It all just makes you want to pack up your rucksack and head off on a good long walk in the hills, right?
Over two months since restrictions to the nation’s freedom of movement and exercise were enforced to control the virus – ‘the lockdown’, as it soon became known – the government has released its latest guidance to begin a tentative reopening of society.
The message from the UK government is that everyone now needs to practice a little more caution. “Stay Alert, Control The Virus, Save Lives” is the new slogan, with the single session of exercise per day limit set to be lifted and travel within England now acceptable.
But what does this all mean for outdoor recreation and are we able to travel to the mountains in search of escapism? We’ve got the news directly from the British Mountaineering Council and Mountain Rescue Scotland.
Statement From The BMC
Here is the section of the statement referring to English mountains and National Parks:
“Following last night’s announcement from the Prime Minister, groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors from Monday 1st June providing 2m social distancing from those outside your household can be maintained. Importantly, this doesn’t mean that the changes are in place for the weekend of 30th May – they will only come into effect from Monday:
- Keep 2m apart from anyone outside of your household.
- Hand hygiene is crucial, but washing hands properly is impractical in the outdoors. Carry and use hand sanitiser after any contact with surfaces or shared equipment.
- Current World Health Organisation advice on which hand sanitisers kill the Covid-19 virus is that they should contain 80% alcohol to be effective.
- Avoid popular venues, pinch points and routes which force you close to others. Car park status pages have been launched in the Peak District and Lake District to help visitors avoid crowded areas.
- Whatever you are doing, scale back your ambitions and be fully confident of your physical and technical ability for any objective you embark upon.
- Mountain Rescue capability is hugely reduced/diminished and any response is likely to take longer and with reduced resources compared to normal, not to mention increasing risk of transmission between casualties and team members.”
Here is the section of the statement referring to Welsh mountains and National Parks:
“In press statement this morning, Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales has stated that as of Monday June 1st, individuals will be allowed, to meet outdoors for social purpose with members of one other household. The 2m social distancing, which is legally enforceable in Wales will remain. He also stated that from Monday, people will be allowed to travel to meet others for social purposes, which we assume also allows travel to meet to exercise.
The current regulations and guidance (that remain fully in force until Monday June 1st) currently do allow people in Wales to leave their homes for exercise, “the form of which is not specified, but should not pose a significant risk, and that is undertaken local to the place where that person is living”.
The BMC and other recreation bodies take this to mean that you can go climbing, hill-walking or bouldering, alone or with members of your own household as long as it’s local to your home. Travel to Wales from England and any travel of “significant distance” within Wales for the purpose exercise are still not permitted under the Welsh regulations and Police forces are still strongly enforcing this law. ‘Local Travel’ is not defined but it appears to be up to the discretion of police officers.”
Read more from the BMC here.
A Message From Patterdale Mountain Rescue
“While the mountains seem like the ideal place to socially distance what happens when it all goes wrong? Nobody goes out for a day on the fells expecting to have to call on our help but accidents do happen.
“Please just take a few minutes to think about your actions and the potential consequences before planning your walk in the Lakes. At this time we’d rather you didn’t venture onto the High Fells of Lake District and that’s a message that goes for locals as well as those contemplating travelling to the area. We are staying away, for now, we’d rather you did too.”
Read more from Patterdale Mountain Rescue here.
A Message From Scottish Mountain Rescue
Scottish Mountain Rescue have detailed their new “The Importance of Planning for your Adventures” advice, that you can read here.
Scottish Mountaineering have produced this handy image to help those lucky enough to be living near the mountains:
Read more from Scottish Mountain Rescue here.
Events Cancelled Or Postponed
Some events that have announced cancellation or postponement include Keswick Mountain Festival, The OMM Festival, The Outdoors Magic Trail Race, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, The Outdoor Tradeshow, Banff Film Festival, The Great Outdoors Challenge, The London Marathon and The Night Of Adventure. We recommend you check the event website to find out about potential rescheduling.
We’ll continue to keep this article updated over the coming days and weeks.