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Good to go … ready to go? … where to go … how to go

Good to go … ready to go? … where to go … how to go

Viola Lewis, tourist guide in Harris. Outer Hebrides

Welcome back! From today tourism in Scotland is ‘re-opening’. It will be a gradual, planned process. The big wheels had come to a complete stop. It is only natural that it will take some time to get going again. Being a tourist guide I’m only a small cog in the big machinery, which has its advantages in that I can be flexible and perhaps quicker. However, I won’t be able to move much without the big wheels turning. So, I oil me wee cog (good to go) and keep my eyes open to where the big wheels are turning and … voila, we gather momentum.

Being a dreamer or believer in Sustainable Development Goals, I will also do everything I can do in order to go, push, drag and smooth the wheels in this direction. Responsible Tourism creates better places for people to live and better places for people to visit, in that order. [Dr Harold Goodwin]. It will be a difficult balancing act of considering the communities, economy, environment and human beings. But now is the time – not a re-start, but a fresh start.

Enough of cogs and wheels. If you know me you also know that I’m thinking of Runrig’s ‘The Big Wheel’ … and here our island journey begins.

Let’s get going … virtually over the next 12 days. Those of you, who followed me on my previous island dream last month, know that I was looking forward to guiding four long tours to the Scottish islands this year. They have all been cancelled for obvious reasons. From my home in Glasgow my mind will travel again to the islands. This time I won’t share memories of last year. It won’t be a travel log. Instead I will look at the island today. We will visit some of the same and some different island. We will look at where to go and how to go … even if we can’t or shouldn’t go there physically. I will try to bring messages from the island communities to you, through what I read and hear, through colleagues and friends and other inspirations like books, music, photography, perhaps even the odd memory.

Good to go – you will see this kitemark now all over Scotland and the rest of the UK. Acquiring the Industry Standard mark means that the business has followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, has a Risk Assessment in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.  Read more here https://www.visitscotland.com/about/practical-information/good-to-go-scheme/

The Scottish Tourist Guides Association (the professional body I belong to) also provided us with a specific safety protocol for guiding .

For RavingScotland it also means that this season we will stay local and offer private tours for you, your friends and family. Come and join me and my colleagues on walking tours in different areas of Glasgow. Let’s explore the dear green place. As usual, I will throw in links to the Scottish Highlands and Islands and beyond and we will tailor the walk to your interests. E-mail me at viola@ravingscotland.co.uk and let’s get talking.

Come back tomorrow and we will start our island dream with a snapshot of our 800 or so Scottish Islands.

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