Reinstate Access to Scotland

Throughout lockdown, we are required to Stay Home, Stay Safe. There is a suggestion that the New Normal will require us to Stay Local. Freedom of movement and social distancing are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, for city dwellers it is arguably easier to achieve a degree of social distancing by taking a walk or drive in the countryside. And, for rural dwellers, it is a necessity to visit towns and cities for services.

Why the contribution is important

Permitting freedom of movement for the rural population of Scotland, from countryside to city, under the banner of essential travel, is not acceptable to city dwellers. It is easily argued that, for purposes of health and well-being, travel into the countryside is essential.

by aloneinthehills on May 06, 2020 at 10:40AM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.6
Based on: 24 votes


  • Posted by Greenside May 06, 2020 at 11:27

    At present many rural dwellers will be driving 10 or 20 miles or maybe more to access a supermarket or other services in the nearest town or city, then mixing with the people there and driving back to their area and nobody bats an eyelid at this but if a town or city dweller drives 10 or 20 miles to a rural area then walks; meets nobody then drives back its considered the equivalent of a hanging offence. As argued by the proposer responsible access to and from rural areas should be permitted. Initially the travel distances could be limited.
  • Posted by camerj May 06, 2020 at 11:27

    Living in a rural community, I do not feel I should yet be permitted to attend appointments in the cities etc, unless it was for a medical emergency. Likewise, there is no reason that city dwellers to visit rural areas, which are in the throws of lambing etc at the moment anyway.

    However I do feel that people living in rural communities should be able to move about within their local areas a bit more as, from 50+ years experience you can go within 5 minutes drive of your house and walk for miles and not meet a soul whereas if you don't get into your vehicle and have to walk through the village for your hour's exercise, you will meet more people than you will if you take yourself out of the village.
  • Posted by ro May 06, 2020 at 11:34

    From city to countryside too please! A walk locally is very limited and constantly dodgy people is stressful. A walk on a hill with few people would be lovely! Obviously this assumes people have the sense to not all go to the same place...
  • Posted by twg8888 May 06, 2020 at 11:35

    I came to this website with a similar mindset, the suggestion that members of the public must continue to stay local is incredibly unfair and damaging to the mental health of many. If a couple travelling from the same household travel via car to a mountain, maintain social distancing rules while climbing the mountain and then come home, what damage can this do?

    As the comment above suggests, freedom of movement is vital to many people. And those who live in cities should not be punished and restricted from visiting the countryside.
  • Posted by Ballater24 May 06, 2020 at 11:36

    Totally agree - we need some capacity to get out and about - whilst maintaining social distancing.

    The city parks are crammed with folk - better we spread out.

    Driving as a family somewhere and staying in our own groups is not a significant risk.
  • Posted by Billl May 06, 2020 at 11:42

    This situation is not about country versus city.
  • Posted by landysaw May 06, 2020 at 11:44

    This simply transfers the city problem of overcrowded parks and pathways to the countryside. Country dwellers are staying close to home.
  • Posted by sbecker May 06, 2020 at 11:58

    Agreed. It is deeply unfair to prevent city dwellers access to open spaces in the countryside, especially given the great difficulty that they inherently face trying to social distance in crowded cities.

    From the start of pandemic I have seen an increasingly xenophobic attitude expressed by people in rural areas towards those who live in cities. While I can understand that people in rural areas are afraid that people from cities might increase infections in rural areas with less equipped health systems, that is not actually a reasonable assumption to make.

    Compliance across the country with social distancing guidelines throughout the lockdown has been signficiantly higher than expected. Based on this, it is logical to assume people with continue to follow social distancing guidelines while accessing outdoor spaces, as they have done consistently up until now. So to assume people traveling to the countryside with both increase rural area infection rates and place additional demand on rural healthcare services is a flawed argument. As long as social distancing is maintained this will not happen.

    On a personal level, I have traveled to the highlands for recreation hundreds of times over the last ten years. Never once have I had to make use of local medical services in a rural community. It is both practical and very easy to follow social distancing guidelines as a city dweller when visiting the countryside, so restricting movement to prevent this is simply not justified.

    At the end of the day we are all citizens of the same country with equal rights to access outdoor spaces.
  • Posted by creesea May 06, 2020 at 12:10

    Access to Scotland’s countryside for city dwellers would be hugely beneficial for health and wellbeing of city populations. The potential strain on local health services could be mediated by day trip visitors only. Contact with others would be kept at a minimum
  • Posted by lmg1612 May 06, 2020 at 12:24

    I believe firmly we should be able to move freely in our country. With a return to work imminent for many, there will be less fleeing to the hills. We have a massive tourism industry in Scotland, that we need to allow to work. Keep our borders closed to elsewhere but allow us to move around our own country
  • Posted by GeoffDuke May 06, 2020 at 12:47

    At the start of this, we were travelling a short distance by car to just outside our city to take our daily exercise where we would see hardly a soul, but all we came across would social distance. This was nipped in the bud soon after, so we started in our local area, expanding to traveling within the city. Guess what, i would say as many as 40% of people, especially those using bikes on shared paths, would not give you the required 2m distancing.
    Therefore i say allow those that normally travel within reason to somewhere for exercise or hobbies, are allowed to do this, but not staying away from home overnight.
  • Posted by John1911 May 06, 2020 at 20:16

    People absolutely need to focus on the fact that appropriate social distancing and meticulous hygiene will keep you safe.

    It simply does not matter if the people walking around the countryside or a village have driven there or not, as long as they behave sensibly. I do live rurally myself, and cannot bear this 'not in our area' mentality that has come to the fore.

    The limiting of travel by our government is an unforgivable and uneccesary breach of our rights that I suspect will cost the incumbent political parties dearly when the epidemic's outcome is analysed.
  • Posted by ZoeK May 06, 2020 at 21:31

    This virus will NOT just disappear. 
    We must learn to live with it.
    Social interaction between loved ones must be reinstated with immediate effect. 
    Mental health and domestic/child abuse is on the extreme rise. 
    As is violence in communities.
    We must think what is best for us and our own. 
    NO ONE is in control of anothers life. 
    We can NOT be kept as virtual prisoners no more.
    Restore our freedom!
  • Posted by Ossian May 07, 2020 at 16:43

    Whilst I can understand the really remote regions wanting people to stay away, I do not understand the same mentality in areas in easy reach of cities. In the village I am staying in everyone drives to the nearest town to go shopping and then gets their knickers in a twist about the people from the town driving here to go walking in an open area. I think driving for an hour would be a very reasonable amount to go for a walk. We also need to sort out landowners intimidating people legally accessing their land shouting at people to sanitise their gates (I am pretty sure it is not possible to sanitise a wooden gate) and saying we should be wearing gloves (no use if you just touch everything with them). These are the people who like to cause issues with assess anyway and clearly dont like people they see as below them assess land. Incidentally these are not farmers.
  • Posted by macmac May 08, 2020 at 07:38

    The countryside is a workplace and home for many. Unfortunately many visitors do not understand the Scottish Outdoor Access Code so this needs to be publicised. Access rights do not apply to gardens, land in which crops are growing and farmyards.
  • Posted by LesleyMacKenzie May 09, 2020 at 14:44

    Totally agree that we should be allowed to access the countryside. It is far easier to avoid crowds and achieve social distancing in remote areas. I just dont buy the argument that you might have an accident in your car driving there and taking up resources - most accidents happen in the home. Let us roam again.
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