Should you visit the Lake District during the COVID-19 crisis?
At the time of writing, the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Tourism are urging anyone considering travelling to the Lake District for exercise to remain at home, despite the change in rules which come into force tomorrow (13 May 2020). Sadly the Lake District and Cumbria have experienced some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country.
Cumbria Tourism has expressed concern that health services in the region are designed only to serve members of the local population, and that Cumbria has an ageing population when compared with many other areas.
There is also the worry that mountain rescue volunteers may be called upon in emergencies, but be unable to keep a safe social distance from those being rescued, and one another. Many of the volunteers are employed within the NHS and other frontline services.
And whilst much has been said about the high infection rate in the Lakes, I personally think it is important to point out the social distancing risks, as I see them, to anyone who is considering visiting the Lakes at this time.
Whilst the Lake District may seem the perfect place to spend time outdoors and maintain social distancing, it will in my opinion be very difficult for individuals to achieve this if everyone sets out with the same aim. There are ‘bottlenecks’ and ‘pinch points’ to be found on most walks (gates, stiles, footbridges, and restrictive paths between stone walls, to name a few), and paths where it will be very difficult to maintain a safe social distance distance with any volume of people using them to walk in both directions.
This was seen across the country in the weekend before the lockdown took place, when vast numbers of people visited National Parks and areas of natural beauty at the same time due to the sudden onset of good weather. Unfortunately I therefore do think that the guidance from Cumbria Tourism and the Lake District National Park Authority are justified at this time (despite my passion for usually sharing all things Lake District with you!).
It is also worth noting that all Lake District attractions and non-essential shops are currently closed in line with government shutdowns.
For updates and official advice on whether you should visit the Lake District, and how to do so safely in the weeks and months ahead, please take a look at the websites of the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Tourism.
Why hasn’t the blog been updated recently?
Whether you are a new visitor to the blog or have been a regular reader of Lake District Gems in the past, welcome. I hope you will enjoy looking through the archives for inspiration you can use when the time is right and the current situation improves.
It’s been a while since I last wrote on the blog, as for the past year I’ve been occupied with major house renovations and my freelance work as a marketer and researcher. Before I knew it, what had started out as a brief break from the blog for a few weeks, turned into a whole year (!), and just as I was itching to get started again on the blog (and had even begun writing the drafts of some juicy new posts!) the coronavirus crisis hit.
When the time is right, I look forward to getting out and about in the Lake District once again, and in the near future I’ll hopefully add a few fun ‘lockdown’-appropriate blog posts – quizzes, book reviews and articles containing intriguing facts.
In the meantime, I wish you well.