Neil Gaiman issues apology to Skye residents after breaking Scotland's lockdown rules

Neil Gaiman has issued a heartfelt apology to the people of Skye - just days after he faced widespread public criticism for breaking Scotland’s lockdown rules.

On Sunday, it emerged that the bestselling science fiction and fantasy author had travelled more than 11,000 miles from New Zealand to his second home in Skye, so he could "isolate easily" after he and his wife, the singer Amanda Palmer, agreed they "needed to give each other some space".

Gaiman was widely condemned for his actions, but responded by pointing out that he is currently a UK taxpayer and “on the Scottish voting rolls,” so he “went home.”

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The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who is the MP for the island, led a chorus of disapproval and told the Sunday Times that Gaiman's journey was unacceptable, and described his actions as "gobsmacking".

Author Neil Gaiman.

Now, in a grovelling apology, the American Gods writer has admitted that his actions had been the “most foolish thing” he had done in a while.

Writing on his blog, the 59-year-old.said: “So I did something stupid. I’m really sorry.

“Like so many other people, my home life and work had been turned upside-down by the Covid-19 lockdowns. I was panicked, more than a little overwhelmed and stuck in New Zealand.

“I went to the UK Government website trying to figure out what to do. I’ve been living in the UK since 2017, and all of my upcoming work is here - so ‘you are strongly advised to return now’ looked like the most important message.

“I waited until New Zealand was done with its strict lockdown and took the first flight out.”

Gaiman was quizzed by police on Skye after news of the breach had emerged.

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

A statement from Police Scotland confirmed Hampshire-born writer had been "issued with suitable advice about essential travel and reminded about the current guidelines in Scotland."

Addressing this on his blog, Gaiman wrote: “I got to chat to some local police officers yesterday, who said all thing considered I should have stayed where I was safe in New Zealand, and I agreed that yes, all things considered, I should.

“Mostly they wanted to be sure I was alright, and had been isolating, and that I would keep isolating here until the lockdown ends, and to make sure I knew the rules.”

He added: “Since I got here Skye has had its own tragic Covid outbreak.

"It’s not set up to handle things like this, and all the local resources are needed to look after the local community.

“So yes, I made a mistake. Don’t do what I did. Don’t come to the Highlands and Islands unless you have to.

“I want to apologise to everyone on the island for creating such a fuss. I also want to thank and apologise to the local police, who had better things to do than check up on me.

“I’m sure I’ve done sillier things in my life, but this is the most foolish thing I’ve done in quite a while.”

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