Don’t expand your permitted exercise plans by heading for the hills, urges Highland MSP.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron urges hillwalkers to keep away from the mountains until the coronavirus pandemic is over, and not to regard a high-level trek as an option for exercising.

Mr Cameron said: “In recent days members of the Oban Mountain Rescue Team have been out in the hills assisting walkers who have got into difficulty.

“They have been supported by the police and the ambulance service as well as by helicopter crews.

“At a time like this when the emergency services are likely to find themselves at full stretch it is simply not acceptable for people to put themselves in a position where they require this level of assistance.

“There are other options for taking exercise outside which should, in any event, be taken close to home and without risk to themselves or others.

“I would plead with anyone thinking about heading for the hills to think again and heed the advice of Mountaineering Scotland: ‘Stay Local, Stay Safe’.“

Meanwhile Margo Paterson, Chief Executive of Hostelling Scotland, said: “It is with great sadness that we have had to temporarily close our Youth Hostel network until further notice. However, the health, safety and wellbeing of our people and guests along with protecting the communities in which we all live and work is our utmost priority at this time.

“The current situation is difficult for everyone and if ever there was a time for communicating with mutual understanding, this is it. We will keep in touch with you through our monthly e-newsletters and social media channels. You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Further information is always available on our website and you can also email us with any enquiries direct at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We really appreciate the hard work being carried out by all healthcare workers and those on the front line, looking after people and keeping us safe. Although our hostels are closing, we shall be talking with the NHS and other public services to see how best our hostels can support essential services.

“Thank you for your continued support of Hostelling Scotland. It gives heart and hope to hear messages of support and to know that so many people have plans to explore this beautiful country of ours and to stay in our Youth Hostels in the future.

“When we all start travelling again, we will be here for you and ready to provide the warm welcome you’ve come to expect from our organisation. Please stay well and look after one another.

"We look forward to welcoming you again very soon.”