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Adventures in Scotland

How can we continue to run hillwalking holidays during the pandemic?

hillwalking holidays

On November 19, 2020 By Rebecca Field

2020 has been an “interesting” year for those who operate hillwalking holidays. It’s been a time to appreciate our Scot Mountain Holidays family and friends. A time when we’ve been thankful to have so many guests who come back time and again to see us and experience a slice of life in the Highlands of Scotland.

Certainly, for us, this has been a year to appreciate living in the Highlands; enjoying the little things; appreciating the ability to stay in touch with friends and family (even when we can’t see them in person); and thinking about new horizons or opportunities to explore.

Hillwalking holidays – enjoying the outdoors during the pandemic

There are things to be thankful for, despite the restrictions we’ve been forced to live with this year. Hopefully we’ll also be able to learn some lessons for the future. One thing which has been repeatedly emphasised is that being outdoors significantly reduces the risk of contracting the virus. Many people either discovered or re-discovered the joy of the outdoors and many ways to experience the UK this year – without being in crowded places. Long may it last.

Hillwalking has been the province of the middle-aged, middle-class, white person for some time now. I’ve yet to see figures and demographics for the many people who enjoyed the outdoors this summer (2020) but I hope statistics will show that there has been greater diversity. Certainly the rise in mountain rescue callouts would suggest that there has been a greater influx of newbies.

If you know of anyone who’s been bitten by the bug and wants to get into the outdoors more, bag more Munros, explore year-round – pass on our details – we’re always happy to share years of outdoor experience and can offer  foraging tips, navigation refreshers/intro courses and winter skills

hillwalking in Scotland

Social distancing – before it was an “in” thing to do

Stay safe while in the Highlands on hillwalking holidays

Fortunately we have several advantages which have allowed us to  continue to run trips through the pandemic (except during strict lockdown phases).

  1. we are a very small company – this virus thrives on people being in close proximity in large numbers. As a micro business we have chosen to be a single, household provider. We live in a very small community and provide all our meals in-house at the moment (we have temporarily suspended the meals out on the day off to restrict further the potential to be infected by the virus)
  2. all activities on our trips take place in the great outdoors
  3. every person/household booking on the trip has their own individual room to retire to.
  4. masks are worn when moving around Fraoch Lodge
  5. staff (us) and guests are socially distanced at all times
  6. Numbers are restricted. There is enough space for guests to socialise in the lounge and dining room, if they wish. You can still remain socially distanced at all times.
  7. plenty of soap and hand sanitiser are provided along with disinfectant wipes

We hope that we’ve managed to strike the right balance for you in providing a safe but social environment for you to come and explore the Highlands. Come and see us when travel is allowed once more.

hillwalking holidays

Our temporary advice until COVID is brought under control/defeated is to travel up by car where possible. Alternatively follow all the strictest guidelines on travel and wear a face covering at all times except when eating/drinking.

We hope that movement will be allowed once more for our winter season. Book your visit as soon as you can. There will no doubt be many desperate to get a wee break away from home by the time we’re released once more.

Conclusion

I could say a lot more about how safe it is to come and join us for a hillwalking holiday but really you’d probably be better off asking someone who was able to do just that before #lockdown2 started at the beginning of November. Here are Mala’s recommendations after her trip in September:

“I came to Fraoch Lodge with some nervousness as this was my first holiday on my own. From the moment I met Andy, Rebecca and Gregor, I was made to feel welcome and at ease.

I have had the best week here. I have loved the walks in the Glens, Forests and Lochs (programme) and Andy also kindly threw in a mountain! Through Andy’s knowledge of the environment and geography, I feel as though I have learnt so much about this incredible part of the world.

Rebecca’s cooking has been outstanding. Her inventive, creative cooking, and delicious dishes, and amazing cakes have really been a delight to experience and enjoy. I will miss “Cake o’Clock” and my evening with sage tea & Kindle.

I’ve loved chats and laughs with Gregor. Thank you to you all for making my holiday so special and memorable. Your hospitality and welcome has meant so much. I hope to come back and see you again one day.”

walking in the Cairngorms

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