Our Response: Coronavirus (Covid – 19)

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This article is in response to the Covid-19 virus, last updated 18th March 2020.

UPDATED ON THURSDAY the 4th of JUNE 2020 

Scotland has made some changes to the Lockdown in relation to a Phased Approach of easing restrictions. We are now in Phase One. This includes a Test and Protect Policy. In Scotland the Lockdown is NOT the same as the other 3 nations in the UK. We will closely monitor the situation regarding any changing legislation, guidance and advice.

The current situation in terms of Trek Scotland remains as follows:

  • Travel restrictions remain in place throughout Scotland.  The Scottish Government is clear that people should only make journeys that are essential, locally based and that they should not travel beyond their local base to the countryside and national parks to self isolate or for leisure activities, especially in remote mountain areas.
  • Travelling to access exercise, including open countryside and mountain environments, suggests a limit of around 5 miles [8kms].
  • Travel from England, Wales and Northern Ireland into Scotland for leisure activities is also restricted at present.
  • If travelling into Scotland from outside of the UK and the Republic of Ireand it is likely that you will have to place yourself in strict self isolating quarantine for 14 days. 
  • Strict physical distancing must be maintained at all times, even in outdoor situations. 
  • A maximum of 8 people can meet outdoors BUT can only be from two different households and MUST maintain physical distancing. 
  • We are also following advice and guidance from Mountaineering Scotland, the British Mountaineering Council, Police Scotland and Scottish Mountain Rescue asking people not to put themselves in situations of unnecessary risk in the mountains. This is so emergency services can focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and not have their resources diverted to Mountain Rescue situations. It is also as a means of protecting the Health and Safety of their own personnel. 
  • Most car parks and public toilets, especially in mountain areas, are closed.
  • Accommodation for tourism is not available and overnight stays are not permitted, even in camper vans or wild camping.
  • In Scotland, at present, much of this guidance is legally binding.
  • The incidence rate of COVID-19 in the Highlands of Scotland remains one of the lowest in the UK. 

All these measures mean that we are unable to offer Wilderness Mountain Trekking, either Multi or Single Day, at present. Once Scotland enters Phase 3 of the easing of the Lockdown we might be able to offer Single Day Treks.

We felt it appropriate to produce some further information for our clients who have booked, or who are thinking of booking with us, in the future.

  • The health and safety of our clients, and our guides and partners, are paramount.
  • We have postponed all treks up to the 31st of July to similar dates in 2021.   We will then continue to monitor the situation, take guidance from appropriate health and governmental bodies, and act on a week to week basis. At present new bookings are on hold for this season but bookings for 2021 are now open. 
  • We have contacted all people who have booked with us up to the end of July, to update them on their specific Trek and the options available.  
  • As the Coronavirus [Covid – 19] situation is changing on a daily basis we will look to update this information on an ongoing basis.

What are we doing?

We always follow high standards of hygiene irrespective of the current situation. We currently do the following:

  • Clean gear thoroughly between uses, including methods of sterilisation where possible and the use of antibacterial and antiviral products.
  • Provide clients with an alcohol based hand sanitiser for use during treks and the facility to heat water at camp for hand washing.
  • Make sure that all food and gear is prepared to strict hygiene protocols.

What extra precautions are we taking?

  • We have introduced UVC disinfection germicidal lamps with ozone bulbs to our sterilising kit, meaning we can enhance the cleaning of our trekking gear in terms of destroying viruses on surfaces that can’t be chemically treated.
  • We will be emphasising good hygiene throughout our treks and keeping close contact to a minimum.
  • All  clients on Multiday Treks will be given a brand new Water To Go filtration bottle which they can take home with them.
  • All clients will be asked to bring their own mask [none surgical] or ‘buff’ so it can be used as a face cover at appropriate times.
  • We will not be offering transport, including pick up and drop off, as part of our Treks until further notice.
  • Once we re start taking bookings they will come with a Peace of Mind Guarantee linked to our Cancellation Policy
What can you do?

  • Of course we will expect anyone who has symptoms or a diagnosis of Covid-19 within 14 days before a trek to act responsibly and not attend and follow medical guidance in regards to treatment and self-isolation.
  • Keep up to date with the current situation and follow advice from the World Health Organisation and NHS Scotland
  • Check your travel insurance, or take it out if you haven’t already done so.  Our cancellation policy still applies. Please read this and take the necessary precautions. As part of Peace of Mind Guarantee, if we cancel Treks we will offer you a choice of either Postponing to a later date, receiving a  Voucher that can be used in the future, or a full Refund.
  • If you become ill within 14 days after a trek,  please notify us!
  • If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.

 
In Summary:

  • All our Treks until the 31st of July 2020 are postponed to similar dates next year [2021] 
  • We will look to restart our Trekking when it becomes safe to do so and within any restrictions, guidance, advice and legislation. 
  • At present, all new bookings for this season are on hold.
  • Ensure you have travel insurance in case you have to cancel due to illness or quarantine.
  • If we have to cancel a trek, full refunds will be issued as per our usual cancellation policy as well as a choice to postpone or receive a voucher to be used a later date. 
  • We have a Peace of Mind guarantee if we cancel a Trek
  • If any restrictions are put in place by the UK or Scottish Governments, and your travel is imminent, then the impact of this might be covered by your travel insurance policy.

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