Following further clarification from the Scottish Canoe Association and Sport Scotland we are able to operate with people who live in the Highlands in groups of up to 15. Our booking portal will only take bookings from 26th April at this time so, if you live locally and wish to undertake an adventure, please get in touch direct.
The only amendment to our operating procedures from last year is that we will be asking every participant over the age of 12 years to complete a Coronavirus questionnaire before we commence the session. This will be retained for a period of 21 days after your adventure before being destroyed securely.
We still encourage you to download the NHS Scotland Test and Protect App to your phone or mobile device and to carry this with you whenever practicable.
Following the First Minister's announcement on 9th March 2021 we may be able to resume adventures with people from our local council region (the Highlands) from Friday 12th March. We are still awaiting clarity as to whether there will be a cap of 'four people from two households' (including the guide) or 'group of 15 for organised sport' and hope to have this in the next few days.
While the expectation is that the 'stay at home' requirement may be lifted on 5th April, we know this is subject to change. So, at this time, we are still planning on a full reopening on 26th April 2021 which we hope will coincide with travel restrictions being lifted in Scotland. We are therefore taking bookings from people living outside of our locality for all adventures from this date onwards.
If restrictions should be extended, this will be updated accordingly.
This year, we are not taking deposits for bookings for multi-day adventures. Please use the 'request date' facility on the booking system and we will get back to you to confirm exactly what you are after and book you in. If you book through the online system, you will be asked to pay in full upfront.
Bookings made online require the full payment to be made upfront. This will be 100% refunded so long as a 'reasonable' notice period is given. If you have any concerns about this, please contact us direct and we will book you in ourselves with no deposit required.
We reserve the right to retain sufficient to cover our costs should your cancellation mean that we will not be able to pay our guides.
If your group contains TWO family units then, as a courtesy, please let us know in advance.
Prior to visiting Scotland, please download the ‘Protect Scotland’ app to your phone and ensure that Bluetooth is switched on. I’m told that the app does not track your movements, but does enable contact tracing to be enacted should the need arise.
Due to patchy mobile signal and the rapidly changing situation, it will be your responsibility to call us (07521 676274) between 18:00 and 21:00 pm one or two evenings before your trip to finalise plans for your adventure.
Please be very honest and open with us and advise us whether anything has changed since you completed the booking information. You will not lose out financially as a result of cancelling your trip during 2021. For your safety and ours, we reserve the right to cancel your trip at this point should we feel there is a risk of the virus being spread as a result of your adventure.
We are confident that we have put in place sufficient measures to be able to meet you at Otter Adventures. Please park in the identified spaces and wait at the ‘Meeting Point’. There is not room inside to maintain social distancing which means that we are unable to provide any toilet or changing facilities so please ensure you are already dressed in appropriate clothing.
Please have a face mask and hand sanitiser with you as we may need to move kayaks or canoes and could be within 2 meters of each other.
It is strongly recommended that you use an appropriate hand sanitiser (minimum 70% alcohol) when you arrive and during your adventure, especially before eating any food.
The sharing of cars/vehicles is likely to be advised against this summer. Therefore, only in exceptional circumstances, will we permit guests in our vehicles.
Due to limited equipment and the cleaning regimes now required, we will not be including waterproof jackets and trousers on our adventures. Please bring your own. Sorry.
Your guide will maintain appropriate social distancing during the session as far as is possible and practical and we ask that you endeavour to do the same during the entire session. To help judge this, a sea kayak paddle is over two metres, a canoe paddle or mountain bike around 1.5-1.7 meters.
Your guide will demonstrate how to put on your buoyancy aid/personal floatation device (PFD) whilst maintaining social distancing. We ask that group members help anyone in their group who is struggling with this. Your guide will also help unload/load boats and get them to the water so there is minimum contact with the equipment and social distancing maintained as far as is possible. Please have a face mask/covering on your person whilst moving boats around as we may need to be within 2 meters of each other for a short period of time.
When getting in and out of the boats, especially on beaches you will get wet feet. Please wear old trainers or neoprene beach shoes.
We have modified rescue procedures in order to maintain social distancing should you capsize. If you are struggling, this distance may well be reduced and face masks may not be appropriate due to the water environment.
We always strive to make your adventure safe, but occasionally minor injuries do happen, usually on dry land. Initially your guide will assist from a minimum of two metres distance and may ask one of your party to administer first aid. If there is a need for the guide to move closer, they will first put on a face mask, gloves and eye coverings for your protection as well as theirs.
At the end of your adventure, you will be asked to help put the boats back on the trailer, but not to tie them down. Your guide will also ask you to put used equipment into a large ‘quarantine’ box in order to keep it separate from ‘clean’ equipment and reduce risk of transmission.
Please have a face mask/covering available during this part of the adventure as we may be within 2 meters of each other briefly whilst moving boats.
‘Soft' items (excluding PPE) will be dunked in appropriate disinfecting solutions, rinsed in fresh water before and air dried in direct sunlight (UV rays are shown to render the Coronavirus untenable). If weather conditions do not permit this, they will be dried in a dehumidified room (low humidity and heat also reduces the viability of viruses). Recent research suggests that the viability of the Novel Coronavirus is a matter of hours on soft sports equipment.
I will not compromise safety by going against manufacturers’ recommendations, so will be quarantining buoyancy aids for 72 hours. Capacity is therefore limited by their availability.
‘Hard’ equipment, such as boats and paddles, will be sprayed with appropriate disinfectant, left for minimum of ten minutes before rinsing with fresh water and left in direct sunlight.
DISCLAIMER: It is not possible to guarantee complete disinfection: the goal is to minimise risk in a similar way to other viruses and in adventure activities generally.
In line with industry guidance, we recommend that you wash/sanitise your hands frequently and also wash clothes as soon as possible after the activity session.
Please do take the time to leave reviews of your experience on Trip Advisor, Facebook or Google so other visitors can be reassured that not only is Otter Adventures open, but that everything possible is being done to manage safety, including Coronavirus, during your adventures.
If you feel there is anything we could do to improve our service or adventure, especially if that relates to Coronavirus, please email me direct (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we may learn from your experiences and improve the way we operate.
The general consensus is that we don’t know very much about the virus; Otter Adventures is certainly not an expert in this. Consequently, we will review these operating procedures regularly and in line with government guidelines so they may change at short notice. Please be assured that we will be doing our utmost to protect you and your family, our guides and theirs as well as our local communities.
It is vital that you inform us and ‘NHS Inform’ if you or anyone in your party develop symptoms of Coronavirus within seven days of your activity. Downloading the ‘Protect Scotland’ app to your phone and ensuring Bluetooth is switched on will help should contact tracing be necessary.
Thank you for your understanding, patience and support throughout this difficult time.
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