Skiers ignore Scotland's Covid lockdown to flock to Cairngorm Mountain

Skiers ignore Covid lockdown rules in Scotland to flock to Cairngorm Mountain as crowds block access roads with their cars despite resort being closed in pandemic

  • Scottish Covid-19 rules shut Cairngorm Mountain snow resort on Christmas Eve
  • Despite the closure, around 150 sledders and walkers turned up on Saturday
  • Locals in Glenmore say it was a scene of ‘carnage,’ as people flouted Covid rules
  • Comes after similar scenes in Wales at Snowdonia as well as the Brecon Beacons 

Skiers ignored Covid-19 lockdown rules in Scotland and flocked to Cairngorm Mountain at the weekend – with crowds blocking access roads despite the resort being closed amid the pandemic. 

The Highlands snow resort closed following an announcement that mainland Scotland was entering Tier 4 from Boxing Day.

Operators at the resort say they had seen visitors arrive from across the UK, despite Government ban on all but essential travel.

Skiers and sledders parked outside gates to the venue and hiked two miles to reach it on Saturday, causing traffic problems and sparking fears that some had had broken Covid rules to get there. 

Glenmore resident Duncan Ferguson said: ‘It was carnage. 

Around 150 people parked their cars at an access road to Cairngorm Mountain on Saturday – despite the snow resort being closed to the public since Christmas Eve 

‘I can understand that people want to get out, but why come here all the time? 

‘I had someone knock on my door asking where the sledging field was. Anyone who is local knows where the Hayfield is. 

‘We have a foot of snow here so I understand the lure, but people are being selfish.’

Local councillor Bill Lobban said: ‘The question you have to ask is where do all these people come from? I don’t know the individuals but I would very much doubt that they are all local.

‘The advice not to travel means just that, it doesn’t mean you should be driving halfway across the country just to visit Glenmore or anywhere else. There are plenty of places you can exercise without getting in your car.’ 

Police said they did not receive any calls or complaints.

Prior to closing last month, Cairngorm Mountain’s chief executive, Susan Smith, said there had been evidence of people travelling to the Highlands resort from across the UK 

Villagers in Glenmore described a scene of ‘carnage’ on Saturday, as one said of visitors: ‘I would very much doubt that they are all local’

The chaos at Cairngorm came ahead of Holyrood being recalled today, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prepares to deliver an urgent statement tightening Covid-19 rules 

Scenes of carnage in Glenmore came as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recalled Holyrood to discuss additional Covid-19 measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The SNP leader will meet with senior ministers this morning to agree new curbs before then delivering an urgent statement to a recalled Scottish Parliament this afternoon.

Yesterday Scotland announced 2,464 new cases of the disease, with the latest figures for hospital admissions and deaths not due until Tuesday.

Susan Smith, Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd’s interim chief executive, previously issued a warning to Covid rule-breakers.

In her final statement before closing she said: ‘We are closing for no other reason than the safety of our staff, customers and the local community.

Wales may be under Alert Level 4, but dozens of cars lined Snowdonia on New Year’s Day, with some travelling from as far as Kent  

Crowds at Snowdon followed similar scenes at the Brecon Beacons, where hikers from different households in England travelled more than 75 miles in a minibus together to climb a Welsh mountain

‘It has been evident in the past few weeks that, regardless of the travel restrictions, people are insistent on breaking the law and coming into the Highlands from Tier 3 and 4 areas and other parts of the UK.’ 

Hundreds of people arrived at beauty spots in Wales last week – with park wardens suffering abuse from visitors travelling from Tier 4 areas as far away as Kent. 

North Wales Police said its officers have been turning people, some who have come from as far as Milton Keynes in London, away from Snowdonia. 

On New Year’s Day images of parked cars lining the streets of the picturesque Welsh beauty spot.

Cairngorm Mountain resort remains shut, after Scotland announced a further 2,464 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday

Snowdonia National Park’s Twitter page added: ‘Remember: Exercise should start and finish from home. Keep Wales safe.’ 

Last week, hikers from different households in England travelled more than 75 miles in a minibus together to climb a Welsh mountain.

Police said the walkers were from mixed households and had travelled from Cheltenham to South Wales for a hike.

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