Judy Murray has joined calls for tourists to stay at home as people, both Scots and others, flock to remote areas of the Scottish Highlands in an apparent bid to outrun coronavirus.
Covid-19 has changed all our lives as we know it. We now face a difficult road ahead and have a social responsibility to protect our communities. Sine MacKellaig-Davis, Chair, Road To The Isles Marketing Group
With reports of an increase in the number of people with second homes, as well as camper-vans, heading to the area, Murray has joined called for people to stay at home.
The Scottish Government has also warned they risk placing too much pressure on local resources.
Murray took to Twitter with a message to ‘those relocating to the countryside’ with a picture of a car and trailer sporting ‘Go home idiots’ and ‘Covid-19’ painted on the side.
The Road To The Isles group, the organisation that represents tourism businesses along the A830 road, which connects Fort William with Mallaig, also urged potential visitors to stay away.
“Road To The Isles at this time would normally be marking the opening of the season, coming out of hibernation and preparing to welcome valued visitors from around the country,” Sine MacKellaig-Davis, chairwoman of Road To The Isles Marketing Group, said.
“However, Covid-19 has changed all our lives as we know it. We now face a difficult road ahead and have a social responsibility to protect our communities.
“For now, we ask you to stay home, care for loved ones and, as soon as it’s safe to do so, the Road to the Isles and its communities and businesses will welcome you.
“Right now, we need to protect all the people that make the Road to the Isles such a unique and special place.”
The Road To The Isles group includes 100 accommodation and visitor-based businesses on the scenic route, which takes in Glenfinnan, Lochailort, Roshven, Arisaig, Morar, Mallaig and the Small Isles of Eigg, Muck, Rum, Canna and the Knoydart peninsula.
The rural area has an older population, who are more at risk, but just one doctor and ambulance to cover it and the nearest hospital is 100 miles away.
The group warns that the area is already struggling to cope with demand and visitors are adding more pressure.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also asked people to stay at home, adding that Scotland would “once again” become a welcoming place once the pandemic was over.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that Judy has signed up for Celebrity MasterChef and will reportedly appear in the famous kitchen to win over judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode when the new season airs, typically late summer on BBC One.
The 60-year-old mother of Andy and Jamie Murray is said to be taking on the culinary contest, having tried her hand at ballroom dancing on Strictly 2014.
“Producers thought it was a massive coup to bag Judy for the TV contest,” a source told The Sun. “Judy has a big fan base and a lot of older women respect her, so will tune in.”
Filming has allegedly already taken place, suggesting that the show’s production will in no way be hindered by the current coronavirus which is grounding so many other programmes currently.
The source added: “Judy loved filming and bonded with the other contestants, making some unlikely friendships.
“The competition this year was tougher than ever with some hard challenges and intricate recipes, pushing the celebs harder than before.”
Other stars who have taken part on the show include the likes of Made In Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews, Pussycat Doll Kimberley Wyatt, presenter Rylan Clark Neal, Most Haunted’s Yvette Fielding and last year’s winner Greg Rutherford.
Like Judy, Greg also appeared on Strictly and comes from a sporting career.
It is also reported that Top Gear host Chris Harris will also take part in the 2020 edition.
In 2018, Judy told You Magazine that she didn’t care for cooking, and was more interested in finding a man.
“I cannot cook!” she admitted at the time. “My mantra was, “There’s no need to cook so long as there’s a Marks & Spencer in this life.”
“But a cookery course in Italy is on my list of things to do, so there’s hope for me yet.
“My mum is an amazing cook and baker but it never rubbed off on me. You might see me on Celebrity Bake Off one day doing it very badly. That could be a giggle.”