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Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby gman » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:56 pm

Alex W wrote:I'm not one to p* in anyone's chips, but I don't think that would stand up in Court. The allowable activity is exercise.


Originally it was exercise alone, the current law (amended on 23 January) is:

Examples of reasonable excuse

(t)undertake exercise or recreation
(i)outdoors,
(ii)that starts and ends at the same place, which place must be—
(aa)in the local government area in which that person lives, or
(bb)within 5 miles of such local government area


The definition of recreation is fairly broad and camping is commonly classed as a form of recreation.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby davekeiller » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:47 pm

There is, as yet, no case law. However, wild camping isn't really in the spirit of the regulations.
The recreation bit was presumably intended to allow parents to take their children to the park, and to allow people to sit on a bench and drink their coffee.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Alex W » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:54 pm

Like I say, I would love to engage in a legal argument as some bar room banter. But it's all too depressingly real and serious. If I was a QC (I'm far from that btw :lol: ) I'd take a brief on either side of the exercise/ recreation argument.

Meanwhile I'll expect the worst and hope for the best.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby gman » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:30 pm

davekeiller wrote:There is, as yet, no case law. However, wild camping isn't really in the spirit of the regulations.
The recreation bit was presumably intended to allow parents to take their children to the park, and to allow people to sit on a bench and drink their coffee.


The purpose of the law is to reduce the infection rate, solo walking/wild camping is less risky than the examples you give. The 'spirit' of the law is not to punish people unnecessarily, however much people want it to be.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby al78 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:54 pm

gman wrote:
davekeiller wrote:There is, as yet, no case law. However, wild camping isn't really in the spirit of the regulations.
The recreation bit was presumably intended to allow parents to take their children to the park, and to allow people to sit on a bench and drink their coffee.


The purpose of the law is to reduce the infection rate, solo walking/wild camping is less risky than the examples you give. The 'spirit' of the law is not to punish people unnecessarily, however much people want it to be.


I don't think people want others to be punished unnecessarily, I think it is more that some people act like dumb machines that can only interpret instructions word for word absolutely and literally (which is all any computer is capable of), rather than using intelligence. The latter requires effort, the former doesn't.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Robertgee » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:24 am

KatTai wrote:Category: Non-Contact solo/small group outdoor activity. Non-contact outdoor activity is known to be low-risk, there is no reason to not allow outdoor activity - walking, fishing, golf, running, cycling etc - to go ahead. As it is, allowing more freedom for these activities is at the back of the queue behind getting people into churches, pubs and polling stations. Restrictions need to be logical, and I'm afraid I can't see the logic here!


Agree totally with that KatTai. I can understand why travel restrictions could be necessary if some areas were virus free, doing everything possible to stop it getting to new areas. But as the virus is well established around the country, there isn't much point restricting travel, the virus is already there. With "essential" travel permitted, there are millions or people travelling around Britain every day, some of them spreading as they go. Lone outdoor activities if allowed, wouldn't do much spreading at all, so why not open this up?

It's been mentioned on here before about staying in your LA and 5 miles beyond, and how this differs hugely for people around the country. An interesting point I noticed is that the people of Aberdeenshire can go around their own LA and also go anywhere within Aberdeen City. Nowhere in the city is further than 5 miles from the boundary. Yet the people of Aberdeen can only stay in the city, or just get to go the 5 miles beyond the boundary...to me, that just about sums up how ludicrous the rules are.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Border Reiver » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:12 pm

I don't believe the governments are all that bothered by the odd walker or wild camper who keep themselves to themselves, but it's right that they should be concerned about the thousands of other folk, who think that they see a loophole in the law that allows them to cram all the beauty spots and favourite hills. Many of these people rarely, if ever, go walking or camping and their "wild" camping spots are evident by abandoned tents and piles of litter. Unfortunately, it must be difficult to make laws / rules that apply to the many without affecting the few. I guess the police could look the other way for the few.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby gman » Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:04 pm

Infection rate for last year: low during the summer months when beaches, beauty spots and popular hills were busy then sharply increasing in the colder months as people spent more time indoors and spiking at Christmas when multiple households were allowed to meet up. There appears to be an inverse relationship between outdoor activity and infection rate.

chart.png

https://public.tableau.com/profile/phs.covid.19#!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby al78 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:16 pm

gman wrote:Infection rate for last year: low during the summer months when beaches, beauty spots and popular hills were busy then sharply increasing in the colder months as people spent more time indoors and spiking at Christmas when multiple households were allowed to meet up. There appears to be an inverse relationship between outdoor activity and infection rate.

chart.png

https://public.tableau.com/profile/phs.covid.19#!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview


Or there might be a lagged relationship. Sometimes effects lag causes. If anything, it looks like the reopening of schools and universities may have contributed to the rise beginning in September last year, and Christmas had another cumulative effect.

However, given there is no evidence the crowded South coast beaches affected COVID rates, going for a solo hike up a hill or a solo long distance walk with an overnight wild camp should not be any cause for concern. Governments are going to implement sweeping restrictions in the hope of knocking down activities that do increase risk of transmission, which will inevitably impact minor activities which aren't really on the radar.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Alex W » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:47 pm

I think there is no doubt that going for a walk and a camp solo or with friends and maintaining a respectable distance is no risk of catching Covid or of passing it on. So provided you take good precautions on the journey there and don't inconvenience others by getting yourself into trouble and having to call out help, then its little to no risk to anyone. And you can't stop off at a pub in any case.

But the point is that it is against the law. And will be against the law until that section of the Covid Regulations is lifted. So it becomes a question of the extent to which you are prepared to break the law in order to go for a walk or a wild camp. The decision to break the law shouldn't really be influenced by the likelihood of getting caught, but in reality it probably is. Personally, I hate that it comes to a decision to break the law in order to pursue a harmless activity that we all love. So far I haven't - but that is a personal decision.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby gman » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:33 pm

Alex W wrote:But the point is that it is against the law.


Exercise and recreation are reasonable excuses, can you find a definition of recreation that would exclude camping?
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby The fox covert » Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:24 pm

This has been a very depressing thread to read.
The rules for travel for exercise or for any other purpose in Scotland are at least consistent. The local authority area plus 5 miles does make sense and it is easy to know whether you are staying on the right side of the law.
The law for travel in England is absolute nonsense. I wrote to my MP, who is a member of the Westminster government, when the lockdown was announced requesting clarification. He actually admitted in his reply that the legislation makes no mention of distance whatsoever. I have attached so you can see for yourself how inconsistent the advice from the government is.
From 29 March they propose that the rule can be relaxed to 'stay local as much as possible'.
Once again they haven't learned from the criticism levelled at the original rule and the bad publicity levelled at the government because of fines issued for frivolous reasons, like driving five miles and going for a walk in a country park while holding a takeaway coffee. It wouldn't surprise me if the police are only dealing with flagrant breaches, like driving a hundred miles for a pizza and it is unlikely that they will trouble themselves to get their uniforms wet and muddy pursuing a lone walker across a windy hillside.
I am hoping to be able to go to Scotland in the first two weeks of May and whether this still is going to happen depends on Westminster and Holyrood actually agree on travel from one country to the other and Holyrood making a statement on self-contained accommodation before the date.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby bjornsether » Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:38 pm

What a letter! Thank you for sharing that.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby davekeiller » Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:19 pm

@gman, given the generalised prohibition on providing overnight accommodation, it seems likely that a court would rule that the recreation exemption didn't apply to wildcamping.

As I said, there isn't any case law and unless someone is prosecuted and a judge provides an interpretation of this law we can't definitively state one way or the other whether wildcamping is legal or not.

However, when the law was amended to include recreation in addition to exercise it was clearly intended to allow people to sit on a bench and have a coffee or to take their children to the local park. It was not intended to allow people to go on multi-day trips.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby LobeyD » Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:55 pm

Guidelines: simple, effective, impervious to nitpickers....pick two :wink:
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