One of Scotland’s most popular holiday islands was closed to day-trippers yesterday as crowds headed for the coast despite Covid cases continuing to climb.
Ferry operator CalMac suspended day trips on the Largs-to-Millport route after queues built up at the pier and the service could not cope.
Bosses pulled the plug on the Cumbrae service at lunchtime yesterday, saying in a statement: “Due to constrained capacity, all day trips have been suspended for the remainder of today.”
Police were also on patrol at beaches, parks and beauty spots yesterday as people flocked to enjoy the sunshine ahead of children returning to school.
Uniformed officers were present at popular spots such as Portobello beach in Edinburgh and Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow as temperatures reached the mid-20s.
Coastal roads and routes to rural areas were filled with traffic, and police had to remove cars causing obstructions at Glen Nevis near Fort William.
But the heatwave is not due to last as weather warnings have been issued for next week when thunderstorms and torrential rain are predicted to sweep across Scotland.
Lockdown restrictions remain in place in Aberdeen, and yesterday it was announced that 39 of the 60 new confirmed coronavirus cases were in the NHS Grampian area. Nine were in Greater Glasgow.
The number of people ordered to self-isolate in the NHS Grampian area doubled overnight, with 643 people now having been identified as close contacts of someone with the virus.
Temperatures reached 19˚C in the Granite City, where residents have been warned to be vigilant for symptoms and abide by stricter rules on movement and travelling for exercise.
Aberdeen players, who broke club rules by going out last Saturday before two of them tested positive and six more had to go into isolation, apologised for their “error of judgment” yesterday.
National clinical director Jason Leitch said the increase of 60 cases was “not unexpected” but “still worries us”. He said: “We know that at 3.30pm yesterday we had 110 cases connected to this outbreak.
“We allow test and protect to do its work, rather than be constantly sending us hourly updates and that’s the way it should be. I would expect a number of those positives to be connected.”
Susan Webb, director of public health for NHS Grampian, said: “There has been a substantial rise in the number of close contacts, which is not entirely unexpected.
“We speak to detected cases more than once, as we know they will recall different details as they reflect on what they have been doing and where, and who they have met.
“We remain extremely grateful for the support and co-operation of each of them. The information they provide ensures our investigation can be as thorough as possible.”
Areas of England, where London hit a tropical 36˚C, have also been hit by new local lockdowns. Preston in Lancashire was the latest town to have tighter regulations reimposed after a spike of coronavirus cases among under-30s.
But sunworshippers elsewhere were undeterred and flocked to the coast to cram onto busy beaches, with police having to turn cars away from Camber Sands in Sussex as early as 10am.
People even camped overnight in Bournemouth, Dorset, to make sure of a spot, and in North Wales tourists ignored pleas from council chiefs to stay away.
There were similar scenes in Scotland, where people were determined to head outdoors, despite fears of further local clusters of Covid-19.
By 9am, car parks at Ben A’an, Ben Lomond and Ben Vorlich were full of vehicles.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park urged visitors to come up with a “Plan B destination” if there was nowhere to park legally. Despite the advice, cars lined verges on the A82. The roads in the East Neuk of Fife were packed with cars and camper vans as people flocked to the coast.
Car parks were filled to overflowing and cars lined the roads, making passing all-but impossible.
There was gridlock in St Andrews, where people faced traffic jams stretching miles on the roads to and from the beach. People living in the town complained on social media that visitors were not observing social distancing rules or wearing masks in shops. They also reported people parking on zebra crossings.
One wrote on social media: “It’s one of the busiest days, if not the busiest, I have seen in Fife.”
Tailbacks also formed on roads into Ayrshire, where people were keen to get to the beaches at Irvine, Troon and Ayr.
Congestion also affected Callander in Stirlingshire and Traffic Scotland urged people to find an alternative destination with car parks all full by 11am.
A 10-mile stretch of the NC500 had to be closed by police after a serious road accident involving two vehicles on the A894 near Scourie in Sutherland.
Police also had to be called after drivers ignored signs about a road closure on the B976 at Ballater leading to Loch Muick.
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