Yet another blow

I am trying to get back on track. Since no one seems to be able to answer the question as to when someone not living in Scotland will be allowed to go to Scotland and stay over night it makes it very hard to plan.

In addition since it seems the public are not allowed to use public transport anymore (but still having to pay ever more public money in subsidy to keep it running) unless they are making an essential journey (so not a coastal walk) that means many of my walks are going to have to become circular walks or there and back walks, significantly increasing the distance I need to walk to complete. I tried to mitigate this by looking to buy a folding bike but they seem to be impossible to buy now.

Also with the road network the way it is to travel between parts of the coast (for example Kyle of Lochalsh and Mallaig are less than 30 miles apart, but take 2 hours to drive between). So I don’t now know when it will be a best to stay in Kyle of Lochalsh and Mallaig because I don’t know how far along the coast I will have got by different dates. As a result I decided to book a couple of weeks, on a refundable basis, at the Travelodge in Fort William (because it’s roughly half way between them). Then if we are allowed to travel then I will have somewhere to stay and if not I can get my money back.

Today I recieved this email:-

As a valued customer of Travelodge, we are contacting you today because you have a booking(s) with us or a voucher(s) or have credit to use for a future booking at our hotels.

As part of our Covid-19 recovery plan, we have today launched a legal process known as a company voluntary arrangement, or CVA. The aim of the CVA process is to allow us, subject to the agreement of our creditors, to manage our rent payments at certain hotels.

A Company Voluntary Arrangement essentially means they have run out of money and are applying to creditors so they only have to pay back a % of the money owed.

In addition with the Government still going ahead with the plan to “quarantine” anyone arriving from abroad that is only going to make the damage to the travel industry worse.

So that throws into doubt my ability to get a refund on a refundable booking (though I did at least pay by credit card so that is another route).

It seems I’m throwing money away trying to get my plans back on track. It is so utterly demoralising that no matter what I try, barriers are constantly being put up – mostly by the Government (or as a result of their actions). In addition my employee is now making further redundancies. I think I will now have to give up on getting to do any coastal walks in 2020 and quite possibly give up entirely.


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18 Responses to Yet another blow

  1. 5000milewalk says:

    Hi Jon, sorry to hear that, you sound really dispirited, and I fully understand why. Losing money on the hotel, then being at risk of redundancy must be worrying and frustrating, with no progress on the walk to soften the blow😕
    Is Scotland your only remaining coast to do? Have you 100% completed the English coast?
    Don’t give up on it altogether mate, you’ve done so much of it you’re on the home straight – well, sort of. Scotland have their own rules, but they seem to be roughly following England rules, so they may well open up for single walking away from crowds soon. I think I must have bought the last folding bike in the country – sorry about that! Could you use a normal bike, would it fit in your car if you take the front wheel off?
    All the best mate👍

    • jcombe says:

      Yes unfortunately it is very dispiriting. To start with when you get a setback I find it makes me more determined. But when it happens again and again and again it really wears you down, or it does me anyway.

      I do have a bike I sometimes use to cycle to work (mostly along a canal towpath) though I tend to only do that in the summer when the clocks change (it doesn’t save enough time I can be bothered faffing about with lights in the winter). Unfortunately I was stopped from going to work before that happened this year so I haven’t got it out again. However it’s not really in a fit state (in fact it wasn’t really in a fit state last year when I was using it but that’s another matter….) one of the brakes (can’t remember if front or back) is broken and the tyres are bald and it’s also very heavy because it was cheap when new and it’s over 10 years old. Not really up to the more demanding conditions of Scotland I think and difficult to do anything about it now. Also a bit of a faff to have to keep taking the wheels off.

      Anyway thanks for your thoughts and I have been enjoying your recent write ups (even though I don’t know who this Conrad chap is everyone speaks of!)

  2. It’s very frustrating isn’t it, and impossible to plan holidays – especially if you are working. I feel your despondency, Jon. Probably best to assume Scotland is out of reach this year, and defer plans till next year. But I’m sure you won’t give up your coastal walk altogether, having got so far.

    You mustn’t give up.

    On the plus side, with thIs nasty virus hanging around for some years and making people less keen to travel internationally, it may become easier to book B&B and other accommodation in Scotland. I remember I was surprised to discover the highlands of Scotland were full of foreign tourists and all accommodation was fully booked for months and months in advance. Difficult to even find a place to eat in the evening. Roads crowded too. So, it may mean Scottish trips become easier for us. (Very selfish wish, I know!)

    • Oh, and you can have my horrible folding bike if you want. I’ve got my electric Scooty bike, so the Monster is redundant. It would mean a trip to Manchester to collect it, though 😄

      • jcombe says:

        Yes I don’t know at the moment. I keep planning and planning and every single time my plans fall apart (often leaving me out of pocket too). The first couple of times it makes me more determined … but when it happens again and again and again and it just wears you down until I feel like giving up. Who knows.

        Though yes I do know what you mean about the tourists (the NC500 has contributed a lot to that too) and I gather the Skye especially had got way too popular so perhaps that will be one thing that improves.

        As to the bike I might even take you up on that, we’ll see (it rather depends on if I carry on). On the plus side I did hear today I have survived the latest round of redundancies so at least that was some good news.

        • 5000milewalk says:

          Hey Jon, if you do come up to Manchester we should take the opportunity of “coastal walkers meetup”, I wonder if that’s ever happened before? suitably socially distanced of course. 😊

    • jcombe says:

      Maybe 15th of July is the date?

      We can hope anyway…..

  3. Oh crikey, I didn’t know about Travelodge, and I’m sorry to hear about potential redundancies. I hope you get through that ok. There isn’t a date for travelling to Scotland because it all depends on progress. Unlike BJ, NS is handling this very cautiously now (though I wish she’d been more cautious at the beginning). I know it’s frustrating, but I’m absolutely in favour of restrictions on travel to and within Scotland at the moment. The increase in crowds over the last week or so is worrying. Still, it’s got colder again now, so that should make people more inclined to stay at home!

    • jcombe says:

      Yes I did hear everyone in my team at risk of redundancy has been notified today … and I wasn’t notified so I guess I survived the latest round of cuts. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on the travel restrictions. As to the crowds it was inevitable whenver the travel restrictions were at least partly removed (and frankly the longer the restrictions were in place I think the bigger the problem would be). Pretty much everything most people do at the weekend is stopped or closed down (sport, whether watching or doing, shops, cinemas, theatres, pubs, tourist attractions, children’s parks, swimming pools, leisure centres and so on). The weather is (was?) very good. Lots of people are being paid not to work and most children are not at school. I’m afraid it was bound to happen. For a lot of people, they are treating it like a big state-funded holiday.

      • Phew, glad you got through that round. As for restrictions, I’d rather have them for a bit longer than see the death toll creep up again. Hopefully testing and tracing will help once that is fully available by targeting restrictions and freeing the rest of us up a bit.

  4. coastieash says:

    I feel your pain. It is all so frustrating isn’t it? The future is horribly uncertain but we must live in hope that one day we will be able to walk where we want to again. You are just in the unlucky position of having reached such a remote place at the wrong time. I am finding the restrictions on public transport annoying, although probably understandable, as I don’t drive because of my eyesight so don’t have the option of going by car. The news about Travelodge is bad, even without the money you have lost, but it was sort of inevitable. Don’t give up. The coast is not going anywhere and you will get back there someday.

    • jcombe says:

      Thank you for your kind comments. I hope you are right. It is all so unpleasant at the moment. Maybe the news about masks being required on public transport means the public will be allowed to use it again soon? Or maybe it’s just another erosion of our quality of life…..

  5. Mark says:

    It will come good again Jon! I revisited a lot of your posts during the lockdown and it was another step towards keeping in touch with reality. It may seem like there’s no end to this and it probably won’t be this year but your “fans” are looking forward to the next installment….stay positive, we can wait, no rush!

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