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Scot Mountain Holidays and COVID-19

Scot Mountain Holidays & Covid–19

Reviewed and updated 2/7/20

Please be aware that this is an evolving document and is regularly reviewed to reflect the current government advice and developing science around Covid-19. We are planning to reopen on the 15th July as advised by the Scottish Government. Details of the measures we are taking and asking are guests to take to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are listed below. 

Detailed below are the measures we are taking and asking you to take to protect yourself, ourselves and the wider local community. 

 

To Guests:

The science of this pandemic is evolving on a weekly basis. In this fast moving situation it is likely at times that your level of understanding of the disease is going to differ from others in the wider community. We are asking you to be mindful of this prospect and bear in mind how your actions might be perceived. We do of course frequently review what actions we ask our guests to take.

Finally at the bottom we have detailed the relevant science that underpins the measures we are taking. 

Please click on the links below to take you to the relevant sections, where you will see the extra measures we have applied to keep you, ourselves and the wider community safe at the moment.

Bookings and Scheduling of Trips

Booking Procedure

Travel to the Scottish Highlands

Cleaning Protocol – a twin approach

Accommodation

Catering

Transport

Guest health post trip

 

Up Coming Bookings

Firstly, we have received some lovely and very sympathetic messages from our guests and friends. Over 90% of our guests with holiday bookings have chosen to postpone their trips with us. Talking to other Adventure Tour Operators they have experienced a very similar level of goodwill from their own clientele. Thank you.

We have already made contact with all those who have bookings with us to see what they would prefer to do. Many of you have booked on a particular trip partly because you know who else is going. Some in the group have partners who fall into the “at risk” category and so understandably are very reluctant to expose themselves to any risk of catching Covid – 19.  In these cases we have simply postponed the trip a full 12 months.

Going Forward ….

For those of you who don’t know us, Scot Mountain Holidays is unique amongst Scottish Adventure Tour Operators in that all increments of our Cairngorm trips; accommodation, guiding and transport, are provided within the same household. Not only does it help to limit the risk of transmission but we have full control in the manner in which Covid-19 measures are delivered. Our accommodation, Fraoch Lodge, is small, can operate on low numbers and is easily divided meaning it is easy to give exclusive use of an area to a particular group.

Although we may not be able to offer our full range of Scottish trips straight off we feel the above will allow us to operate some of our guided Cairngorm trips relatively early on.

 

Bookings and Scheduling of Trips

 

Our Commitment to you:

 

  • Our trips are delivered through a single household and to begin with and throughout the rest of the summer will be based from our home, Fraoch Lodge.  We presently plan to run our first “away” trip in Torridon in September but will review this closer to the time.

 

  • Timing between trips: As part of our two pronged approach and in addition to the special cleaning measures we are instigating, we are leaving 55 hours between the departure of one group and the arrival of the next and disinfecting all high touch and non porous surfaces. Research has shown that the virus does not survive more than 24 hours on porous surfaces [1]. Although the virus is spread mainly through droplets, it is none the less an important avenue of transmission.

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Booking Procedure

 

  Our Commitment to you:

 

  • We have changed our booking procedure to reflect these unsure times. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for full details but in summary we are reducing the booking deposit from 50% down to £100 per trip. Deposits can be transferred up to twice across two other trips and if full payment is made that can be transferred unlimited times over a 3 year period.   

 

  • As before monies paid are protected under UK The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992

 

  • Having been operating for the last 22 yrs we are lucky enough to find ourselves on a relatively sound financial footing. We are confident once some of the relevant restrictions are eased and you feel confident enough to travel we will be in a position to deliver your holiday.

 

Your commitment to us:

 

  • The day before departing for a trip you will be required to complete and return a health declaration form. This is an important requirement of our risk assessment for the trip. You will also be required to agree to a partake in anti covid-19 measures.

 

  • If you are notified or that you, or any member of your household, have come into contact with anyone suffering from covid-19, you must notify us and quarantine for 14 days. If this means you can’t take up part or all of your booking we will happily transfer your booking to a later date with no extra cost to yourself.

 

  • If you have symptoms, however mild, 0r are in a household where someone has symptoms, them you must stay at home.

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Travel to the Scottish Highlands

 

  • Prior to arrival guests are asked to minimise their social contact as much as possible 14 days before arrival.  

 

  • Where possible, we would recommend travelling by car to reach Fraoch Lodge, despite it being against our green principles. We recognise that for some of our guests this is not a realistic option. Due to the new precautions now in place by the airlines and airports and that our guests will be flying for a little over 1hr, we are comfortable with our guests travelling by air.

 

  • It is now mandatory to wear a face covering when flying and on public transport. We would also ask guests to carry their own personal hand sanitiser.’

 

Our Commitment to you:

  • We are suspending our £15 public transport discount to encourage you and other guests not to use public transport. This is kept under review.

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Cleaning Protocol – a twin approach.

 

Research shows that the virus doesn’t survive more than 72 hours on surfaces.  As well as a heightened cleaning protocol to protect both guests and ourselves, we also leave this length of time between one group departing and the next group arriving. This twin approach adds an extra level of security. 

In addition to our normal cleaning procedures and with reference to the above our approach is 2 fold: for 

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Accommodation 

Our Commitment to you:

  • Hand sanitizers are installed and maintained with sanitizer (meets WHO guidelines) at the 3 main entry points to the building
  • A hand washing facility at the rear/main entrance of the building
  • Disinfectant mats for footwear are installed and maintained at the 3 main entry points to the building. Outdoor footwear. On arrival at Fraoch Lodge guests are required to disinfect outdoor footwear in foot baths containing soap solution.
  • Guest bathroom and toilet facilities are kept separate from staff bathrooms. [4] 
  • Bathrooms are deep cleaned after each household stay. [4]
  • Soft furnishings are either laundered (e.g. cushions) or steam cleaned (e.g. bus upholstery, etc) after each household stay.

 

Your commitment to us and the wider community:

  • You wash your hands or use hand sanitizer where ever it is provided prior to entering the building.
  • Use disinfectant mats to disinfect the soles of your shoes where ever they are provided. 
  • Property ventilation; guests are encouraged to ventilate their rooms as much as possible [4]. This greatly helps to reduce the viral load. Fraoch Lodge is situated in a very quiet road in Boat of Garten, during normal sleeping hours very little traffic passes the property. Guests should have no problem sleeping whilst they leave the window open.

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 Catering

Our Commitment to you:

  • As always, prior to any meals being prepared and served the staff will wash their hands in soap and water in accordance with government advice
  • At Fraoch Lodge we have a new outdoor covered area. Where possible meals will be served outside.
  • All crockery, cutlery and cooking equipment is dried thoroughly after washing. [4]
  • Due to the main house being and old building, air renewal in the communal rooms is generally good. When not in use the doors of the woodburners in the lounge and dining room are left open to maintain good air renewal.
  • Around 99% of our groceries are delivered through our catering suppliers, helping to minimise our contact with other people. 
  • All meals are prepared using a mask/face covering
  • We as a family will no longer eat with our guests unless we are eating al fresco (outdoors)

Your commitment to us:

  • Guests are required to wash their hands in soap and water at the location provided prior to every meal in accordance with government guidance.

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Transport

Our Commitment to you:

Your commitment to us:

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Guest health post trip

Your commitment to us:

  • Guest are also asked to inform us should they develop any symptoms within 14 days after departing from a trip.

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