Having been in lockdown now for approaching eight weeks we are as keen as everyone else to get back out on the hills. As a business, and like all businesses in the travel and outdoor leisure sectors, we have been hit hard by the restrictions placed on society both at home and internationally. We have not been able to provide our clients with any UK based skills training or other mountain activities and all our overseas trips have been postponed for the foreseeable future. Like most small businesses, this has meant that we have not generated any income since the 23rd of March when lockdown was implemented.
With the relaxing of lockdown rules coming into effect this week I thought I would take this opportunity to explain what this means for Monkey Mountaineering and what it means for our customers.
Starting with our overseas trips. The relaxing of the lockdown has had no impact on our ability to run our overseas trips. Whilst the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is still advising UK citizens against all but essential travel, flight availability remains limited and restrictions are in-place in our destination countries it is simply not safe or viable to travel abroad. Our overseas trips will therefore continue to be postponed. We are constantly monitoring the situation in respect to our overseas trips and once the criteria for safe travel is met and we feel confident that we can keep our customers safe we will look to resume overseas trips. This doesn’t mean though that we won’t be taking provisional bookings and don’t forget we have a bespoke service. Our advice is “dream now – travel later”.
Turning to our UK activities, whilst there has been a relaxation of some restrictions in England that would in theory permit us to offer limited 1-2-1 skills training, the situation is not the same in Scotland or Wales. The safety of our team and our customers has to come first and so having considered the revised Government advice, the advice relating to outdoor activities from the British Mountaineering Council and Sport England, for the time being, we will not be offering any activities. Again, we will continue to monitor the situation and revise our position accordingly. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get in touch with us and make a provisional booking. We would be more than happy to take your booking on the understanding that we can confirm the dates once the lockdown has been lifted sufficiently and we can make your booking work safely and in accordance with any social distancing measures that are in place. Now is the time to plan and get something booked in for when we can fully restart.
In conclusion, we do not feel that the relaxation of lockdown in England announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday enables us to re-start any of our operations. As a responsible business, we will continue to monitor all factors that affect what we do and look forward to being able to start offering activities at some point later in the year. If you already have a booking with us, thank you for your patience and understanding, we will confirm your dates as soon as we can. Until then, stay safe and don’t forget, we are still here and able to take provisional bookings for our overseas treks and all UK based activities.