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Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby prog99 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:38 pm

bjornsether wrote:What a letter! Thank you for sharing that.

A real letter is better than anything we got from our MSPs.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Sunset tripper » Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:02 am

davekeiller wrote:@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.


Hi Dave, where did you get the info that recreation was included to allow you to sit on a bench drinking coffee. I would never have considered drinking coffee as recreation.
For me, stuff like golf, hill walking and canoeing is recreation rather than exercise though it would probably be considered as both. :?
I thought that was why recreation was included alongside exercise not so that folk could sit drinking coffee or maybe even beer in the park, not that I see anything wrong with that. :D
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Alex W » Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:34 am

gman wrote:
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?


As far as I can see you can go camping within your LA area. My point was that going outside your LA area is against the law. Recreation is permitted within the LA boundary (and 5 miles). My point is that the law restricts us outside the LA area.

I wish it were not so. If you have an interpretation which would let me drive into the Highlands and go for a walk I would welcome it.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Alex W » Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:43 am

Alex W wrote:
gman wrote:
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?


As far as I can see you can go camping within your LA area. My point was that going outside your LA area is against the law. Recreation is permitted within the LA boundary (and 5 miles). My point is that the law restricts us outside the LA area.

I wish it were not so. If you have an interpretation which would let me drive into the Highlands and go for a walk I would welcome it.


I've checked back the thread and by the time I posted the quote you have taken, the fact we were talking about the travel ban was a bit lost. The cause of my post was the debate about travelling outside the LA area. I think you can walk and camp with impunity inside your LA area. Travelling outside to undertake these harmless activities is where the problem lies. Beyond the 5 mile limit is where I think it becomes law breaking. And I repeat my wish that it were not so, because I want desperately to get back into the hills again.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby nigheandonn » Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:55 am

I don't think the law, strictly interpreted, stops you from *walking* into the highlands, as long as you start within 5 miles of the LA boundary and walk back again, although it's not exactly within the spirit of the guidance ('you should travel no further than you need to reach a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a physically distanced way').

The 5 mile limit specifically applies to the starting (and finishing) point of the walk, and while the English guidance bans staying away from home overnight without good reason, as far as I can see the Scottish guidance just closes accommodation.

(Nothing said above should be seen as promoting such behaviour!)
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Sunset tripper » Fri Feb 26, 2021 3:00 am

nigheandonn wrote:I don't think the law, strictly interpreted, stops you from *walking* into the highlands, as long as you start within 5 miles of the LA boundary and walk back again, although it's not exactly within the spirit of the guidance ('you should travel no further than you need to reach a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a physically distanced way').

It's all very mixed up and probably deliberately ambiguous and even the polis are getting it wrong. :D

For me the rules say an exemption for leaving your home and travelling within your local authority area or 5 miles outside is to "undertake exercise or recreation"

Hill walking is a recreational activity and most people can't do that within a few miles of their house. It is different from exercise which maybe can be done (in a lot of cases) far closer to home.
No one is interested in hillwalkers, fisherman or anyone else travelling within their area. They said thousands gathering on a beach on the south coast was negligible in the spread of covid. Outdoor minimal risk activities like solo hillwalking (in your own LA area) isn't even on the radar. Many hillwalkers are travelling the length and breadth of their local authority area and some just outside perfectly legally and within the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law is to be sensible and stay apart from other people, it is not to lock people up for practically no benefit.

Personally I think it is ridiculous that people in Glasgow are going to have difficulty accessing the hills possibly into may or june. Hopefully things move a lot faster than the framework suggests. :(
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby gman » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:09 am

I recommend people read the law itself, it's a short paragraph and it makes clear what is and isn't restricted.

This is a reasonable excuse for leaving a Level 4 area:

(t)exercise outdoors, provided that the exercise—
(i)is not organised, and
(ii)starts and ends at the same place, which place must be—
(aa)in the local government area in which the person lives, or
(bb)within 5 miles of such local government area,


The 'spirit of the law' is the intent of the law, in this case it's to reduce the Covid infection rate.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby gman » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:40 am

Actually, the post above has the reasonable excuse for entering a Level 4 area, which is exercise and not recreation. For leaving a Level 4 area, it's:

(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, and


Since most of Scotland is level 4, this means camping/recreation outside your LA is probably restricted.

This is what I get for saying the law is clear :lol: .
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby rohan » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:53 am

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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby nigheandonn » Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:06 pm

The ambiguity seems to come mainly from the law/guidance not specifying whether parts of the exercise other than the start and end have to be with the 5 mile limit, or whether the start and end have to be on the same day. Some people seem to be reading it one way, and some the other.

There's also the confusion of recreation being sometimes included and sometimes not.- if you only read the guidance, which is generally stricter, it suggests you're fine to stop along the way.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby Bremy51 » Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:47 pm

Hello thought I would add my question on to this since its similar. I'm from Wick in the North Highlands and I want to climb the 7 Ben Lawers Munros in a day by myself for charity. Its a 4 hour drive but still in the Highlands so it's still my Local Authority area so should be ok. Is this still allowed or not. From what I can see it should be ok but just don't want to be reported for breaking lockdown and want to be sure before I make my fundraiser public. Thanks
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby davekeiller » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:23 pm

The problem really is that the law wasn't subjected to proper scrutiny, and was passed without proper debate or revision.
It's the inevitable result of a government trying to micro-manage almost every area of our lives.

It seems to me unclear whether wildcamping is included in the definition of recreation, because the law nowhere defines what the word "recreation" means. However, it seems clear to me that the intention of modifying the law from "exercise" to "exercise or recreation" was not to allow wildcamping, but was instead to allow outdoor activities that might not strictly be exercise but which it makes little sense to restrict if exercise is allowed e.g if it's permissible to run because that's exercise, why is it not permissible to go for a gentle stroll? equally, if it's permissible to go for a walk and also legal to buy a takeaway coffee, why would it not be permissible to sit on a park bench and drink that coffee?

On the Local Area + 5 miles thing, it is permissible to travel (in a vehicle) up to 5 miles outside your local authority area to reach the start point for outdoor exercise or recreation that begins and ends in the same place. In other words, you can walk as far as you like as far from home as you like as long as you start and end in the same place, and that place is either within your local authority area or is no more than 5 miles outside it..
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby gman » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:58 pm

davekeiller wrote:On the Local Area + 5 miles thing, it is permissible to travel (in a vehicle) up to 5 miles outside your local authority area to reach the start point for outdoor exercise or recreation that begins and ends in the same place


They added the word 'recreation' in January (ie after putting all of the Scottish mainland in Level 4 indefinitely) as a reasonable excuse to leave a Level 4 area, but apparently forgot to amend the reasonable excuse to enter a Level 4 area. So you can legally leave your area for recreation, but you'll be breaking the law as soon as you do.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby malrobb » Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:44 pm

So given all the above, has the Scottish Government given any dates when you can hillwalk in Scotland regardless of where you live? Just looking for some hope.
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Re: Long distance walks under new lockdown guidelines

Postby AyrshireAlps » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:14 pm

No, they've purposefully not given dates for anything except school resumption. Looks like the end of April to me if numbers keep falling the way they are, and vaccination rates pick up again after the expected lower rates of the last fortnight. 🙏🏻
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