COVID-19 – LOCKDOWN

After the Prime Minister’s and First Minister’s announcements on Monday 23rd March, it is clear that we are no longer in a position to encourage guests to continue with their holidays at Suisgill for the coming weeks. It is with a heavy heart that we must close Upper Suisgill Lodge and Balvallioch Cottage until the end of April at the earliest. We hope that the outlook will be better thereafter, but clearly there are no guarantees. We realise this must be a huge disappointment after such a gruelling winter. We will be contacting those affected very shortly. In the meantime, I will not be chasing balances until we are absolutely certain that travel will be permitted.

Protocol for safeguarding guests, staff and the local population during the COVID-19 pandemic

We appreciate that there is considerable uncertainty about travelling and taking holidays during the Coronavirus outbreak.  The current government advice does not appear to curtail travel by car, so for the moment we see no reason why you should not feel able to continue with your booking as long as you adhere to social distancing advice:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

We will however put some new housekeeping rules in place in order to safeguard you our guests, our staff and the local community.

If you start to feel ill at any time during your stay, please go home immediately. There are precious few ICU and hospital beds available in the Highlands and the last thing they need is holiday makers taking them up.

It would be hugely appreciated if guests could avoid going into Helmsdale unless it is an emergency. As with everywhere else, the Highlands are experiencing a great deal of pressure on the supply chain. Please bring your own food supplies from home. We appreciate you have long journeys, but prepare by using ice boxes when you can. . If you must go in a shop, please consider wearing a mask and paying by contactless or apple pay where possible. See the following website for local amenities, where you may be able to order provisions to be delivered or a takeaway: http://www.helmsdale.org/index.html.

Glencoast Phone01431 821372 can be contacted for fishing tackle and gold panning equipment – you may be able to order over the phone and arrange deliveries. Johnny might be able to collect for you if he has time.

Thyme and Plaice have adapted quickly and are running a takeaway service:  01431 821598

Here is the website for the Spar, you may be able to make arrangements with them also, but please bear in mind the same issues of hoarding are present in the Highlands as everywhere else and I am sure the locals will not appreciate extra pressure on their supplies.

https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/lan15302-spar-helmsdale

Balvallioch Cottage: 

On departure please can guests strip beds and towels and leave in a pile in the corner of the room.  

Cleaning products will be left in the kitchen and bathrooms by the bath, sink and loo.  Please kindly use them to clean the taps, flush and door handle regularly – in particular just before you depart. Gloves will be provided but you may prefer to bring your own.

Ditto for the kitchen sink, fridge, oven and cupboard doors.

Please leave windows open and internal doors wedged open on your departure.

If you feel ill during your stay, please go straight home. The local community would appreciate you not taking up precious space in the few ICU beds that are available.

Balvallioch Cottage has a new ‘Nespresso’ machine.  You may wish to bring your own pods (regular size), but we would be most grateful if you are able to take home used pods in a ‘Nespresso’ recycling bag to recycle as usual.  We appreciate this may not be possible, but we are asking just in case you are able. 

Upper Suisgill Lodge:

Guests will be expected to make their own beds daily (if they wish!) and keep bathrooms clean.  Lorraine will not be expected to enter the lodge at all during your stay.

On departure please can guests strip beds and towels and leave in a pile near the back door, but not blocking it.

Cleaning products will be left by the bath, sink and loo.  Please kindly use them to clean the taps, flush and door handle regularly. Although gloves will be provided, you may prefer to bring your own. 

Please discuss with your any cooks you have organised about what you want to do. I am sure neither you nor they want to be responsible for passing on the virus to someone who then becomes extremely ill from it. The best thing would be for your cook to leave plenty of ready made meals in the freezer for you to heat up during your week. If this can’t be managed, then please practise good social distancing from your cooks.  Cooks will be expected to keep the kitchen clean thoroughly as usual.  Take great care after using taps, opening cupboard/fridge doors and so on.  Cooks should make sure all these are disinfected on departure.

I repeat, if you get ill during your stay, please go straight home. The local community would appreciate you not taking up precious space in the precious few ICU and hospital beds that are available.

Please leave internal doors open on your departure. 

Ghillies: 

We value our guests and our ghillies.  Please practise good social distancing and stay at least 2 meters apart at all times.

The Helmsdale River Board has issued advice along the following lines:  Ghillies will not be expected to: Travel in the same car as guests, tie flies, put up rods, cast for guests, help people in difficult wading.  Ghillies will be able to demonstrate how to tie a fly (from a distance), but will not actually tie it for you.  If someone needs help with wading, then please can they use another member of their party.  Please maintain social distancing advice and do not shake hands with your ghillie or any of the river bailiffs.  Ghillies will be able to land fish for you with their own net. You will not touch or handle each other’s nets or rods. Fishing huts will be locked. If you need to picnic, please do so either outside or in your vehicle.