The white blanket of snow enticed a ‘significant number’ of visitors to tackle the dangerous, rural roads of Northumberland for a scenic winter walk – despite breaching Covid guidance.
The restrictions of the third lockdown urge people to stay local when they leave the home, once a day, to exercise.
Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) are now calling for people to consider the repercussions of travelling to the region and the impact it has on the local community and emergency services.
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One voluntary member, whilst on a walk from his home, reported seeing a number of cars and visitors to the area struggling en route to the Harthorpe Valley.
Andrew Miller, incident controller at NNPMRT, said: “He did report that there were a significant number of cars trying to make there way into the Harthrope Valley when conditions were clearly not good.
"People are stretching the guidance for Covid but they’re also not being particularly sensible in terms of winter weather.
"We ask people to think carefully about the implications on the local communities – when the weather is bad they’ve got enough to deal with on their own.”
Pictures show a number of cars parked on the roadside and struggling to drive on snow and ice-covered roads in the Harthorpe Valley on Saturday morning (January 9).
Andrew, who lives in Rothbury, walked to Simonside Hills and was met by a number of people who weren’t prepared for the snowy conditions and wearing appropriate clothing and footwear.
Where cars become stuck in the snow they often block roads and farmers gates having a big impact on the local community and also block access for emergency vehicles to attend accidents or medical incidents.
"We understand people wanting to get out in these very difficult times,” added Andrew, who has been a volunteer for 35 years.
"We can all do our bit and follow the guidance by walking from our home. There’s very few people who couldn’t find some open space – a park or gardens – where they can simply walk from their own home.
"Every time we get called out we put our voluntary members at a high risk as well as our service – if our members contract Covid or are told to self isolate and can’t attend incidents in real situations.
"Accidents happen, medical emergencies happen at any time of the year.
"We would ask people to think of the repercussions of their actions if they are to travel.
"We understand it’s very difficult for everyone at this stage but the hills will still be there when we we get through all of this and we would love to see people out and about when that time comes.”
The Government guidance says: "You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.”