Scotland's Covid route map for hikers, runners and campers

walking scotland
Find out what the road map is for a less restricted outdoors environment in Scotland (Image credit: Getty Images)

The Scottish and UK governments have recently published their timetables for the easing of lockdown restrictions.

You can read about what the UK government's roadmap out of lockdown means for walking, running and camping in England, but the guidance is different in Scotland. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled her "deliberately cautious" framework on Tuesday. It outlines how restrictions could be eased in Scotland over the next two months.

Her aim is that Scotland will  return to its levels system of restrictions from April 26, with all areas moving down to level three at that stage.

First date: From March 15

From March 15, non-contact outdoors sports are again allowed for those aged 12 to 17. All adults can meet outdoors but they must abide by a rule of a maximum of four people from two households.

Travel for exercise, including running, cycling and hiking, must remain as close to home as possible and within your council authority area. An allowance of up to five miles from the council boundary is allowed, so long as the exercise starts and finishes in the same place.

It is also a good idea to read guidance on accessing the hills and mountains.

walking on skye

There will be fewer restrictions but walkers will still need to stay within their local authority areas (Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking ahead outdoors: From April 5

From April 5, the “stay at home” restrictions are to be lifted and six people from two households can meet outdoors.

The same travel for exercise, including running, cycling and hiking, rules apply.

trail running scotland

Trail running and hiking will be allowed in greater numbers (Image credit: Getty Images)

Level 3: More outdoors freedoms

It's hoped that April 26 will see a return to the “levels system”. The aim is for all of Scotland to move to level three. Note that Scotland’s level 3 is different from that in the rest of the UK.

Level three means you can meet outdoors with a maximum six people from two households. You can also meet in other people’s gardens. The two-metre social distancing rules still apply.

The same travel for exercise, including running, cycling and hiking, rules apply in that you should stay in your council authority area. The five-mile rules applies, too.

Gyms, swimming pools and other leisure activities can resume, while pubs and cafes can also reopen. So, this means you an go for a walk or run and then to a pub or cafe afterwards.

Organised outdoor non-contact sports, personal training and coaching are permitted, provided appropriate safety measures are followed. Outdoor contact sports are not permitted, except for professional sport.

Sports organisations will need to refer to guidance produced by their Scottish Governing Body of Sport and ensure they operate in line with the guidance.

wild camping in scotland

The Scottish guidance on camping has not yet been fully announced (Image credit: Getty Images)

What about camping in Scotland?

From April 26, tourist accommodation and hotels can reopen, however travel is still restricted so tourists should not travel into, or out of, a Level 3 area for holidays or visits. 

Unlike, England, where camping and caravanning fall under the same rules as self-contained accommodation, in Scotland the projected dates for camping and glamping sites have not yet been provided.

While hospitality venues may be permitted to open from April 26, holiday accommodation, including hotels and self-catering venues, was not specifically mentioned during Sturgeon's roadmap announcement .

Therefore, it is not yet clear what future rules will be for different areas of Scotland and when camping and glamping sites will be able to re-open.

The First Minister said that "by the summer" staycations might be possible, but it will depend on the coronavirus data.

It's hoped that there will be an announcement on  both campsite camping and wild camping soon.

Scotland's Outdoor Access Code normally allows for responsible wild camping. Perhaps now is the time to start thinking about where you might go for a great camping spot in your local authority area... 

Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.