THE first weekend of the Covid lockdown easing in Scotland saw an explosion in almost every form of travel.

Statistics from Transport Scotland showed car travel on tourist routes up 110 per cent on the previous Saturday and Sunday.

On non-tourist routes, car travel was also up 70% and on cross-border routes by 35%.

Rail travel was up 65%, ferry traffic 50%, concessionary bus travel 40%, walking 75% and cycling was up most of all, increasing by 170%.

Even air travel, which has all but ceased in the pandemic, was up 5%.

Until restrictions were loosened last Friday to allow more outdoor leisure activities and socialising, the transport figures were broadly stable or down on the previous week.

On Monday, Nicola Sturgeon threatened to turn the current advice on travelling only locally into law if people flocked to tourist hotspots such as Loch Lomond again.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the rise in traffic, particularly on tourist routes, had been “significant”, and could not be attributed to local residents.

“Nor do these figures indicate that everyone is sticking to the guidance to stay within five miles of home or by people travelling a reasonable distance to meet loved ones,” he said.

“I understand that lockdown has been tough – and coupled with the fantastic weather we have experienced, I appreciate the temptation is there to travel further to see your friends and loved ones or to enjoy some of our most scenic routes.

“I would again ask that you follow the guidance to stay at home where you can or stay local where possible.

“We all have a personal responsibility to keep each other safe and I’m confident that the majority of us will continue to do so.”