NEWS
17/05/2020 15:47 BST

'I Went Home' – Author Neil Gaiman Responds To Criticism After Travelling From New Zealand To Skye During Lockdown

The bestselling author recently travelled more than 11,000 miles to his home in Skye.

Jeff Spicer via Getty Images
Gaiman made the trip to Scotland 

Author Neil Gaiman has responded to criticism of his 11,000 mile journey from New Zealand to Skye amid coronavirus lockdown restrictions. 

Writing on his blog, the American Gods and Good Omens author said he travelled to Scotland so he could “isolate easily” after he and his wife Amanda agreed they “needed to give each other some space”.

He described how he flew “masked and gloved” from Auckland Airport to Los Angeles (LAX) and then on to London before borrowing a friend’s car and driving north to Skye.

Only essential journeys are permitted under lockdown rules in Scotland, with first minister Nicola Sturgeon stressing the message north of the border is “stay at home”.

After attracting negative responses to his blog post, the author responded by stating that he is a UK taxpayer and was returning home. 

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who is also the MP for Skye, 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.”

In a post on his blog on Thursday, science fiction and fantasy author Gaiman wrote: “Hullo from Scotland, where I am in rural lockdown on my own.”

He said he was in New Zealand with his wife and son Ash until two weeks ago, when the country went from level four of lockdown – which it had been on for the previous five weeks – to level three.

Gaiman wrote: “I flew, masked and gloved, from empty Auckland Airport to LAX, an empty international terminal with only one check-in counter open – the one for the BA flight from LAX 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.

“I landed in London about 10 in the morning, got a masked car service to a friend’s house. He had a spare car (bought many years ago as a birthday present for his daughter, but she had never learned to drive), with some groceries for me in a box in the back, waiting in the drive, with the key in the lock.

“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 his family are looking forward to being together again once the world opens up and travel gets easier, and that “Amanda and I are still very much together, even with half a world between us”.

But Gaiman has been criticised on social media for making the journey.

One person wrote: “It is still lockdown here in Scotland… would love to be able to visit my family and friends… but can’t and won’t. Sorry but this is not on.”

Another person wrote: “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.”

Gaiman responded: “I’m currently a UK taxpayer and on the Scottish voting rolls. I went home.”