Climbers and hillwalkers ‘must stick to lockdown rules’

Walkers will not be at risk of a fine or arrest if they stick to the phase one guidelines, Mountaineering Scotland has said.

Climbers and hillwalkers will not be penalised for calling rescuers if they stay local and stick to lockdown rules, Mountaineering Scotland has stressed.

Two people were charged with culpable and reckless conduct after rescuers were called out to Beinn a’Chroin near Crianlarich in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park on Saturday.

The pair are accused of travelling more than 60 miles from Glasgow to visit the mountain.

Mountaineering Scotland said the charges had been “causing concern in the outdoor community”.

The organisation said it is working with Scottish Mountain Rescue and Police Scotland, who said walkers will not be at risk of a fine or arrest if they stick to the phase one lockdown guidelines.

Scotland entered the first phase of a four-step plan to exit lockdown on May 29.

In phase one, people can travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise but Scottish Government advice is to stay “within a short distance of your local community”.

‘Walkers and climbers who follow the guidance on travel and stay local should have no concerns.’

Mountaineering Scotland chief executive Stuart Younie

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that she will consider passing a law restricting travel to within five miles if people continue to breach the advice after traffic spiked at the weekend.

Mountaineering Scotland chief executive Stuart Younie said: “Walkers and climbers who follow the guidance on travel and stay local should have no concerns.

“We want to encourage everyone who is able to access the hills to make sure they stay safe and are well prepared before they go.”

Damon Powell, chairman of Scottish Mountain Rescue, said: “Mountain rescue teams are here to help.

“If people get into difficulties in the hills they should be clear that assistance is provided without cost and without judgment.”

Chief inspector Gill Marshall said: “I would like to reassure outdoor enthusiasts that when the guidance allows the resumption of their pursuits, Police Scotland and our colleagues in mountain rescue teams across the area will be committed to providing support and assistance to those in difficulty, as we always have done.”