mile back east - and the Auchessan verge was also crammed.

Incidentally - and probably lots of people will know this already but I'd not been west of Lix Toll all year so it was new to me - there are now average speed cameras on the Lix Toll to Crianlarich stretch. Not gantry ones, just a few on poles - they're quite well spread out, think I saw four.

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 Colin Moody 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

>   Chatted with a bloke at one point and he said he'd counted 95 cars along the verge at the start - and I think he started before me.  

Nice to meet you, I met a biochemist on Ben More and she told me about developing vaccines.

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Colin Moody:

> Nice to meet you, I met a biochemist on Ben More and she told me about developing vaccines.

Brilliant - really nice to meet you too - hope Ben More felt like a nice hill 25 years on! I found a better-than-usual and quite dry way down to the glen track - used the sideways path from the col for about ten minutes then just cut down via the grassy ribs. Got from the col to the track in about 35 minutes no rush, and with dry feet for once. Had another (briefer) chat with a couple of cheery student-age women lower down. All a good vibe generally, and a lovely day to be out - really glad I went as I'd been swithering.

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 Colin Moody 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

1976 so nearer 45 years.

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 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I have only met about 10 folk on hills since starting again in June.

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 girlymonkey 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Fat Bumbly2:

I was looking at running routes around the Lammermuirs, on the basis that they are likely to be empty, hope not to many people get the same idea!! 

I've barely been near a munro this year and actually I've not missed them. I have had a blast exploring (mostly running) smaller, more remote and more local stuff. I do itch for the bigger ones sometimes and have been higher a few times, but I think I am just happy to have the quietness for now. Also often out now just before sunrise, another good way to keep it quiet!

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 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

The Lammermuirs cover a surprisingly large area. The "busiest" bit is Hopes and Lammer Law but you will have a lovely quiet time up there. Just you, the turbines and the grouse.

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Colin Moody:

> 1976 so nearer 45 years.

Even better! My first time up was Oct 1985, just after I moved to Glasgow - brilliant autumn inversion conditions, one of the best such days I've ever had. Yesterday was no.21 - and no.25 for Stob Binnein.

Good luck with your remaining Munros if you do decide to tidy them up.

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Fat Bumbly2:

> I have only met about 10 folk on hills since starting again in June.

You'd have met about three times that on each of the Munro summits yesterday!

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Even better! My first time up was Oct 1985.

Stob Binnein was my sixth Munro aged 10 in 1974, but I didn't do Ben More until 1979 as my 95th. Not sure how many times I've done each now!

Post edited at 11:08
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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Stob Binnein was my sixth Munro aged 10 in 1974, but I didn't do Ben More until 1979 as my 95th. Not sure how many times I've done each now!

Have had a quick rummage through stats: have done them as a pair 17 times but also once as part of a four (with Cruach Ardrain / Beinn Tulaichean) and once as part of all seven - far from sure I could do that again now. Have been up just Stob Binnein six times - loops round the southern ridges, always nice especially in winter. Have only twice been on Ben More as a single hill.

PS - You did well to get to ten Munros by age 10.

Post edited at 11:22
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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> PS - You did well to get to ten Munros by age 10.

I was ticking them off aged 8! Just looked up Beinn Heasgarnich which I was on yesterday. First did it as number 134 aged 16 at the height of my teenage obsession*. All 5 Glen Lochay Munros that day having already done Meall Buidhe before breakfast and Stuchd an Lochain the evening before!

*I now consider myself cured - I am not recording beyond round 4.

Post edited at 11:57
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 Joak 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I did Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean via Coire Ardrain yesterday and didn't meet a soul until I reached the summit of Ardrain. Busy on my way out to Tulaichean with folk coming up from Inverlochlarig. I returned via Stob Garbh and again didn't meet anyone else all the way back to my car. The roadside parking for Ben More still very busy as I drove past around 1600.  

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 Graeme G 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> *I now consider myself cured - I am not recording beyond round 4.

Is the start of a new round when you’ve completed a previous round? Or can you include previous ascents which you’ve already done during your earlier round?

I’ll hopefully finish my one round of the Munros, including all the tops and deleted tops, next year. I can’t imagine doing them all again. Do you not get bored doing the same things over again?

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I've barely been near a munro this year and actually I've not missed them. I have had a blast exploring (mostly running) smaller, more remote and more local stuff.

It's interesting to see how people have been adapting amid all this. For my own part, I've had the same basic structure for years: a mix of mainly local-ish Munros (the last year without 50 was 2004, and mostly it's been 70+), lots of Lakes stuff due to family connections plus I've always really liked it there, and relentless local-Ochiling. That structure of course went out the window this year and at first I was a bit panicky about it, but I soon settled into new routines. There was a five-month gap with no Munros, so 50 was clearly off the agenda this time round - but I've become quite keen to get to 20 which is partly why I went to BMore/StobB yesterday - those took me to 17. As mentioned to Colin on the hill, I've not had a Lakes-less year since 1995 - this might yet end up being one, but we have a wedding (which we can only attend via livestreaming in the hotel) in Coniston in December so all being well, if travel is allowed, that will allow a fell-day or two.

As for Ochiling - a bit like girlymonkey I've greatly enjoyed rummaging in some offbeat nonstandard corners, particularly at the nearer western end of the range, and the number of local outings has reached almost bizarre proportions. Prior to this year my highest annual tally of Ochil jaunts was 94, but it's already at 106 this time (out of 118 hill outings total) and could well end up somewhere around the 130 mark. It's all been quite strange, but very enjoyable in lots of ways too. Making the best of a bad job, and all that.

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In reply to Graeme G:

> Is the start of a new round when you’ve completed a previous round? Or can you include previous ascents which you’ve already done during your earlier round?

Some people bizarrely start each round with a clean slate as if all those ascents had never actually taken place - weird and contrived. I've still one to go of my second round, two of my third round and about 50 of my fourth round, so reverting to the clean slate approach would nullify probably 600 or 700 Munros for me (including ones I repeated before completing my first round and the many I have done more than 4 times)! 

>  I can’t imagine doing them all again. Do you not get bored doing the same things over again?

No. I try to take different approaches, and a hill is never the same in a different season, different weather or in different company.

Anyway, I've decided to make the effort to finish my fourth round but probably not a fifth (there are now quite a few I can't remember whether I've done them 5 times anyway!). I'm sort of doing the Corbetts motivated by a rivalry, but enjoying them anyway (some great hills), but otherwise I'm more motivated by photography on hill days now (and keeping sane and fit..... ).

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Joak:

> I did Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean via Coire Ardrain yesterday and didn't meet a soul until I reached the summit of Ardrain. Busy on my way out to Tulaichean with folk coming up from Inverlochlarig. I returned via Stob Garbh and again didn't meet anyone else all the way back to my car.

Good stuff - did you use the forestry car park at the east end of Crianlarich? That's almost always quiet - seems to be off the radar for many people.

> The roadside parking for Ben More still very busy as I drove past around 1600.

Sounds like you drove past me - I got back to the car at 1555, so by the time I got sorted out and turned round (the road was busy generally) it would have been a few minutes after 1600. I didn't properly count, but reckoned that the number of cars on the Ben More verge had reduced by about two-thirds from when I set off at 1100ish.

Btw, the new paved path up Ben More now reaches (with a couple of short gaps) to about 680m - beyond which the old path is pretty good anyway. This certainly allows for a fairly steady ascent - yesterday I was up in an hour and a half which was at least five minutes faster than anticipated.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

It's a funny year, aye!

Isla's Munro tally crept ahead of her big sister's when she went up Beinn Chonzie a few weeks ago, and since then she's suddenly become quite interested in Munro bagging! (They've been up a lot of Grahams, though, due to Jen and me bagging...)

She's at 13 now to Freya's 12, and they should gain another couple tomorrow, all being well.

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 Kevin Woods 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Agree with much of that. I'm past half way on number five and always look for fresh routes, combining with other summits, corries and ridges I haven't been to. Interest is definitely maintained, showing that (paradoxically?) it was never really about the list ticking thing in the first place, although that gives structure and form. I suppose if it was, once would be fine and that's-enough-move-on.

When I started I just assumed that clean-slate was the way. The carrying-across concept did seem absurd and a cop out, but I reckon now that had more to do with fresh competitiveness at the time. I went almost to the end of the first-round Munros (240-something), then went and did a good summer going around them all. By the time I'd done one-and-4/5th rounds, it seemed crazy to go all the way back to zero. Instead, I essentially finished the first round that I hadn't quite got to the end of. That was 40 Munros in the space of a couple years; I wasn't fussed about finishing and discovered climbing!

For the third round, I re-tallied my summits based on total ascents to see what was left. A nice quirk emerged that I think folk don't appreciate about 'banking'. If I'd been up a summit more than others in a group, it was natural to break the remainders into smaller chunks. That gave more hill days out from different directions as well as access into some nice hinterlands off the beaten Munro tracks.

An associated fun has been to go to all the corners of the hills - I keep a log of my tracks in Google Earth which year on year, turns into an ever-more interconnected web growing in density. It's a bit like a diluted version of cragging in the Highlands. Where instead of going to a place once and never returning, you return again for more routes, more understanding of the layout and character and climbs.

No plans to stop any time soon. It's all quite fun. I'm nearly at the end of the Tops, but still a fair few Corbetts to do.

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 Joak 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Aye that's the one Dave. The route up the corrIe is tussocky, boggy and pathless.....long may that continue. 🙂 

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 girlymonkey 12 Oct 2020
In reply to skog:

Hope you all have a great day tomorrow. Good going for both the girls!

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Joak:

> Aye that's the one Dave. The route up the corrIe is tussocky, boggy and pathless.....long may that continue. 🙂 

Yep - I like it in there too (my Cruach Ardrain numbers are higher than my Stob Binnein ones!); the upper part of the corrie/glen where the big rocks have at some stage tumbled down from the Grey Height ridge is a fine spot.

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 Graeme G 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Some people bizarrely start each round with a clean slate as if all those ascents had never actually taken place - weird and contrived. 

Bizarre indeed. I’m on my tenth round for 1 or 2. The idea of cancelling and re-doing just seems insane.

> No. I try to take different approaches, and a hill is never the same in a different season, different weather or in different company.

Assumed that would be the case, more a rhetorical reflection on my own motivations. I’m just not sure Ben Chonzie is worth a 3rd effort, amongst many others. Similarly considering making a stab at finishing the Corbetts, for similar reasons. Although the Grahams, Donalds, Humps, Tumps, Subhumps etc can get stuffed.

Post edited at 13:58
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 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Joak:

Only been up there twice - first time up the long northeast ridge (recommended) and then with Dave up the surprisingly easy dude route.  This year I spotted that path from below for the first time, perhaps before I was not looking for it. Not a Carn Liath, but very noticeable. 

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 ScraggyGoat 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Kevin Woods:

The consecutive versus concurrent munro-round debate.  I'm always a bit cynical of the concurrent approach, as once you've got a couple of rounds done, surely its about getting out which obviously anyone going concurrent will be doing, rather than the vain glory of  recording having multiple rounds.   Whereas I can see the point of a consecutive wipe the slate clean approach as personal challenge, that could be instigated by a whole variety of life events; bereavement, retirement, post-injury recovery, quest for a goal ect.

I wish I had kept a gps log of all my hill going (gps was in its infancy at the start and consequently expensive), sea kayaking, biking, in fact even car and air journeys. I would bequeathed it  to a University for research, it would provide a fascinating social history, travel record, carbon emissions of the time ect. A bit like previous generations have left diaries and books like 'Always a Little Further...'.  But our generation would be spiders webs across the country............

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> The consecutive versus concurrent munro-round debate.

Cumulative vs slate-cleaning is an age-old debate - it would crop up from time to time even in the early days of TAC, and it was certainly around earlier than that too. For me it's a both-are-fine thing - each to their own etc. As has been said here, a cumulative approach generally makes a lot of sense if one's overall total is already large on first completion. If one is very "linear" - as a lot of the Marilyn/Hump baggers are, for example - then the number of "spare" ascents could well be pretty low, in which case starting again makes reasonable sense. I've certainly come across Munrobaggers with only five or fewer repeat ascents at completion; for them to start a second round it seems reasonable to just wipe off those five and start again. By contrast - as an extreme example - my late friend Alan Douglas made 2800 (exactly) ascents of Ben Lomond. He also managed a full round of Munros, so in theory for many years he was engaged in a second round. He wasn't the least bit interested in a second round, but if by some quirk he had actually managed it, then it would have seemed a bit silly for him to be required to climb Ben Lomond again for any possible third round.

My own situation re the Donalds is similar: I've done one full round, but for the nine Ochil Donalds my cumulative total is currently two shy of 4500, so a requirement to reclimb any or all of those for a fresh round wouldn't seem sensible (although, as with Alan D and Ben Lomond, it would surely just be done anyway in the normal course of events).

Another late friend, Ken Stewart - a very keen golfer and a professional mathematician as well as a double Munroist etc - coined the term "golfer's round" for starting again, on the not-unreasonable basis that that's how rounds of golf work. But tellingly with his own hill ascents he kept both sets of stats in parallel, without particularly favouring either method.

In my experience the people with the hardest-line views on this are almost always very linear types who for some reason insist that everyone acts like them. The cumulative people generally seem much more easygoing about it all.

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

> I’m just not sure Ben Chonzie is worth a 3rd effort

Pleasant local legstretchy kind of hill, especially in winter. I'm on 69 ascents, for my sins!

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Kevin Woods:

> For the third round, I re-tallied my summits based on total ascents to see what was left. A nice quirk emerged that I think folk don't appreciate about 'banking'. If I'd been up a summit more than others in a group, it was natural to break the remainders into smaller chunks. That gave more hill days out from different directions as well as access into some nice hinterlands off the beaten Munro tracks.

That's a very good point - breaking up standard hill groups is a very good principle generally, as it brings quieter and more interesting corners as you say. There are endless examples of this but a very good one quite near here is that Sgiath Chuil becomes a better and more interesting hill if not linked with its standard sidekick Munro of Meall Glas. Sgiath Chuil via its big eastern corrie is a grand day out, especially in winter, whereas the masses opting for the standard double-bag only really see the dullest side of both hills. In terms of other examples, I seem to be inordinately fond of climbing the two lower Beinn a' Ghlo Munros then returning by one of the side-routes rather than going on to the highest top (not that there's anything wrong with Carn nan Gabhar itself).

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 Joak 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Fat Bumbly2:

Aye the Crianlarich Munros are fairly local so I've been over them dozens of times, really handy for short winter days. This was my second time doing this route on Cruach Ardain and Tulaichean since the end of lockdown in July. Hopefully I'll get to return soon when they are all nice and white. 

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 Graeme G 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Pleasant local legstretchy kind of hill, especially in winter. I'm on 69 ascents, for my sins!

How on earth do you guys fit in ‘work’ and normal stuff? Do you live on the hills in a kind of permanent nomadic state?

On one level I am massively impressed. On the other I’m looking out the window at a shitty Autumnal day and thankful I’m at home watching a crap film (which I’ve seen multiple times before). I can only assume weather just doesn’t put you off?

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In reply to Kevin Woods:

> When I started I just assumed that clean-slate was the way. The carrying-across concept did seem absurd and a cop out.

I only came across someone taking the clean slate approach around the time I finished my second round. I was astonished - it just seemed completely absurd to me unless you were doing a continuous round or all of them in a year or something. Effectively pretending you havn't been up a hill just seems non-sensical to me.

> I wasn't fussed about finishing and discovered climbing!

I conveniently finished my first round aged 18 at about the time my climbing obsession started and Munros were very much on the back-burner until I took a year off work aged 39 to go mountaineering and decided to complete my second round as a training objective to get really fit. My third and fourth rounds have seemed relatively effortless since Munros carried over cumulatively have really started to add up and I have made more of a return to hill-walking in recent years anyway (fitness doesn't maintain itself so easily without effort as you get older!) 

> No plans to stop any time soon. It's all quite fun. I'm nearly at the end of the Tops, but still a fair few Corbetts to do.

I've only been actually keeping track of Corbetts for 3 or 4 years. I think one of the benefits of doing the Munros is that it takes you to some great places you might not otherwise go yet leaves some of the very best hills (many of which are Corbetts) and possibly whole areas for later in life. If I had climbed the "best" 284 hills in my teenage years, there would be less to look forward to. Anyway, off to Ardgour (probably) this evening

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> That's a very good point - breaking up standard hill groups is a very good principle generally, as it brings quieter and more interesting corners as you say. 

Another good idea is not to own or look at any of those books which describe prescribed routes up the hills. Just look at the map and have the fun of planning a day yourself. I'm very glad they didn't exist when I did the Munros first time round; I just used the general SMC District guides which described the hills in general terms (I don't even know whether they still exist). I'm just looking at maps for the Corbetts and have had a few conversations at cross purposes with my "rival" who has assumed I am taking the prescribed route.

Post edited at 15:24
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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Pleasant local legstretchy kind of hill, especially in winter. I'm on 69 ascents, for my sins!

Ben Chonzie is very pleasant cycling in up Glen Almond and you probably won't meet anyone else unless on the summit.

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Another good idea is not to own or look at any of those books which describe prescribed routes up the hills. Just look at the map and have the fun of planning a day yourself.

Or - as I've heard Fat Bumbly2 argue quite correctly several times - do look at the guidebooks but primarily as a means of working out which routes to avoid! My own version of this - which works very well in the Lakes in particular - is to go up by some quiet/obscure route then amble down the main path late in the day, by when the masses will already be ensconced in the eateries.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Or - as I've heard Fat Bumbly2 argue quite correctly several times - do look at the guidebooks but primarily as a means of working out which routes to avoid!

Definitely true!

> My own version of this - which works very well in the Lakes in particular - is to go up by some quiet/obscure route then amble down the main path late in the day.

My Lakes strategy is not to go there. Sure, there are some nice hills and some crags I still want to visit sometime, but I just find something profoundly depressing about driving south rather than north. 

Post edited at 15:47
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 rogerwebb 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I only came across someone taking the clean slate approach around the time I finished my second round. I was astonished - it just seemed completely absurd to me unless you were doing a continuous round or all of them in a year or something. Effectively pretending you havn't been up a hill just seems non-sensical to me.

Curious. Almost all those I know go for the clean slate.

Each to their own. It's not massively important. 

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 Kevin Woods 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Definitely true!

> My Lakes strategy is not to go there. Sure, there are some nice hills and some crags I still want to visit sometime, but I just find something profoundly depressing about driving south rather than north. 

Which explains why I have still never visited. I will some time, possibly winter. I go to the Southern Uplands once every couple of years, so it's not a south-of-the-border thing, it's more to do with everything beyond the Highland Boundary Fault.

The Pen y Fan ridgetop motorways left me a bit flat last year and slightly worried the Lakes is in the same boat.

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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

> How on earth do you guys fit in ‘work’ and normal stuff? Do you live on the hills in a kind of permanent nomadic state?

For my own part, I'm not a climber but I used to run (not very well) and have come to realise that I still have what I tend to think of as "the runner's mentality", even though injury has long since put a stop to any actual running. Hence routine, regularity, staying local for the most part and a willingness, as you imply, to go out in all weathers (partly because the familiarity makes various other aspects easier, eg navigation). Having said that, the ageing process has seen me become a bit less enthusiastic about starting up a hill in poor conditions - although I still don't greatly mind if things then worsen up top - all part of the experience etc.

I'm also perhaps unusual in that I've become less and less keen to travel very far at all - the well-reported homesickness woes of cricketers such as Harmison and Trescothick ring bells for me - and having a good range of hills very close by (I'm on the eastern edge of Stirling, so the Ochils are either walking- or short-driving distance away) has further accentuated the tendencies. Plus Ochil loops tend to be only 3hr-ish things and can be slotted in very easily at short notice - which is again akin to the old running routines. Even with bigger hills I hardly ever now travel far - yesterday's trip to almost-Crianlarich was the joint-furthest I've driven this year along with a recent day starting from the Lawers dam, and even without Covid that might still have been much the same. I don't think I've been in Glen Coe since 2015, even though it's comfortably under two hours' drive from here. So I'm doing industrial quantities of relatively short local stuff but hardly anything further afield, which creates a rather odd overall picture compared with those people who have more traditional hillgoing habits, eg weekending or driving long distances in pursuit of linear lists or particular targets.

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 Graeme G 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I just find something profoundly depressing about driving south rather than north. 

You’re not alone. As a former weegie I now have to drive south to get to most parts of Scotland. Feels distinctly ‘wrong’. 

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In reply to rogerwebb:

> Curious. Almost all those I know go for the clean slate.

Maybe most do. I have spoken to few people about it. I just assumed it was a weird perversion!

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 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Often looking at those books is a good idea. You can then discount that route.  
(Edit... just read comments above)

My round was largely as a non driver, I got some bizarre routes in which made sense from a public transport POV. Also +1 for breaking up groups, bagging lower tops helps as well.

Post edited at 16:17
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 Dave Hewitt 12 Oct 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

> Curious. Almost all those I know go for the clean slate.

I know quite a lot of people who take a twin-track approach - but then I seem to know a lot of people with substantial repeat-ascent tallies, eg my Cumbrian pal Gordon Ingall who recently completed a 15th Wainwright round but who has more than 13,000 Wainwrights overall. Unsurprisingly he has quite a complex set of stats and a seemingly endless sequence of interesting numerical landmarks. These include - again recently and surely very unusually - a 70th-anniversary ascent of a 3000ft hill, as he first climbed Scafell Pike when he was aged five and he went up it again (with numerous revisits between) 70 years later to the day. He's also in a phase just now of 60th-anniversary ascents of Munros, eg Bruach na Frithe earlier this month.

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In reply to Kevin Woods:

> Which explains why I have still never visited.

Just realised I've not even been south of the border for three and a half years (apart from changing flights at Heathrow). Three other continents since my last time in England or Wales!

> I go to the Southern Uplands once every couple of years, so it's not a south-of-the-border thing, it's more to do with everything beyond the Highland Boundary Fault.

I don't mind the Southern Uplands; always very quiet. Definitely the crowded roads, hills and extra hassle with dossing further south that repel me.

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 Graeme G 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave :

> my late friend Alan Douglas made 2800 (exactly) ascents of Ben Lomond

Lying in bed last night I calculated that to be approximately 7 years and 8 months. On one hill. And Ben Lomond at that. Must surely be a record?

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 Le Sapeur 13 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I was looking at running routes around the Lammermuirs, on the basis that they are likely to be empty, hope not to many people get the same idea!! 

I was up a Lammermuir on Sunday and although the parking areas were busy the hills were still pretty quiet. 

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 Dave Hewitt 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

> > my late friend Alan Douglas made 2800 (exactly) ascents of Ben Lomond

> Lying in bed last night I calculated that to be approximately 7 years and 8 months. On one hill. And Ben Lomond at that. Must surely be a record?

I know a couple of higher numbers but they're possibly estimates (reasonably accurate ones). There are certainly a fair few massive tallies around, but Alan's Ben Lomond total is possibly the highest for a UK 3000ft hill where the figure is definitely accurate. It ended up being sort of 2801 as his ashes were taken up one last time before being scattered at a nice quiet spot halfway down. There was discussion with the family about whether getting off the round number would have annoyed him - he almost certainly deliberately stopped at exactly 2800 when he began to get ill - but the feeling was that he would have enjoyed one last free ride to the top. He managed five calendar rounds - each including 29 Feb, of course - and that's almost certainly unique. He has a brother, Ian, happily still around, who has been up more than 2000 times too (and who is just shy of 8000 Munros overall).

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 Colin Moody 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

How many people were on your hill on Sunday, 200?

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 Dave Hewitt 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Colin Moody:

Maybe not quite that - I started counting then gradually gave up, but reckon I'd met between 30 and 40 by the top of Ben More. That had another 30 or so on top (including a club or at least a group of some sort). Quite a few more people on the downslope to the col, although some of those were probably people met already as I stopped for a snack on Ben More. But Stob Binnein felt very busy - with it being clear by then it was more obvious. Part-way up the slope I looked ahead and there were people every 50 yards or so, and again lots on top as you saw. Pretty sure there were comfortably 100 people out, and 150 might be a reasonable guess. What did you reckon, given that you did the same round in the reverse direction? I had it pretty quiet on descent.

Ochils have gone quiet these past couple of weeks but I've not been on them since the new advice - am planning on doing a central loop tomorrow so it'll be interesting to see how many folk are out.

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 Graeme G 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

That’s a fabulous story, sounds like a highly appropriate recognition of his character.

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 Colin Moody 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

A lot more than 100.

I met lots of people going down the track when I was going up (walking south) then lots more as I went up the mud to the col. On the tops there were many people, but going down from Ben More I was on my own.

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 Dave Hewitt 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Colin Moody:

> A lot more than 100.

> I met lots of people going down the track when I was going up (walking south) then lots more as I went up the mud to the col. On the tops there were many people, but going down from Ben More I was on my own.

200 does seem a reasonable estimate, then. Certainly going by your counting of 95 cars it's quite feasible, given that there were plenty of couples on the hill, several families and goodness knows how much car-sharing by non-household people. The big layby a little to the east had a lot of cars in it too when I came by - you won't have seen that due to having come the other way, but there were probably 20+ cars in there even though it doesn't really hold that many.

It was certainly the busiest I've ever seen those hills - I've parked a couple of minutes along from the start of the path a time or two, but never four minutes away - and I managed to squeeze in 15 or so cars along the line when I arrived (I never like being the last car on a verge beside a fast road).

We both seemed to descend in the quiet gap between the early birds having already gone and the slowcoaches still being high up. I got down to the track with dry feet - in Mudclaws! - btw. Found a good line for once.

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