The following are our policies for four main aspects for handling your booking:
Please take the time to read them as they form an essential part of your booking contract with Otter Adventures and you will be asked to accept these Terms and Conditions before proceeding to pay for your booking.
1) All our journeys will have a maximum number stated on the relevant pages. Some also require a minimum number and this will be indicated where relevant.
Our advertised pricing is based upon ‘open’ trips where anyone is able to book on up to the maximum number.
Bespoke trips below the maximum number are priced on an individual basis, but do ensure that you are able to get exactly what you want from the trip.
2) Bookings made online enable you to search for trips with availability during your stay in the area.
If there is a specific date you would like or would like a bespoke adventure, please telephone us and to discuss the possibilities. We are a small company and will do our best to accommodate such requests, but do not have a large team of guides to draw upon.
The sooner you contact us, the more likely it is that we will be able to assist.
At the time of booking you will be asked to tick a box to accept our Terms and Conditions and also to pay a deposit equal to 50% of the full booking fee. Please ensure you have read and are happy to accept our Terms and Conditions before proceeding to pay a deposit.
If booking 14 days or less before the trip, we may ask you to pay the full fee at the time of booking.
3) Booking over the telephone allows us to discuss your needs in more detail.
This is especially useful if there are any medical details that needs discussing or if you would like a bespoke or exclusive trip.
It also enables us, as far as is possible, to match clients on trips to each other so that aims are similar across the group.
At the time of booking you will be asked whether you have read our Terms and Conditions. If you have we will ask you to pay a deposit equal to 50% of the full fee. If you have not read these Terms and Conditions, then we will ask you to do so and get back in touch with us to confirm your understanding and acceptance.
If booking 14 days or less before the trip, we may ask you to pay the full fee at the time of booking.
4) When you book a tour of any form with Otter Adventures, you are entering into and signing a contract.
This contract shall come into existence only when we confirm your booking (email or post) following receipt of a deposit equal to 50% of the full booking cost.
A contract shall only arise when we confirm your booking in writing (email or post) with further details regarding your booking and tour. At this point, you will become responsible for paying the total cost of the booking unless the tour is cancelled; at which point our Cancellation Policy comes into effect
5) Whether you choose to pay over the telephone or via our online booking system, you can be reassured that your payment will be securely processed by WorldPay, one of the most recognised card payment processors in the UK. Through them we accept payments from American Express, our preferred card payment method, as well as most major credit and debit cards including MasterCard, Visa, Visa Electron and Maestro.
You can also pay through the PayPal if you prefer. If you do not have an account with them, simply select the ‘Pay with Debit or Credit card’ option when you reach the PayPal log in screen.
Making an online bank transfer (BACS) direct to us is another of our preferred options – they are on the invoices we send out or you may ask for our account details if you have not had an invoice yet.
Our entire website is protected by a 128-bit encrypted SSL Certificate provided by Let’s Encrypt in order to secure any information you may enter into our website such as your personal details or email address when making comment so subscribing to our newsletter. This also protects your card details, although these are only entered once you are on the World Pay secure payment pages. Card details are not recorded in any format by Otter Adventures and are used purely for the purposes of taking payments from you for your trip.
6) All payments are charged in UK ponds sterling (£) irrespective of your country’s currency.
You may incur an additional fee or charge from your card provider for exchanging your local currency into our currency.
7) If you need to cancel your booking, please get in touch as soon as possible to discuss it with us.
The more notice you give us, the more likely it is that we will be able to refund you in full.
However late it is, we will do our best to accommodate your change of circumstances in the most amicable way possible with the following cancellation policy in mind:
Cancellation by you
8) From the time of booking you have seven full days to change your mind, cancel your booking(s) and receive a full refund unless the booking was made 14 days or less prior to the start date of the trip (see below).
After this seven-day cancellation period and up to 15 days before the trip takes place, we will seek to reschedule your booking by offering you an alternative date, time or service. If this is not possible for, we reserve the right to retain the deposit (50% of the full fee) if refunding it would mean the cancellation of a trip to the detriment of other clients or the trip running at a loss.
If during this period we are able to fill the place(s) you have cancelled, we will refund all monies paid by yourself.
With 14 days or less notice, we will retain your deposit (50% of the full fee) as it is unlikely that we will be able to fill the place(s) vacated by your cancellation at such short notice.
If you paid in full at the time of booking, an amount equal to 50% of the full fee will be retained in lieu of a forfeited and the remainder refunded.
Cancellation by us
9) Where minimum numbers for our trips are required they will be clearly advertised on all relevant pages on the website. We may occasionally mark a trip as ‘Provisional’ until the minimum number of clients has been achieved. While we look to run every trip we advertise, some ‘Provisional’ trips may be cancelled at any point. We will contact you with as much notice as possible if this is the case.
It is inevitable that we will, at times, be affected by adverse weather. As a general rule, we will look to continue the same activity in a different location, change the activity to one appropriate for the conditions or cancel the trip.
Generally rain and cold are not reasons we would cancel a trip and you should dress appropriately for the weather at the time.
Strong winds sometimes make it impossible to canoe or kayak safely and are factors beyond our control.
We cannot accurately predict when it will be windy and are generally not able to give more than 24 hours notice in most situations. We will do our best to give as much notice as possible by phone, email or text (please bear in mind that mobile signal and WiFi are scarce around Ardnamurchan – we may send it, but you may not receive it immediately).
Similarly, if a member of staff is ill and unable to work, we will seek a replacement guide with suitable qualifications in the first instance. Where this is not possible, and it is rare to be able to do so at short notice in this area, we will contact you as soon as possible.
While such occurrences are rare, should we for any of the above reasons cancel a trip, you will receive a full refund of any monies paid to us by yourself in respect of the booking. As these circumstances (e.g. weather, wind, illness, etc.) are beyond our control, we will do our utmost to give as much notice as possible but we cannot be held liable for any expenses incurred by you beyond the money paid to Otter Adventures.
If you turn up for a trip under the influence of alcohol, drugs, etc. we may refuse to tale you on the trip. This will result in you being liable for the full fee.
10) If you cancel within seven days of making a booking you will be eligible to receive back any monies paid to us unless the booking was made 14 days or less before the start date of the trip, then the following condition applies:
With 14 days or less notice prior to the start date of your trip, your deposit (50% of the full fee) will be retained by Otter Adventures as it is unlikely that we will be able to fill your place(s) at short notice.
If we cancel a trip for any unforeseeable reason or happenings amounting to force majeure, such as those stated in the previous section, you will receive a full refund of any monies paid to us by yourself in respect of the booking.
We cannot be held liable for any expenses beyond the money paid by you to Otter Adventures in such circumstances.
Before the trip
11) Activities and tours such as those offered by Otter Adventures have an inherent element of risk and hazard about them and by entering into a contract with us you are acknowledging this as well as the governing body participation statements below. As a result of these hazards there is always a certain degree of on-trip flexibility and any itinerary stated on the website or in brochures is indicative only and not a guarantee that the specific route or location will be reached on that specific date.
12) The Scottish Canoe Association recognise that canoeing (deemed to include all paddlesports) is an assumed risk water contact sport where you, the client, participate in the knowledge that, while there is an element of ‘risk’ to the activity that cannot be completely removed.
Similarly, the governing body for mountain activities, the MLT, recognise that mountaineering (to include all rock and mountain related activities through the year) are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.
You must have a level of fitness commensurate with your chosen trip and you are responsible for bringing the appropriate equipment unless stated as being provided in the trip details. If, in the opinion of the guide, your fitness or equipment may compromise the safety of a trip for yourself or any member of the party, we reserve the right to cancel or terminate your holiday. In such circumstances you will not be entitled to a refund or compensation.
13) While Otter Adventures holds all appropriate insurance policies that enable us to operate, we strongly recommended you take out suitable travel insurance to cover potential cancellation of a trip or your inability to attend the trip as well against personal injury.
We also recommend that you have suitable insurance to cover loss or damage to personal belongings, as we cannot be held responsible for any damage to your items during the trip except through negligence on our behalf.
Otter Adventures cannot be held liable for damage or loss of any personal belongings or any injuries sustained by you or any of your party during the tour unless the company can be proven to have been negligent in their delivery and operations.
Medical or Dietary Requirements
14) You have a responsibility to inform us of any medical or dietary needs you may have as appropriate to the activity or tour you have booked on. This enables us to ensure our dynamic risk assessments are up to date, to prepare for a ‘worst case scenario’ and to make minor modifications to the tour where necessary.
Sharing this information with us helps us look after you during your adventure with us.
This information will be treated confidentially, does not form part of any mailing list nor will it be passed on to any third parties.
15) Any participant who has not yet reached his or her eighteenth birthday must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian throughout the trip. Our accepted maximum ratio is one adult (parent or legal guardian) to two of his or her own children.
Minimum ages for each trip does vary and this will be clearly indicated on the relevant page on our website.
We are looking to extend the age range we work with to allow younger children and more families to participate in a wider range of activities and adventures in the near future.
During the trip
16) All of our activities and trips are risk assessed and delivered within our operating guidelines. Our guides will be qualified and experienced in the activities they are leading and in the environments they operate in and undertake dynamic risk assessments during the trips based upon many years experience in the activities and environments where your tour will take place.
We aim to keep all our tours relaxed and enjoyable but weather conditions can change rapidly and minor incidents do sometimes occur which may necessitate them giving direct instructions for the safety of all concerned. It is imperative that you follow these instructions to the best of your ability.
Our guides will do everything practicable to reduce the risk to a level that is acceptable to everyone in the group. If you are unhappy with the level of ‘adventure’ at any point, you have a duty to speak to the guide at the time and to report it to the Head Guide at the end of the trip or as soon as possible after. Remaining quiet will be interpreted as acceptance of the risk levels.
If there is a need to curtail a trip once it has started we reserve the right for our guide’s to do so at any point if they feel the safety of the group may be compromised by, for example, changes in weather conditions or if your behaviour puts other’s safety or enjoyment at risk.
In such circumstances the guide’s decision is final.
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking, etc.
17) In line with governing body policies and our operating procedures, we do not advocate the consumption of alcohol or the taking of drugs leading up to or during any activity where there is a risk of personal injury or death.
Turning up to a trip under the influence of alcohol or drugs may result in us refusing to allow you to start the tour. If this happens you will be required to pay the full cost of the trip in accordance with our Cancellation Policy.
If you wish to smoke cigarettes during a trip, please only do so when on land and when safe to do so. If you are unsure, please ask your guide who will be able to give specific information on the day.
We also ask that you please remove any items of clothing or equipment belonging to Otter Adventures so that smoke or hot ash does not damage them.
Please also be considerate towards any clients and staff who are not smokers their self and to also respect the natural environments by taking all rubbish home with you. Thank you.
Damage or Loss of Equipment
18) If any equipment were to be damaged through misuse or negligence by you, the client, where it could be reasonably expected that you would know or had been told what appropriate use is, we will require you to pay for the repair or replacement of the item(s) as appropriate.
19) Any personal belongings left at Otter Adventures office or in their equipment will be retained for approximately two months. Items not claimed within this time period will be disposed of in accordance with our ethos of reusing or recycling in order to reduce our impact upon the environment.
Dogs and Pets
20) Due to the nature of the activities, the terrain and weather, we do not allow clients or guides to bring any pet with them on trips.
Please make appropriate arrangements to have your dog(s) looked after during your trip with us.
21) Any accommodation provided as part of the contract will be detailed on the relevant tour page. Please ensure that your have read this and agree with the arrangements prior to making a booking.
Accommodation provided will normally be in twin or double rooms, huts, pods or tents. Sometimes communal accommodation in bothies is the only possibility. On some trips it may be possible to grant single occupancy at an additional cost. If it is, we will invoice you separately for this element of your trip.
Please do not assume that you will be given single accommodation but make contact with us in good time to ask whether this option is available on your trip as in some accommodation it is not possible to offer single accommodation.
Where changes to the accommodation are made, we will endeavour to contact you in advance to discuss this with you. However, this may not always be possible. We will endeavour to provide accommodation of an equivalent or better standard where possible. Our liabilities in this respect will be limited to the difference between the costs of the accommodation if it is not possible.
22) We are a small company and take the safety and enjoyment of our clients seriously, but occasionally things do not go as well as we would expect.
If you feel there is an immediate need to speak to a guide regarding a safety issue during a trip, you must do so as soon as practicable.
Immediately after the trip you should speak with the senior member of staff on duty at the time.
Should you feel the need to raise a concern about any aspect of our business, please make us the first point of contact as soon as you are able, either by speaking to us in person or over the telephone. We find this is preferable to email where the message is often lost in the writing.
We will take your concerns seriously, investigate them and look to rectify the situation in an amicable manner for all concerned.
If you are not happy with the outcome of this investigation and wish to make a formal complaint, you must do so in writing (email is acceptable) within 14 days of your trip finishing.
23) Otter Adventures will accept liability for the negligence of tits employees that result in direct physical injury to its clients to the extent that is obliged under Scottish law. However, we cannot be held liable for any mishaps to yourself or your property, especially for the consequences of travel and accommodation arrangements outside of your contract with Otter Adventures, e.g. flight cancellation, accommodation overbooking, traffic accident, or other such events amounting to force majeure. Otter Adventures and its employees are covered by public and products liability insurance up to a maximum of £5,000,000, and Professional Indemnity Insurance to a total of £100,000. These insurances are provided by the Activities Industry Mutual who only offer cover to well-managed activity providers who show a good understanding of risk management values and incorporate this into the daily running of their organisation. They believe in only offering cover to those businesses which also embrace these values.
- attributable to anyone other than Otter Adventures’ employees or contractors;
- unforeseeable or unavoidable and attributed to a third party unconnected to us;
- a result of circumstances or events reasonably unforeseeable and beyond the control of Otter Adventures.
Where Otter Adventures are found to be liable, the maximum amount of such damages or compensation, including loss of enjoyment will normally be limited to the total cost of the trip. Any independent arrangements you make outside of the contracted trip with Otter Adventures (such as travel or accommodation) are entirely at your own risk.