Highland Life and the Coronavirus

Posted by fitheach on Sun 29 March 2020

It is quite extraordinary, I've never experienced anything like it. We are now a couple of weeks away from Easter, which is normally the time when the summer tourist season starts. The roads would see increased traffic, and the tourist hotspots would start to be busy. Not this year.

The snow-capped Nevis range

The snow-capped Nevis range.

The travel and social restrictions put in place to slow the progress of the coronavirus have had a considerable effect. I haven't seen anyone this whole weekend. By that, I mean that not only have I not had any personal visitors, I haven't seen anyone, anywhere, at any time. The whole area is deserted. To-day, I went for a long walk which took me along the edge of the A82 trunk road. This is the major arterial route linking Inverness to Fort William and onto Glasgow. For a whole 30 minute period not one vehicle passed along this road. This is a remarkable turnaround from a week, or so, ago when I noted a huge increase in caravans aand campervans. Presumably, these were people released from work, wanting to escape the crowded cities. To-day, the only transport I saw was a military helicopter flying down the Great Glen. In some ways it does feel like living in the early days of a futuristic, dystopian novel.

The tranquil view from the hilltop.

The tranquil view from the hilltop.

Apart from the awfulness of the coronavirus disease, I'm quite liking this new situation. Life is quiet, it is easier to hear nature around you, and travelling the roads will undoubtedly be safer. The new travel restrictions and reduction in social interaction demonstrates that many more people could work from home, therefore reducing congestion on overcrowded roads. I've also noted (some) people seem to care for each other more. I've had several strangers express concern for my wellbeing when speaking to them on the 'phone. They seemed genuine. Is this what it was like during the second world war? For sure, we are facing a common enemy, and we should "all be in this together". I hope we can take some positives from the battle against this awful disease.

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