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Highland Council issues Covid-19 outdoor access guidance

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2020

The Highland Council’s Access Officers have become aware of several illegal ad hoc signs appearing on paths and access routes saying that they are closed.

These signs are misleading, so the team is taking this opportunity to remind everyone about the current COVID-19 outdoor access guidance.

Outdoor Access and Long Distance Route Manager, Philip Waite said: “We want to remind everyone that the Rights of Responsible Access still apply and parts of the countryside are not closed. Some signs that are appearing are not appropriate.

“Landmanagers do not have the legal right to block or obstruct paths or other access routes. If anyone has any concerns they should contact the local access officer by emailing access@highland.gov.uk.

“What we ask is that everyone continues to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and the current Government advice on exercising outdoors.”

The current advice (3rd July 2020) is 

  • You can take part in outdoor recreation alone or with other households, no more than 8 people at one time and you should not meet more than 2 households each day.

  • You can excercise and take part in non-contact outdoor leisure activities (such as angling, horse riding, golf, outdoor tennis, hiking, water sports etc.)

  • Travel to undertake excerise is permitted but please be aware of popular locations, especially at car parks and toilets, and adhere to physical distancing guidance

  • Keep your distance – try to stay 2m away from other people when out and about and pass quickly but do call a friendly greeting or give a wave.

  • Avoid contact - take hygiene precautions when you are outside and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors.

  • Dogs need to be kept on a lead or under close control, do not let them approach others and as always pick up and remove all waste

You should use judgement and take part in any activity only if you can do so safely, maintaining physical distancing and not putting yourself or others at risk.  It is important to plan in advance and not take unnecessary risks that may result in the need for medical care or emergency services support.

Philip added: “Remember it's lambing time, so everyone needs to give a wide berth to farms where possible. Don’t take dogs into fields with lambs or other young animals in them and avoid disturbing any wildlife or livestock.”

For further information, latest coronavirus developments and changes to key Council services visit www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus