Author Neil Gaiman faced a furious backlash after he revealed he had travelled more than 11,000 miles from New Zealand to his home in Skye in breach of lockdown rules.
The Stardust and American Gods writer told fans in a blog that he was in “rural lockdown on my own” having flown to London via Los Angeles and then made the journey north by car.
Skye MP Ian Blackford said Mr Gaiman’s action were “gobsmacking”, and he was also condemned by followers online, some of whom accused him of “selfishness” while the island is trying to stop the spread of coronavirus.
In his blog, Mr Gaiman said he and his wife Amanda decided “to give each other some space” and he had flown “masked and gloved” from Auckland to Los Angeles then on to London.
“Both flights were surreal, especially the flight to London. Empty airports, mostly empty planes. It reminded me of flying a week after 9/11: everything’s changed.”
He then took a friend’s spare car and drove “on empty motorways and then on empty roads” to Skye.
Mr Gaiman, who also has a house in Woodstock, said he “needed to be somewhere I could continue to isolate easily”. He said he drove directly to his house and immediately went into quarantine.
Ian Blackford said: “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. “
Skye councillor John Gordon, whose father was one of the residents to die from Covid-19 at the Home Farm Care Home in Skye, added: “Despite a lockdown it is frustrating that people can still access planes and public transport with the possibility of the virus spreading, hence the message stay at home. Borders should have be closed.
“Many people locally will not go on a drive during lockdown, even for a few miles to go on walks around Skye. So it’s astonishing that you can travel from the other end of the world during a worldwide pandemic and a worldwide lockdown.”
One online post read: “And there we have it, the selfishness and ‘me’ mentality which spreads this deadly disease, and to Skye of all places. Who does he think he is? Another one that the rules and guidelines do not apply to”.
Another said: “While I appreciate you’re going through relationships drama, I would have hoped that you’re common sense wouldn’t have eluded you. Scotland is in lockdown, no unnecessary travel. Your selfishness is staggering”.
Mr Gaiman replied: “I’m currently a UK taxpayer and on the Scottish voting rolls. I went home”.
He added: “You are allowed to go home. I did and then isolated for two weeks. That’s not breaking the rule of lockdown”.