Coronavirus: Neil Gaiman spoken to by police after 11,000-mile trip

Neil Gaiman and wife PamelaImage copyright
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Mr Gaiman left his wife Amanda Palmer and son behind in Auckland

Police have spoken to author Neil Gaiman after he admitted breaking Scotland’s lockdown rules by travelling 11,000 miles from New Zealand to Skye.

The Good Omens and American Gods writer left his wife and son in Auckland so he could “isolate” at his island retreat.

He wrote on his online blog: “Hullo from Scotland, where I am in rural lockown on my own.”

Police Scotland said officers had visited Mr Gaiman at his holiday home on Skye.

Insp Linda Allan said the officers spoke to the author “about his actions”.

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

‘Concerns and outrage’

The science fiction and fantasy author has been criticised for “endangering” local people”.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who is the MP for the island, told the Sunday Times the author’s journey was unacceptable.

He said: “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?”

Kate Forbes, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, also criticised the writer’s actions.

She said: “The remarkable thing is that he posted a blog post about his travel to Skye – evidently oblivious to local residents’ concerns and outrage about people breaking lockdown and putting their community at risk.

“The Highlands does not exist for anybody’s personal self-isolation needs.”

Mr Gaiman – whose main family home is in Woodstock in the USA – has owned the house on Skye for more than 10 years.

The English-born author wrote on his blog that until two weeks ago he had been living in New Zealand with his wife, the singer Amanda Palmer, and their four-year-old son.

He said the couple agreed “that we needed to give each other some space”.

‘Masked and gloved’

The 59-year-old said he flew “masked and gloved, from empty Auckland airport” to Los Angeles.

He then caught a British Airways flight to London before borrowing a friend’s car and heading for Skye.

“I drove north, on empty motorways and then on empty roads, and got in about midnight, and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Gaiman, whose best known works include American Gods, Good Omens and the children’s novel Coraline, has described Skye as his favourite place in the world and the best place for him to write.

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