Covid update: What has changed for climbers & walkers in England from 2nd December?

Posted by Rob Dyer on 02/12/2020
Hathersage Moor from Higgar Tor, Credit: Shutterstock

Following a parliamentary vote yesterday evening, England’s second lockdown has ended and the country has reverted to a revised version of the tier system in place prior to lockdown.

We have pulled together the relevant information for climbers and walkers from government guidance, to aid anyone planning to climb and walk. Many areas have changed tier, so if you’re not sure already, check here to find out which tier your area falls within.

Bear in mind that the tier system is due to be reviewed every two weeks starting on the 16th December. Areas could be moved up or down tiers following each review and any changes after the first review would come into effect on the 19th December.

Across all tiers, everyone:

Tier 1: Medium alert

  • You can meet in groups of up to six indoors or outdoors
  • Accommodation may open but businesses must take reasonable steps to ensure that social contact rules are followed within their venues.
  • If you live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey.

Tier 2: High alert 

  • You can meet in groups of up to six outdoors, either in private gardens or public spaces. You cannot socialise with people outside of your household or bubble indoors.
  • Accommodation may open but businesses must take reasonable steps to ensure that social contact rules are followed within their venues.
  • You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
  • If you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey.

Tier 3: Very High alert 

  • You can meet in groups of up to six outdoors in some public spaces including countryside accessible to the public. You cannot socialise with people outside of your household or bubble indoors or in private outdoor spaces.
  • You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
  • Avoid travelling outside of your area, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training.

Travel to and from Wales:

All indications currently are that the existing travel restrictions to and from Wales are likely to remain in place after the 3rd Dec and the existing Welsh Covid regulations will still apply.

Travel to and from Scotland:

Under current Scottish regulations, given the state of the epidemic in these countries, unless you have a reasonable excuse (see exceptions) you must not travel between Scotland and England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales. This applies to people who live in Scotland and to people who live in any of these countries who are thinking of coming to Scotland.

Travelling for work would be classed as an exception, so a leader/instructor travelling to Scotland to work would be allowed, whilst someone travelling for recreation or to get QMDs (in preparation for a Mountain Training assessment) would not be allowed.


We want to say a big thanks to every BMC member who continues to support us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t do it without you.

Did you know that we've just launched a new U27 membership offer for just £1 / month? And with full membership from £1.66 / month, it's never been easier to join and support our work: 

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/join-the-bmc-for-1-month-U27-membership


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