Police speak to Neil Gaiman over lockdown journey from New Zealand to Skye

File photo dated 14/06/17 of writer Neil Gaiman who has been criticised after he admitted travelling more than 11,000 miles f
File photo dated 14/06/17 of writer Neil Gaiman who has been criticised after he admitted travelling more than 11,000 miles from New Zealand to his house in Skye in breach of Scotland's lockdown rules.

Police Scotland officers have spoken to the writer Neil Gaiman who admitted to travelling more than 11,000 miles from New Zealand to his house in Skye in breach of Scotland’s lockdown rules.

The American Gods and Good Omens author said he travelled to Scotland so he could “isolate easily” after he and his wife Amanda agreed they “needed to give each other some space”.

Writing on his blog, he described how he flew “masked and gloved” from Auckland Airport to Los Angeles (LAX) and then on to London before borrowing a friend’s car and driving north to Skye.

Only essential journeys are permitted under lockdown rules in Scotland, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressing the message north of the border is “stay at home”.

Autumn weather Oct 10th 2016
Gaiman travelled to the Isle of Skye from his home in New Zealand (Yui Mok/PA)

A statement from the Scottish police force confirmed the 59-year-old had been given “suitable advice”.

Inspector Linda Allan said: “Officers have visited Neil Gaiman and spoken to him about his actions.

“He has been given suitable advice about essential travel and reminded about the current guidelines in Scotland.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who is also the MP for Skye, tweeted: “Can I just remind anyone else thinking of coming to the Highlands this is against the regulations.

“To come from the other end of the planet is gobsmacking. We will welcome all to the Highlands when it is safe to do so. For now stay away.”

Ian Blackford
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford called Neil Gaiman’s actions ‘gobsmacking’ (House of Commons/PA)

Gaiman said he was in New Zealand with his wife and son Ash until two weeks ago, when the country went from level four of lockdown – which it had been on for the previous five weeks – to level three.

He compared his journey – from Auckland Airport to London via LAX – with “flying a week after 9/11: everything’s changed”.

In response to some criticism online, Gaiman responded: “I’m currently a UK taxpayer and on the Scottish voting rolls. I went home.”

At her daily coronavirus briefing on Monday, the First Minister was asked about Gaiman.

She said travelling to remote parts of the country risked bringing the virus there and putting pressure on local services.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Do not do it. You should not be travelling away from your home apart from in the essential circumstances that we cover here on a daily basis.

“So that’s my message to Neil Gaiman and it’s my message to everybody. The more we stick with this right now, the sooner we will get to the point I spoke about earlier where we start to take these concrete steps back to normality.”

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