IAN Blackford has condemned author Neil Gaiman’s “gobsmacking” decision to travel 12,000 miles from New Zealand to his holiday home on Skye during lockdown.
The local MP and SNP Westminster leader spoke out after the Good Omens and American Gods writer flouted Scottish Government rules so he could “isolate” in Scotland, leaving his wife and son in Auckland.
Blackford accused the author of showing a lack of respect to the residents of Skye and told people to stay away from the area.
He 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.”
Gaiman wrote on his blog that he travelled to Scotland last week after he and his wife agreed “that we needed to give each other some space”. The English-born author said he flew “masked and gloved, from empty Auckland airport” to Los Angeles before heading to London. From there, he borrowed a friend’s car and drove to Skye.
He wrote: “I drove north, on empty motorways and then on empty roads, and got in about midnight, and I’ve been here ever since. I needed to be somewhere I could talk to people in the UK while they and I were awake, not just before breakfast and after dinner. And I needed to be somewhere I could continue to isolate easily.
“It’s rough for almost everyone right now – some people are crammed together and wish they weren’t, some are alone and crave companionship, pretty much all of us are hurting in one way or another. So be kind.”
READ MORE: American Gods author Neil Gaiman travels 12,000 miles to Skye during lockdown
Gaiman, who has described Skye as his favourite place in the world and ideal location to write, made the journey despite a deadly coronavirus outbreak at a care home on the island. A total of 10 residents have now died at the Home Farm care home, with 29 staff members also testing positive for the virus.
Blackford asked: “What is it about people, when they know we are in the middle of lockdown that they think they can come here from the other side of the planet, in turn endangering local people from exposure to this infection that they could have picked up at any step of the way?
“To descend on this island at this time, when we have a serious outbreak which has resulted in such tragic circumstances – it pays scant respect to the families of the bereaved and the people who live here.”
Gaiman also came under fire on Twitter. One comment read: “Whilst I appreciate you’re going through relationships drama, I would have hoped that your common sense wouldn’t have eluded you.
“Scotland is in lockdown, no unnecessary travel.”
The author responded: “I’m currently a UK taxpayer and on the Scottish voting rolls. I went home.”