Guest Handbook

Welcome to my log cabin. In order for you to enjoy the cabin to its full potential I have set out everything I could think of that you would need to know. If I have forgotten something, please feel free to call me anytime between 8 am and 11pm on 07967 028938. However, if it's a real emergency, then just call me any time at all.

Welcome to my log cabin.

 

In order for you to enjoy the cabin to its full potential I have set out everything I could think of that you would need to know. If I have forgotten something, please feel free to call me anytime between 8 am and 11pm on 07967 028938. However, if it's a real emergency, then just call me any time at all.

Winter Months

The decking will become extremely slippery when frost or snow settles, you must use the salt/grit provided in pots by the front and back doors to prevent nasty falls. A snow shovel is provided and located on the side of the bunkhouse.

 

Just a reminder that for the enjoyment of all guests this is a strictly non-smoking cabin. A sand bucket has been provided out on the front deck of the cabin, please ensure that any lit smoking materials are extinguished in the sand bucket following use. Smoking is not permitted in or around the hot tub.

 

 

 

 

Heating

The under-floor heating is all controlled remotely and has been set to a comfortable optimum setting in all rooms. Therefore, you will not be able to adjust the thermostats. An air source heat pump provides the energy to heat the water and under floor heating pipes.

 

Hot Water

The hot water is stored in a 300-litre tank and will constantly replenish. If you drain the tank it will take approximately 30-40 mins to re-heat. The large shower in the en-suite can drain that tank in approximately 25 mins!

 

Water Supply

Due to our remote location there are no mains water supplies to the cabin. The water is harvested off the roof and is stored safely underground in a 15,00-litre tank, filtered and then pumped in on demand. During dry spells we just ask that you don't waste the water. In the unlikely event you experience low water pressure, that is an indication that the tank is empty or the pump is blocked. In this case please call me so I can sort it out for you.

The stopcock is located behind the tall narrow panel at the end of the utility room. Lift and pull the panel towards you to gain access. (using your left foot to raise the panel from the bottom) The black lever on the copper pipe controls the water supply so if you have an internal leak, then pull that lever towards you so that the lever sits horizontally.

 

Sewage/Septic Tank

Again, due to our remote location we are not on mains drainage either. All the wastewater and sewage run into a septic tank. Therefore, we cannot allow any female products, wipes or nappies to be disposed of down the loos. Please use the bins or dustbins for such waste items. Also, please use the blue paper towel to remove excess food and grease from pans before washing. Chemicals needed to remove grease blockages kill the enzymes that make the septic tank work!

 

Winter

The decking will become very slippery when frost settles, you must use the salt/grit provided to prevent nasty falls. If there is snow on the roof, take care not to stand around or under the gutters as it will avalanche down when it begins to thaw. It is very heavy especially when falling from height!

 

Security

Please ensure all doors and windows are locked when leaving the cabin unattended. You can lock a door from the inside by turner the thumb knob. To lock from the outside, raise the handle firmly up to lock the door. The property will not be insured if there is an incident and the property is not properly secured. Also, Scottish law allows any person to enter the property if the doors are open!

Don’t forget to close and secure the Velux windows in the roof either when going out as the wind can catch them and they will then fully open, if it should then rain - then the rain will pour straight in!

 

Local Facilities

  • Post Office

    • Invergarry Mon 9-4pm, Tues - Fri 9-12pm

    • Fort Augustus Mon- Sat, 9-6pm Sunday 12-4pm

  • Supermarket - Fort Augustus, Fort William, Drumnadrochit, Inverness

  • Petrol – Invergarry - Closes daily 9pm, Fort Augustus 24 hours.

  • Wi-Fi- Invergarry Hotel, Glengarry Castle Hotel or the cafe at the village hall mid week (Glengarry Castle my favourite - lovely lounge!)

  • Supermarket Delivery Service - Asda are the only supermarket who will deliver here

  • Garage Services - West End Garage, Fort Augustus - ask for Bobby 01320 366247, very helpful

 

Kitchen

You should find most things you will need here:

  • Fridge - There may be items left by the last guest for you, if you don't want those items then please just dispose of them.

  • Waste - There is a compost bucket on the side for all food waste, when the bucket is full deposit the contents into the food composter (small green plastic bin – lift the lid) outside around the back of the cabin. There are 2 bins to the right of the dishwasher. Any recycling items go in the blue bin and general waste in the green bin outside. Bin collections are on a Tuesday around 10.30 am. General waste gets collected on even weeks and recycling on alternate weeks.

  • Dishwasher - Just place a powder tablet into the grey holder on the door panel and select the programme, and then the start button. The time left until the dishwasher finishes will be displayed on the floor! Please do not mix the cutlery with other metal kitchen items as this will cause a reaction and mark the cutlery -please wash separately. Hob - This is an induction hob and will only work if you place a pan on a similar size circle. Press ON/OFF symbol, then the corresponding circle to select which plate you want and then + or - to select the power required. Press the ON/OFF symbol after use.

  • Oven - Press the round buttons to release the knob and turn accordingly as symbols indicate their functions. Please clean any cooking mess after use. If any excessive burnt on mess is left in the oven, a charge of £150 will be made to cover the cost of an oven cleaning contractor to make good for the next guest.

  • Dolce gusto pod coffee machine and cafetières are also in the kitchen.

  • Sink - No Bleach to be used on the black sinks - it will permanently stain them!

  • Picnic Basket - Please feel free to use the picnic basket for days out and clean contents on your return ready for next guests.

  • Oak Table - This table is almost bomb proof, but if your serving dishes or pots are very hot then please use the cork pads to sit them on.

  • Cupboard Contents - Shelves have been labelled with “help yourself", so please feel free to use any of those items and leave any items you don’t want to take home.

 ​

Lounge

  • log Burner - Use small bits of wood, fire lighter and newspaper to start the fire, then use the larger bits of wood after that when it gets going. If you need more logs, please refill the basket from the sleigh outside the front door or log pile opposite the Shepherds Hut or the cuttings on the hose reel wall of the bunkhouse. But not the decorative pile under the bunkhouse eves on the other side or the heart. You will also find more kindling and small bits of wood in crates up the old road too. Make sure you close the log burner door during use, gloves provided for loading wood into the firebox when burning. Do not ever place any combustible items on the top of the log burner.

  • Never leave the log burner unattended when lit.

  • Sleigh daybed - the rug on the sleigh is made from natural wool and will deposit fluff on your clothes, so best not to use it wearing dark jumpers etc!

  • Blinds - To lower the blinds gently pull the chain at the sides to desired drop level.

  • Patio Doors - Locks are a bit stiff - sorry, they will get better with use!

  • The light switches by the TV control the decking lights and icicle lights

  • TV/Surround Sound - All devices need to be turned on via the remote controls. Press CAB-SAT on the Bose remote, Blaupunkt and Sky remotes press ON button. (Ensure the sub-woofer under the sleigh is turned on at the wall if no sound from the TV)

If no signal, ensure you are using HDMI 1 for the source.

  • DVD - Just press DVD on the Bose remote and use the Phillips remote for the DVD player. (Remote controls hiding in the book box on the coffee table!)

  • Bose sound system - The Sound Touch 120 and other Sound Touch 10 speakers in the other rooms can be controlled via your own devices via Bluetooth.

  • Wi-Fi - There is very limited satellite Wi-Fi allowance here at the cabin to control the heating and Sky TV. We are still waiting for Open Reach to connect us to a broadband network - maybe by 2020!  So, with great regret we are currently unable to offer Wi-Fi at this time. Good 4G is now available in this area now though.

  • Games - There draughts and backgammon pieces in the drawers of the games table, also a pack of cards. There is a carpet croquet set on the book case. Please use coasters if placing drinks on this table

  • Due to the increased risk of fire, normal candles are sadly not permitted anywhere in the cabin. The LED candles will automatically illuminate at dusk for about 5hrs and then turn off automatically, so no need to fiddle with the controls.

 

Master Bedroom

 

  • Patio Doors - Locks are a bit stiff - sorry, they will get better with use!

  • Fleecy blankets in the wardrobe can be used outside on the deck. Deck chair cushions are stored by the side of the wardrobe.

  • Bose speaker - The Sound Touch 10 speaker can be controlled via your own devices when the Bose Sound Touch app is downloaded - follow instruction to create your own account. Or just connect to the speaker via Bluetooth.

  • Hair dryer and hair straighteners are in the wardrobe.

 

  • Don't forget, all the wastewater and sewage runs into a septic tank and will block quite easily. Therefore, we cannot allow any female products, wipes or nappies to be disposed of down the loos. Please use the bins or dustbins for such waste.

  • The mirror has a backlight and a demister, you can turn it on from the switch in the bedroom. Please turn off after use - it's not on a timer.

  • The towel rails only get tepid, this is normal with an air source heat pump system.

  • The light switch in the bedroom also control the outdoor lantern by the back door.

 

Hot Tub

  • No make-up, tanning creams or similar products to be worn when in the water - it will make the water dirty and scummy! Please shower before use to avoid making your water yucky!.

  • No Glassware to be used when in the hot tub, we have plenty of plastic glasses and tumblers that you can use when drinking in the tub. (if you were to break a glass when in the water you must get out immediately and not use the hot tub until it has been drained, cleaned and refilled to prevent risk of being cut by the glass shards.

  • The main power switch for the hot tub is located to the left under the lip of the deck towards the back of the cabin. It is a red and yellow rotary type switch. If you are concerned about the safety of the hot tub then just switch it to the off position and advise me.

  • Before use, ensure the hot tub is at 38 degrees centigrade which is displayed on the control panel in red LED's.

  • You MUST always test the water quality before each use by dipping one of the chlorine test strips into the water and compare the colours to the side of the pot. You will probably find that the water may be low in chlorine. If this is the case, sprinkle about a tablespoon worth of chlorine granules into the lid of the container and then put that into the tub near the black surface filter in the corner and activate the jets to circulate it. If it is low in Alkaline then follow the same procedure using the alkalinity booster and same procedure for pH balance. Chemicals are in the basket to right of vanity unit. Please place them out of reach of children.

  • If you accidentally spill a large quantity of chemicals into the hot tub, DO NOT USE IT until such time as it has been tested by a professional person and they have cleared the hot tub for re-use, as you may be at risk from burning your skin!

  • Looking after the water is simple, do not be afraid of it, just try not overdose it!

  • We will refresh the water between each set of guests, the water takes 12-18 hours to get back to 38 degrees, so the water may not be hot enough to use on your arrival if there has been a same day turn around.

  • No smoking in or around the hot tub

Upstairs

  • No shoes, boots or pets are permitted upstairs.

  • Bose speaker - The Sound Touch 10 speaker can be controlled via your own devices, just connect to the speaker via Bluetooth.

  • Hair dryer is in the chest of drawers.

  • The pole for Velux roof lights - use to open and close them. Ensure they are closed if there is a risk of any rain or when leaving please. Excessive force should not be required to close them.

  • Do not allow children to climb the tree balustrades.

  • If you want to create a double bed from the twin beds, just move the middle bedside cabinet and slide the beds together. There are three electric sockets to cater for twin or double configurations. There is a double duvet, bedspread and large fitted sheet in the divan drawers.

  • See attached appendix for the sofa bed operation. A supply of bedding is in the trunk behind the sofa.

Bathroom

  • Ensure the control for the bath tap is “on” to fill the bath as the shower head maybe selected instead - it's the same knob!

  • Don't allow the basin tap to drip, it will run down the tap and onto the floor! Please ensure it is OFF !

  • Don't forget, all the wastewater and sewage runs into a septic tank and will block quite easily. Therefore, we cannot allow any female products, wipes or nappies to be disposed of down the loos. Please use the bins or dustbins for such waste.

  • The mirror is backlit, has a shaver socket and also has a de-mister. To turn on the light and de-mister, pass your hand along the bottom edge to find the infrared sensor switch. Please turn off after use - it's not on a timer.

  • The towel rails only get tepid, this is normal with an air source heat pump system

Utility room

  • You will find old towels and blue paper roll for emergency spills and cleaning materials are in the cupboard under the sink. There are also shoe cleaning products in a basket if you should require them.

  • Hoover, iron, ironing board, broom, mop etc in the broom cupboard. The iron will need the water tank filling if you require steam.

  • Washing machine is self-explanatory, the quick wash programme is normally adequate for a normal wash. The tumble dryer function is however not efficient for a load. The best way to dry items when its wet outside is to use the clothes horse and put it in the downstairs shower room, items will dry very quickly here - certainly overnight. Wait a few minutes for the time delay lock to release before trying to open the door after the wash cycle has finished.

  • Sink - No Bleach to be used on the black sinks - it will permanently stain them

 

Shower room

  • This shower room has been designed for folk with restricted mobility and perhaps muddy guests in mind. Please set the shower screen back against the wall after use

  • Don't forget, all the wastewater and sewage runs into a septic tank and will block quite easily. Therefore, we cannot allow any female products, wipes or nappies to be disposed of down the loos. Please use the bins or dustbins for such waste.

  • The mirror is backlit, has a shaver socket and has a demister. To turn on the light and demister, pass your hand along the bottom edge to find the infrared sensor switch. Please turn off after use - it's not on a timer.

  • The towel rails only get tepid, this is normal with an air source heat pump system.

  • This room makes a great drying room, use the clothes horse from the master bedroom for max hanging space.

 

Outside

  • If you have muddy boots, you can wash them over the metal grid by the hosepipe. If you wish to wash a bike or something larger then please do it on the grass at the back of the cabin, not on the gravel drive please.

  • The Loch and river that border the land around the cabin, like all open bodies of water can be dangerous, so guests are required to take care around the water. You can swim in the loch if you’re hardy! The cabin is set in a remote and rural area of The Highlands with natural risks and hazards. You are reminded of the higher degree of slips, trips and risk in this wilderness environment and it is therefore your responsibility to take care of your own safety and the safety of the members of your party at all times

  • Feel free to use the fire pit, collect fire wood from the woodland floor or take from the log piles opposite the Shepherd’s Hut. Do not leave the fire pit unattended whilst it is in use

  • Feel free to use the gas BBQ and pizza oven on the deck. Please clean and turn the gas off at the bottle after use.

  • The Smoker is in the corner cupboard in the kitchen, but must only be used outside, find a non-combustible surface to place it on before you start please. See appendix D

  • We provide the canoes, paddle boards and rowing boat to be used provided that you wear the buoyancy aids that are provided; these are stored in a trunk by the canoe shack. Ensure the row boat is secured back on the tree after use, the water level rises frequently here! Please ensure the lid is closed after use to avoid furry critters from nesting in there!  As the loch is also home to some rare birds, use of the loch is restricted during the nesting period of February - July inc to the area shown on the map in appendix C, however this is still quite a large area. The areas in red are not accessible during this period.

  • If there is snow on the roof, take care not to stand around or under the gutters as it will avalanche down when it begins to thaw. It is very heavy especially when falling from height!

  • We would also like you to remember the country code when out and about, see attached appendix B

 

Power Cut

  • In the event of a short power cut, you can call the electric supplier on 105 to find out how long the outage will last. You can use the Power Cut Kit found in the bottom drawer in the utility room and use the LED lanterns for light if required. One lantern also has a USB port for charging devices. Orange buckets can be found in the wooden trunk outside, fill with water from the burn to flush the toilets with. (no power = no water)

  • In the unlikely event of a prolonged power cut, we have a backup generator. You will need to go to the consumer unit (fuse board) in the broom cupboard and switch a few labelled items off:

    • IMM HEATER

    • ECO DAN

    • AIR BLOWER

    • MANIFOLD

    • OVEN

    • HOB

 

  • Then go to the Bunk House, 3124 code for the padlock, you will find another fuse box and a large switch under the coats inside the door. Turn the large switch from 1 (Cabin) to 0. Then turn off every switch in the fuse box except "house" and "harvester"

  • Then go to the back of the bunkhouse and gently tip the small wood hut covering the generator forward onto its front or with 2 people lift it forwards and out of the way. Start the generator, instructions are on a pull-out sheet beneath the generator control panel. Then connect the generator to the back of the cabin with the blue lead.

  • Go back into the bunkhouse to switch from 0 to 1 (generator supply).

  • You will be able to use the log burner to cook on using the cast iron pots which are in the corner cupboard. Also the gas BBQ outside.

  • You will not be able to use the electric kettle, iron, toaster, microwave, hair dryer or washing machine. The TV will be ok.

  • Hot water will stay hot for a long time but there will only be 300 litres!

  • Every hour or so, check the electric meter in the cupboard by the hose reel, when the red light comes back on that indicates the mains power is back on.

  • When its back on, turn off the generator, replace the wood hut, turn large switch back to 1 and switch all switches in the fuse boxes back on

 

 

 

 

Trouble Shooting via Nest Camera

  • If you have a problem, you can always stand in front of the little camera in the corner of kitchen above the door and I can see and talk to you to resolve the problem. Be assured that this camera is set to operate only when the property is vacant and senses movement, or in the event that I am requested to run the camera to provide advice.

  • Call me so that I can turn the camera on to see and talk to you if that helps you.

 

Telephone

  • There is a telephone behind the TV, if you are having an emergency or want to call me, please use this phone.

  • You can also use this phone for any landline calls for 59 minutes per call free of charge

 

 

 

 

Useful Telephone Numbers

 

Medical Centre

01320 366216

Main St (next to the Lovat Hotel)

Ft Augustus

PH32 4DD     

 

Doctor  

Telford Centre

Fort Augustus

01320 366216

 

​Dentist

1 Montague Row​

IV3 5DX

01463 243 767

Open til 8pm

 

Crown Vets​

89-91 Telford Street​

IV3 5LE

01463 712202

24 hrs

 

A&E Hospitals :

Belford Hospital

Belford Road

Fort William

PH33 6BS

01397 702481

 

Raigmore Hospital

Old Perth Road

Inverness

IV2 3UJ

01463 70400

Canoeing, paddle board and Rowing restricted area

 

 

 

The buoyancy aid jackets are in the trunk, please wear them at all times when using the canoes, paddle boards or rowing boat. The paddles and neoprene shoes are in the roof of the shack.

Please hook up the canoes in the shack again after use, return the paddles and shoes back in the roof.

Ensure the rowing boat is brought back up to the tree where it is tethered to.

The water rises quite high in the loch and it will wash the boat away if not tied back up!

 

 

How to use the Smoker

 

The black stand must be placed on a level non-flammable surface. Then the smoker is placed on top. The smoking dust is spread on the bottom and the dripping tray is placed on top of it. Place the fish on the grill plate and place the lid on top to close. Put white spirit in the burners and light, you can adjust the heat with the dampers.

Depending on the size of your fish it will take 15-30 mins to smoke and cook. Different wood chips/dust will provide different flavours - so you can experiment to find your favourite!

 

Do not let children play with this smoker and leave it to cool before cleaning.

 

 

 

 

 

Risk Assessment

Guests

We very much want guests to have an enjoyable and safe stay in the Log Cabin. Accidents can happen at any time, to the most careful of people, but there is an added risk when one is in unfamiliar surroundings. For your safety and

information, we have tried to identify possible sources of ‘danger’ and advise how to avoid these and minimise risks.

We have identified two groups for whom the property is not suitable for: children and infants. Note Guests must take every care to ensure the safety of any visiting child/infant.

General

It is of the utmost importance for guests to read the information that we send you in advance of your arrival and the Information folder on arrival. Please also ensure that you familiarise yourself with the building, its surroundings and all safety instructions. The cabin is set in a rural environment that presents inherent risks and these form part of the wilderness experience you are part of when you stay at the cabin. You are therefore reminded of that higher degree of risk. Please take all appropriate and reasonable care for your safety and the safety of others at all times especially in the woodlands and when near the river and Loch.

Fire

Please familiarise yourself with the detailed instructions for use of the Fire equipment provided, and fire escape procedures, in the Information folder provided for guest’s information. The Fire equipment provided is a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket. We do ask guests to be extremely sensible and aware of the special dangers posed by fire, and the risk to personal injury.

  • Never leave cooking on the hob, unattended.

  • Never leave an electrical appliance, unattended, such as the toaster, hairdryer or Electric iron.

  • Do not leave electrical appliance leads across walkways

  • Please ensure all electrical appliances & lights are switched off, before going to bed.

  • Please be aware of the dangers of a naked flame (gas BBQ) at all times, never leave unattended. Do not use candles anywhere in the building.

  • Please note, “Tea lights” and candles are not allowed inside.

  • Caledonian Cabins has a No Smoking policy within the cabin.

Mains operated interlinked heat detectors are fitted in the bedroom and kitchen. Emergency lighting; A torch is provided.

The Wood-Burner

Detailed instructions for lighting and regulating the wood- burning stove are supplied in the Information folder.

  • Do not leave matches, lighters or spare logs on top of the stove.

  • The wood-burner is to be used only with the door closed. Please ensure it is firmly closed, and ‘dampened down’ before going to bed.

 

Hygiene and Welfare

  • Pets are allowed in the cabin subject to the doggy house rules

  • Where possible we use Ecological cleaning materials and re-cycled paper toilet tissue.

  • We can arrange for the cottage to be cleaned weekly for guests staying longer than a week.

  • Mattress protector and pillow protection are fitted. Sheets, duvet covers & pillowcases are cotton.

  • Pillows and duvets are hypoallergenic and are filled with synthetic materials

  • A small First Aid kit is provided in the drawer in the utility room

  • Note, all lights have energy saving light bulbs.

  • There may be some light penetration into the bedrooms.

 

Central Heating etc.

The cabin has a Ground Source Heat Pump heating system, with the added back up of a boiler. A digital room thermostat and control is situated in each room, these have been set and locked for optimum comfort levels.

Disposal of Waste

Please help us by sorting your refuse into the appropriate bin. Bins are stored behind "Log Henge" to the side of the drive. An integral bin is fitted in the kitchen, spare liners are provided. The bin categories are: 

Recycling : plastic containers (milk cartons only), paper, cardboard,

Household rubbish 

The refuse collection is on Tuesday around 10.30 a.m., and we normally put refuse/recycling out on Monday evening.

Note, alternate Tuesdays for General refuse and then paper & cans/glass/cardboard

Flooding

Internally, please do not leave any tap running, as there are potential serious consequences. Please do not leave the bath, basin or kitchen sink taps running, unattended. The stone basins do not have an overflow outlet.

Frost and Ice

When there is an overnight frost or ice on the decking, it will become extremely slippery. You must use the salt/grit in the pots by the front and back doors to reduce the risk of a nasty fall

Snow

When there has been heavy snow fall, it will collect on the roof. When it begins to melt slabs of snow will avalanche down the roof. Please do not stand around or under the gutters when there is snow on the roof. Snow is very heavy especially when falling from height!

Power Cuts.

In the unlikely event of a power cut, we have provided a power cut kit, containing:

LED torches, LED lanterns, spare batteries and lighters. The cabin is equipped with plenty of blankets, first aid kit, a log burner/cast iron pans and a gas BBQ for cooking. A generator is available for extended outages.

Bathroom

Please take care when getting in or out of the bath, and be aware that slate floor can become slippery. Please use the cotton bath mat provided, to prevent slipping.

Appendix B

The Countryside Code

Respect - Protect - Enjoy

Respect other people:

  • consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors

  • leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available

Protect the natural environment:

  • leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home

  • keep dogs under effective control

Enjoy the outdoors:​​

  • plan ahead and be prepared

  • follow advice and local signs

Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors

Respect the needs of local people and visitors alike – forexample, don’t block gateways, driveways or other paths withyour vehicle.

When riding a bike or driving a vehicle, slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals and give them plenty of

room. By law, cyclists must give way to walkers and horse- riders on bridleways.

Co-operate with people at work in the countryside. For example, keep out of the way when farm animals are being gathered or moved and follow directions from the farmer.

Busy traffic on small country roads can be unpleasant and dangerous to local people, visitors and wildlife - so slow down and where possible, leave your vehicle at home, consider sharing lifts and use alternatives such as public transport or

cycling.

Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available

A farmer will normally close gates to keep farm animals in, but may sometimes leave them open so the animals can reach food and water. Leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs. When in a group, make sure the last

person knows how to leave the gates.

Follow paths unless wider access is available, such as on opencountry or registered common land (known as ‘open access

land’).

If you think a sign is illegal or misleading such as a ‘Private - No Entry’ sign on a public path, contact the local authority.

Leave machinery and farm animals alone – don’t interfere with

animals even if you think they’re in distress. Try to alert the farmer instead.

Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries if you can – climbing over walls, hedges and fences can damage them and increase the risk of farm animals escaping.

Our heritage matters to all of us – be careful not to disturb ruins and historic sites.

Protect the natural environment

We all have a responsibility to protect the countryside now and for future generations, so make sure you don’t harm animals,birds, plants or trees and try to leave no trace of your visit. When out with your dog make sure it is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, horses, wildlife or other people.

Leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home

Protecting the natural environment means taking special care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees. They provide homes and food for wildlife, and add to everybody’s enjoyment of the countryside.

Litter and leftover food doesn’t just spoil the beauty of thecountryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals –

so take your litter home with you. Dropping litter and dumping rubbish are criminal offences.

Fires can be as devastating to wildlife and habitats as they are to people and property – so be careful with naked flames and cigarettes at any time of the year. Sometimes, controlled fires are used to manage vegetation, particularly on heaths and

moors between 1 October and 15 April, but if a fire appears to be unattended then report it by calling 999.

Keep dogs under effective control

When you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control. This means that you:

  • keep your dog on a lead, or

  • keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it’s doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command

  • ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access

Special dog rules may apply in particular situations, so always look out for local signs – for example:

  • dogs may be banned from certain areas that people use, or there may be restrictions, byelaws or control orders limiting where they can go

  • the access rights that normally apply to open country andregistered common land (known as ‘open access’ land) require dogs to be kept on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, to help protect ground nesting birds, and all year round near farm animals

  • at the coast, there may also be some local restrictions to require dogs to be kept on a short lead during the bird breeding season, and to prevent disturbance to flocks of resting and feeding birds during other times of year

It’s always good practice (and a legal requirement on ‘open access’ land) to keep your dog on a lead around farm animals and horses, for your own safety and for the welfare of the animals. A farmer may shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog’s owner.

However, if cattle or horses chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead – don’t risk getting hurt by trying to

protect it. Your dog will be much safer if you let it run away from a farm animal in these circumstances and so will you.

Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can cause infections, so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly – ‘bag it and bin it’. Make sure your dog is wormed regularly to protect it, other animals and people.

Enjoy the outdoors

Even when going out locally, it’s best to get the latest information about where and when you can go. For example, your rights to go onto some areas of open access land and coastal land may be restricted in particular places at particular times. Find out as much as you can about where you are going, plan ahead and follow advice and local signs.

Plan ahead and be prepared

You’ll get more from your visit if you refer to up-to-date maps or guidebooks and websites before you go. Contact local information centres or libraries for a list of outdoor recreation groups offering advice on specialist activities.

You’re responsible for your own safety and for others in your care – especially children - so be prepared for natural hazards, changes in weather and other events. Wild animals, farm animals and horses can behave unpredictably if you get tooclose, especially if they’re with their young - so give them plenty

of space.

Check weather forecasts before you leave. Conditions can change rapidly especially on mountains and along the coast, so don’t be afraid to turn back. When visiting the coast check for tide times on http://www.ukho.gov.uk/easytide- don’t risk getting

cut off by rising tides and take care on slippery rocks and seaweed.

Part of the appeal of the countryside is that you can get away from it all. You may not see anyone for hours, and there are many places without clear mobile phone signals, so let someone else know where you’re going and when you expect

to return.

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