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Open bothies

Re: Open bothies

Postby Scraggygoat » Sat Jul 10, 2021 5:29 pm

Initially closing bothies made proportionate sense, with COVID being predominantly spread through prolonged interaction within confined environments, and mixing of multiple households providing vectors for onward transmission, plus the lack of any chance of track and trace, in a Bothy environment.

Now with both the Scottish (and to a lesser degree) English governments inconsistency in allowing tens of thousands of fans to pack on to planes, trains and automobiles, then to cram tightly together, with track and trace collapsing, it makes no proportional sense, even though the underlying principle is still sound.

Conversely the ban from the hill was never proportionate nor scientifically sound, as we didn’t want or need to interact, infection levels were far lower than now, and the transmission risk outside in the absence of prolonged close proximity is virtually zero. Mountain rescue had the choice wether to go on the hill, and hill goers could have made their decisions accordingly. In my view the ban was most likely illegal, it was brought about in haste and then kept for political reasons, ie the government didn’t want to lose rural votes.

The fact that our representative organisation didn’t challenge it via a judicial review, nor take on the unscientific rural xenophobia tells us all we need to know about their commitment to member representation……..
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Marty_JG » Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:01 pm

davekeiller wrote:@marty_jg I agree that closing bothies will probably do all of nothing to stop spread of covid. However, the MBA are responsible for making the decision as to whether to open them or not.
At the moment, the decision that government guidance says not to open them, so they're not opening them.
I respectfully disagree with that decision but will camp outside at the moment.
To be honest, I usually find that camping outside on the soft grass is more comfortable than inside on a hard surface, but YMMV.


I'm not saying MBA should be going against the recommendations of public health bodies even if those recommendations are not scientifically sound; but I did want to let the people here know those recommendations do not appear to have a sound scientific basis.
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Moriarty » Sun Jul 11, 2021 2:08 pm

Marty_JG wrote:I'm not saying MBA should be going against the recommendations of public health bodies even if those recommendations are not scientifically sound; but I did want to let the people here know those recommendations do not appear to have a sound scientific basis.



MountainBothyAssociation wrote:MBA maintained bothies in Scotland, England and Wales should not be used at present except in an emergency. This is because Covid-19 precautions such as social distancing, regular sanitising and wearing of face coverings might not be practised by some visitors which would put others at risk irrespective of reducing rates of infection.


I think there is fairly sound scientific basis around potential Covid transmission in small, poorly ventilated spaces where unregulated numbers of individuals from multiple households may gather without distancing/masks +/- alcohol.

Plenty of whatifery and whitabootery available around the relative risks of other things that have been relaxed, but there's no grounds to argue that a busy bothy would be safe.
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Marty_JG » Sun Jul 11, 2021 2:59 pm

Yes, there is strong evidence of person-to-person aerosol indoor transmission, in fact that's the main vector by far. I was specifically responding to someone going into an empty bothy and being worried about surface contact transmission. It was that and only that I want to link the evidence for, namely surface contact is nil or nil-adjacent as a vector.

You're right are that if you go into an empty bothy someone else might come in, then we're in the realms of "public place, indoor household" rules which permits X number people from Y number of households depending on the lockdown level of the venue's health authority. In this respect it's arguable the MBA's rules, I think (??) introduced during a national high-level lockdown, now exceed the various regional guidelines. Perhaps the rule should be the Bothy should be used in accordance with the law?
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Thataway » Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:39 am

Quote. Mountain rescue had the choice wether to go on the hill, and hill goers could have made their decisions accordingly. In my view the ban was most likely illegal, it was brought about in haste and then kept for political reasons, unquote

In what way do mountain rescue teams have a choice?
They do not have a choice.
It was to protect them that the ban was introduced.
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Scraggygoat » Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:33 am

In Scotland the statutory responsibility for Mountain rescue lies with Police Scotland.

Police Scotland request assistance from Mountain Rescue. The volunteer civilian teams in Scotland are under no legal obligation to accept a tasking, team leaders are entitled to decline if they do wish, with no direct repercussions. It would then be for Police Scotland to resolve. Long term that may of course influence whether Scot Gov/police Scotland continue to provide part funding for the teams.

Also Civilian mountain rescue team members are all volunteers, and can resign, or ask their respective team leaders to take their names off the call-out list. If they took their name off the list it would be upto the Team Leads to decide if they wanted them to remain a team member.

So they have the choice at both Team level and individual level. Yes at Team Level there may have potential negative PR, but;

As an experience hill goer I entirely understand and would not have thought ill of any team, or team member whom did not wish to continue responding or volunteering during the changed circumstances of covid. In that situation I would have been entirely happy to go on the hill, and would not expected them to respond should a mishap haven befallen me.

The likely illegality of a disproportionate Scot Gov piece of legislation, still remains.

Under law any restriction of civil liberties has to be proportional to the threat faced and time limited. If an individual or organisation had instigated carefully worded legal proceedings against Scot Gov in the form of a juridical review I would have anticipated the government would have lost. As it’s very hard to say that banning an activity with no planned interaction was proportionate to the risk.

The faith groups instigated just such a review and the government conceded, allowing congregations of upto 50 people to meet inside, while we still weren’t allowed on the hill…..clearly inside multi household, multi generational gatherings were more risky than somebody going on the hill alone out in their own household group, and not stopping in the way to or from the hill. Mountaineering Scotland failed us.
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Moriarty » Mon Jul 12, 2021 5:41 pm

Thataway wrote:
ScraggyGoat wrote: Mountain rescue had the choice wether to go on the hill, and hill goers could have made their decisions accordingly. In my view the ban was most likely illegal, it was brought about in haste and then kept for political reasons.


In what way do mountain rescue teams have a choice?
They do not have a choice.
It was to protect them that the ban was introduced.


Unless I missed something there was never a specific ban on hillwalking.

Hillwalking was effectively barred first by "stay at home" regulations and then, for the vast majority of Scots, by travel restrictions.

Lots of people on Hillwalking social media tried to justify this by postulating that it was to "protect MR"...."protect the NHS"...."prevent fuel station transmission" etc etc. However the reality is that hillwalking was not banned, it was simply never specifically exempted from generic restrictions.

Rather than to protect MR, it was (I presume), to maintain a simple, uncluttered, easy to understand message without easily abused get out excuses.

The negative effects in physical and mental health are things that can be easily smudged or ignored in any post hoc analysis.
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Scraggygoat » Mon Jul 12, 2021 6:28 pm

Correct after the stay at home the travel and distance restrictions were brought in as an easy proxy to reduce interaction, and no distinction was made between travel with and travel without interaction.

It was clear that travel without interaction to avail oneself of the outdoors in isolation or a household group, whether that be a walk up a hill, a jog along a river or beach, to photograph or paint or whatever was disproportionate and probably illegal, particularly by the second and third waves, when we had ample evidence that you had to try very hard to spread it outside.
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Re: Open bothies

Postby mikebeattie1 » Tue Jul 13, 2021 10:15 pm

thanks for all the replies still slightly confused though :crazy: Wembley 60k Wimbledon 20k bothies closed , i'll give it a miss
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Moriarty » Wed Jul 14, 2021 7:55 am

mikebeattie1 wrote:thanks for all the replies still slightly confused though :crazy: Wembley 60k Wimbledon 20k bothies closed , i'll give it a miss


If your neighbour takes up juggling chainsaws it doesn't mean you should start juggling knives. :wink:
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:29 pm

According to the MBA, bothies in England are now open and Scotlands bothies are expected to open soon.

https://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/
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Re: Open bothies

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Aug 10, 2021 7:06 pm

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Re: Open bothies

Postby NickyRannoch » Tue Aug 10, 2021 7:55 pm

Oh well. Time to start taking the tent again if vulgar public are getting back in
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