RESCUE teams have warned walkers and climbers to stay away from the hills and mountains after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a country-wide lockdown.

The appeal came as the  Scottish Avalanche Information Service said it was no longer producing avalanche reports to the public this season - crucial for any safe ramble or climb.

Scottish Mountain Rescue said: "The Scottish Government has stated that 'essential travel only, must be undertaken' in order to protect our rural communities and prevent extra pressure on our Emergency Services. Now is the time to avoid unnecessary mountain activities and consider our social responsibilities."

It comes after hoards of people ignored previous advice from the government and travelled to so-called remote areas.

People travelling to to the north of Scotland have also warned to stop risking spreading the disease by travelling to holiday homes or in campervans.

HeraldScotland:

SMR teams were called out 16 times across Saturday and Sunday, making it one of the busiest weekends for many years.

"We understand that being outdoors may be an escape from the unsettling reality that the world is going through right now, but please be considerate to ALL emergency services during this time and try and reduce the risk of needing help,"  SMR said.

SAIS said it had stopped making avalanche reports public adding: "We will continue to monitor avalanche hazard conditions in all our areas for the emergency services. Thank you for your support. With thanks from the SAIS team."

SAIS reports on avalanche activity and provides snow stability information which can be incorporated into any planning. 

Rural economy and tourism secretary Fergus Ewing has previously urged people to stop travelling to the Highlands and Islands in a bid to avoid the coronavirus.

People with second homes and campervans have been reportedly travelling to the area in recent days.

He announced that in line with recent advice on Covid-19 announced by the First Minister, campsites, caravan and holiday parks in Scotland are to close immediately to new arrivals, including tourers, other transient visitors and holiday lets.

He said sites should also advise current visitors and owners of second homes on sites to return home and stay at home, where they can do so safely and practically.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: "As the Scottish Government has made abundantly clear, this is not the time for holidays, travel, or for being away from home. Additional visitors, particularly to rural areas and our islands, will put a severe strain on local resources and the NHS, which is not set up to cover the need of non-residents long term.

“All those who can safely do so should now return to their primary residence. However, I also understand that in some cases residential mobile homes, motorhomes, campervans and holiday lets on a caravan park or tourist site may be someone’s primary home, and that some people will be unable to return to where they usually live.

“Sites should be sympathetic to the circumstances of these individuals, and should, where necessary, remain open on a partial basis for these occupants only.

“We recognise this is an incredibly testing time for the tourism industry and we appreciate the tremendous effort underway by businesses, large and small, within the sector to respond. I am therefore grateful to the business organisations that represent campsites, holiday parks, caravan sites, and motorhome hire businesses for supporting their members to close at this difficult time.

”We look forward to welcoming visitors back to campsites, caravan and holiday parks in Scotland when it is safe to do so.”

Jeanette Wilson, policy director of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association in Scotland, added: "BH&HPA members in Scotland have already closed their holiday and touring parks with great sadness, yet they are glad to contribute to the fight against the virus.

"They are grateful to the Scottish Government for their support in this process and sensitivity to the individual circumstances of park customers. With this taken into account, BH&HPA wholeheartedly supports the Scottish Government’s directive to all parks in Scotland."