Why we are not re-opening yet

Noss Head Lighthouse with dark clouds behind it
Not yet out of the stormy weather

Everyone I know is tired of this lockdown and longs for a change, especially as the weather was getting better – even up here in the far North.

You may know Scotland has a Route Map for lifting restrictions although there aren’t any dates for each Phase.

I am sorry we won’t be among the first wave of businesses to open and I hope this isn’t too disappointing. This post explains why.

First of all, no-one wants a holiday cancelled at short notice or to be asked to leave just after arriving. The Scottish Government may reintroduce restrictions meaning we’ll have to close again. It seems fairest to everyone to wait until we can be reasonably confident about staying open.

Then I am wrestling with a couple of practical problems. The virus is as deadly as ever; the current guidelines are fine for cleaning shops and offices, and I want to be certain the cottage is safe as a place to live and sleep. I am waiting on clear guidelines for cleaning temporary accommodation without specialist equipment so I can talk them over with the team, and we can work out our new cleaning routines. I do not want anyone to get Covid because of working here or staying with us, and contact tracing means we will know if that happens.

Also, as anyone who has stayed with us will tell you, we don’t take a “minimum standards” approach. For example, I don’t want to remove things like books, games and DVDs, which our guests tell us they love and which make the Cottage a home from home, but this may mean a longer gap between visitors. Once the changeover days are set up in the calendar I cannot change them without changing the bookings either side, and as you know I don’t want to do that. I just don’t have enough good quality information to make this decision yet.

There’s a lot else like that for us to think about, and we need more information to make the right choices, for us, for you, and for the other businesses and people here in the North Highlands. I know other independent accommodation providers are finding these choices difficult, and some will open before we do while others will stay closed until next year.

Finally, the Cottage is currently home for NHS staff keeping our community safe in the North Highlands. Moving is stressful at the best of times and I am not going to pressure someone to move, especially because they will be even busier once the long-term patients can be treated again. Our gratitude to the NHS doesn’t stop when the lockdown is lifted.

I am very sorry if you saw the news and wanted to book or re-book straight away. I long get back to normal too, but I want you to be confident you can stay once you’ve booked, and I want to do everything to make your visit safe for you, the team here, and our neighbours in Caithness.

Dark seas and dark skies behind Noss Head
We’re not clear of the dark times yet, but we are planning ahead