Summer opportunities at Longcraig

Summer opportunities at Longcraig

Longcraig

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‘Summer suns are glowing’ – so we hope!!

It’s been great to see so many young people back out on the water so far this year, and we hope this can continues. We thought we might have been able to say none had been cancelled due to bad weather – until this week, when unfortunately  wind speeds above 50 mph forced us to cancel one evening. We’re working with the group to find them an alternative slot to fulfil their activity. But this shows the vagaries of the Scottish weather, and we in turn have to keep a constant eye on the weather conditions (wind, principally) and make sensible risk judgements to ensure the safety of anyone who will be out in boats. 

You can find the latest updates at: www.longcraig.info. 

Summer Opportunities: 

Whilst we have seen a lot of booking activity in the early part of the year (May and June) we would like to remind everyone that water activities continue throughout the summer. And, it’s often warmer and sunnier then too!  

And we have come up with a Summer Offer to encourage more use of our facilities during the relatively quiet summer months. 

So, for every 4 places you book for an activity, you will get one FREE from 11th July through to 12th August – subject as always to prior demand (we do have some bookings in place already!) 

Other 2022 terms and conditions remain in place. 

We also propose that, for this period, we offer ‘activities as available’ because quite a number of our specialist instructors also have holidays to take, so we will provide activities according to what we can safely lead for your booking. 

Remember to consider: 

  • We have introduced a special date in the calendar each month, to enable individuals, or small numbers from a group or section, to take part in activities without the need to have a full group which meets the minimum numbers 
  • Sadly, we can’t offer any spaces for the June one, as it’s already full! 
  • Next one is on September 3rd.

Hire it! 

Activity equipment: 

Did you know that you can hire some of our activity equipment for your summer camp or your family event? (Always provided that it is being used safely and in line with Scout rules!). For details of what we have available, and an indication of costs, please contact getinvolved@longcraig.info. 

General equipment: 

And, for the land lubbers (or just the land based activities) among you, we also have a range of glasses, crockery and cutlery available (up to 50 sets); GOPAK tables and benches, as well as loads of folding stackable chairs and also cushioned upholstered stacking chairs for a bit more comfort.  

All of these can be made available, subject to demand, at very reasonable rates for short or longer periods. 

Facility updates  

With our replacement fencing now in place (as far as we are going for now), we’ve cleared the revised storage area outside and have now prepared the ground and relocated most of our boats into the new storage space. Obviously, a lot of the boats are now out on the water too, as we are actively using them for activity bookings and training. So, it’s all looking a bit more like an active activity centre once again! 

Training Courses 

We had no applications for the courses planned in June, so they have been postponed until a later date. 

So, for anyone who is eager to take part in a training course, for sailing, powerboating, or paddling, please get in touch at bookings@longcraig.info and we will add your details to enquiries so we can arrange appropriate courses to match. 

Community Engagement 

As well as providing opportunities for young people covering a wide range of water activities, Longcraig is also actively involved within the local community in South Queensferry, Dalmeny and the surrounding area. 

Examples of this over the past year or two including the COVID lockdown periods include: 

* Support to the Queensferry Guild for a number of their events 
* Lending tables for Dalmeny Kirk Fayre 
* Lending cutlery to various events at Queensferry Parish Church 
* Lending lifejackets and maritime waterproofs etc to  a children’s care centre 
* We provided numerous lengths of old and good rope etc to one of the charities supporting COP26 in Glasgow last October.
* Whilst all of our assets are potentially able to be borrowed or hired, we do tend to take a view on requests from other local charities to decide if we simply seek a hire charge fee or whether we can support other charities, especially if they are also involved in their own fund-raising events, by simply lending them any equipment which can enhance their event or activity. 
* And, this Spring, we were delighted to pass over a pile of surplus items of guttering and drainage and other stuff to Carrick Knowe Primary School to help them develop an activity facility for young people within their own scope of activity. 

Have you booked Longcraig yet?

Have you booked Longcraig yet?

We’re bobbing along ………..on Christopher Wave……etc

(With due apologies to our colleagues in Gang Show!)

By the time you are reading this, Longcraig will have started to welcome Scouts back to take part in water activities! It’s been a long wait – for you just as it has been for us! The first of our sailing boats went on the water in mid-April, and others have followed. We have new moorings and mooring buoys this year for them to park at.

At this time, we are now almost fully booked for May and June but we still have slots in July and August & into September. Thank all those that have booked and apologies to those that have been unable to find a space. Centre operations are limited for this year to allow our volunteers and equipment to settle back into “normal” operations and to make sure that we continue to keep everyone safe, within the building, in the boats, and do our bit to help prevent any unnecessary spread of coronavirus.

We do hope to be able to open up additional slots for bookings as the season develops and we gain confidence that our new and tightened procedures are all working. We’ll keep you posted through these newsletters, and also by way of the ‘waiting list’ that we have set up this year, and we will provide additional slots only if we feel they can be supported.

You can find the latest updates at: www.longcraig.info.

Remember to consider:

· We have introduced a special date in the calendar each month, to enable individuals, or small numbers from a group or section, to take part in activities without the need to have a full group which meets the minimum numbers

· The May one is on Saturday, May 28th.

· Sadly, we can’t offer any spaces for the June one, as it’s already full!

If these are successful, we do hope to be able to offer a similar date in July and August as well.

Summer Opportunities:

Whilst we have seen a lot of booking activity in the early part of the year (May and June) we would like to remind everyone that water activities continue throughout the summer. And, it’s often warmer and sunnier then too!

So please give consideration to an activity session in July or August or through into September – at the time of writing there’s a reasonable amount of availability so if you didn’t find what you wanted in the early summer have another look and pick up a slot over the summer months instead!

Did you know that you can hire some of our activity equipment for your summer camp or your family event? (Always p[provided that is being used safely and in line with Scout rules!). For details of what we have available, and an indication of costs, please contact getinvolved@longcraig.info

Facility updates

The old fencing is now all cleared, and we’ve cracked on (carefully and slowly!) with erecting the new fencing. 

Here’s what we’ve achieved so far (see photo), and we’ve already planted some new trees along the fence line to replace the ones we had to remove from our micro forest.

Training Courses

We are planning to run a dinghy sailing course (junior or adult level) over the weekend of 11/12 June.

On the same weekend we are also offering a Powerboat Course which would lead to the RYA Powerboat Certificate or contribute to a selection fo Scout and Explorer badges and awards. For details of what’s involved in either of these please contact mleckie@longcraig.info

Longcraig – welcome back!

Longcraig – welcome back!

Have you booked Longcraig yet?

We’ve had a huge response from Groups seeking activity bookings at Longcraig – thank you all for your support and we hope that everyone (or at least most of you!) have managed to get the bookings you want. We are starting off the year with some ongoing restrictions, as we advised last month – you can find these on the bookings page on our website. These are mostly related to helping us to recover from the pandemic lockdown as we strive to get everything working fully again and operate the Centre within a new set of rules and guidelines. 

You can find the latest details and also how to make bookings at: www.longcraig.info

Remember to consider: 

We have introduced a special date in the calendar each month, to enable individuals, or small numbers from a group or section, to take part in activities without the need to have a full group which meets the minimum numbers.

Summer Opportunities: 

Whilst we have seen a lot of booking activity in the early part of the year (May and June) we would like to remind everyone that water activities continue throughout the summer. And, it’s often warmer and sunnier then too!  

So please give consideration to an activity session in July or August or through into September – at the time of writing there’s a reasonable amount of availability so if you didn’t find what you wanted in the early Summer have another look and pick up a slot over the Summer months instead! 

Facility updates:  

The old fencing is now all cleared, and the first section of replacement new fencing was installed last weekend. We anticipate we will have this all in place before the new season starts and we will then be able to rearrange the outside boat storage. 

Volunteering opportunities 

Whilst Longcraig is always looking for additional volunteers with water activity skills (or willing to learn!), this year we are also looking to supplement our volunteer team with additional people. This is to make sure we can comply with all our own and Government requirements for keeping COVID at bay. This may involve helping to keep people moving, ensure our kit and equipment is always ready, clean and safe to use, and supervising the cleaning after each session of the boats, equipment, clothing and safety equipment. Nothing that we didn’t do before, but we will be doing more of it and possibly slightly more intensely, this year – and into the future. 

So, if there’s anyone out there who thinks they can become part of a Longcraig Support Team covering the times we are open for activities (weekends, evenings mid-week, and occasional other times) please do get in touch so we can discuss what would be involved. 

You can reach us at getinvolved@longcraig.info at any time!  

For this role, no specialist skills are required, and you don’t even have to go out on the water – although we will be happy to support you if this is something that you would aspire to. Thank you.

Longcraig Update – We’re Open!

Longcraig Update – We’re Open!

The Longcraig online booking system is open as of midnight on 28th February – so ready for 1st March as promised!

  • We’ve completed our assessment of the tide times for the year, and worked out which dates we have to exclude from activities at Longcraig. This year, there may be a few more than normal that are excluded, as we continue to minimise any risks encountered from launching and recovering boats, especially at low tide.
  • We’ve completed assessments of our instructor availability for this year – including a few who are no longer able to support our activities, but supplemented by a good number of new faces who will come onto the water team as the year progresses.
  • We’ve completed our checks on who holds which activity permits which are needed to lead activities on the water (and there’s a few other things our team need to have behind them too)
  • And, finally, for our Plan A at least, we’ve carried out our Risk Assessments so we can re-open in a controlled a d a safe way taking account of the ongoing COVID pandemic which is still with us.

As a result, we’ve had to make a few changes to how we go about taking bookings, and operating our activities – these were detailed in last month’s newsletter and are available to review on Longcraig’s website at www.longcraig.info.

Does this mean less opportunity for water activities?

Yes – just a little bit!

We’ve a number of previously arranged bookings which were held over from 2020 when COVID struck which the groups wished to keep open and carry over. So, we’ve removed these dates from our bookings diary as they are already spoken for.

We’ve removed a small number more than usual due to low tides when there’s no water!

We’ve had to spread out our activity sessions to reduce the number that are on consecutive days, and also to avoid activities with more than one group present (COVID limitations)

But on the positive side:

  • We anticipate the majority of booking requests will be just as you will recognise them from before.
  • We’re keeping our fees and charges the same as they were in 2019, 2018 and 2017.
  • We’ve simplified our payment process for this year – no deposits needed, you just need to make sure your booking is paid (as previously) two weeks before the booked date.
  • We have introduced a special date in the calendar each month, to enable individuals, or small numbers from a group or section, to take part in activities without the need to have a full group which meets the minimum numbers

We look forward to seeing folks at Longcraig this year,  to welcome back our old friends and also to meet new guests for the first time!

Facility Updates

During February, we took the first steps to installing our new security fencing – by removing the old fencing which has been in place for well over 20 years!

Fencing, wire netting and some tree trimming was carried out during one of the few bright sunny days in the month, so we are now ready for the next stage which is to get the new fencing prepared and erected.

The old fencing and tree trimmings made a great bonfire on the beach!!

Wanted

Does anyone have, or know of the whereabouts of, a small number of scaffolding poles of various sizes?

We are revamping our outside boat storage as we complete the newly laid out storage area, and will need to replace some of the older scaffolding that forms the frames the smaller boats are stored on. Please get in touch if you can help!!

Volunteering Opportunities

Whilst Longcraig is always on the looking for additional volunteers with water activity skills (or willing to learn!), this year we are also looking to supplement our volunteer team with additional people. This is to make sure we can comply with all our own and government requirements for keeping COVID at bay. So, it will involve helping to keep people moving, ensure our kit and equipment is always ready, clean and safe to use, and supervising the cleaning after each session of the boats, equipment, clothing and safety equipment. Nothing that we didn’t do before, but we will be doing more of it and possibly slightly more intensely, this year – and into the future.

So, If there’s anyone out there who thinks they can become part of a Longcraig support team covering the times we are open for activities (weekends, evenings mid-week, and occasional other times) please do get in touch so we can discuss what would be involved.

You can reach us at getinvolved@longcraig.info at any time! 

 

Longcraig – updated operational processes

We’ve set out our updated operational processes in more detail below. Please read the following notes carefully so you understand how we have agreed that we need to operate in 2022: 

We plan to offer all our regular activities this year – kayaking, sailing, rafting, powerboating – but we may need to impose some restrictions on numbers or availability based upon the latest risk assessments for each individual activity. We’ll work with you on that situation if it arises. 

We recognise that many groups have been disappointed that they have not been able to get out on the water over the past two seasons. We are holding our charges for activity sessions at the same level as 2017/18/19 for this year. We’re aware this may mean that the Centre may operate at a loss this year, but for us it is more important to be able to welcome people back into boats and return to some normality than to ensure we just generate income! (Bit more work for our fund-raising teams perhaps!!) 

As we come out of COVID restrictions, we have introduced more enhanced cleaning and sanitising procedures for all our uses and all activities. This may look like a small amount of inconvenience, but it is all based upon what we have learnt during lockdown and is all designed to minimise any risks of spreading of disease whilst at Longcraig. For us, this is of course a potential additional overhead cost, and we will be looking for and utilising additional staff at the centre to ensure all these procedures are enacted. In the early part of the season (at least) we will be avoiding running activities on consecutive days, to allow time for cleansing and sanitising in whatever way will be required at the time. 

During 2022, we will be operating the Centre with just one group booking at a time, irrespective of numbers, so we can avoid any risks associated with having mixed groups in attendance. This will be reviewed if we feel advice/circumstances have changed. 

Our booking system will operate in the same way as previously, but we have had to introduce a few small changes for 2022. In summary:
* The Bookings Diary will open on 1st March.
* Activities on the water will be available from 1st May (as in previous years).
* Our minimum number for an online booking is now 12 persons (but see note below if you can’t get 12 people together).
* We’ve introduced a maximum number this year of 24 due to a likely need for enhanced spacing and to avoid any overcrowding.

We’ve simplified the payment process and like many other activity providers, we’re offering the best we can to deal with potential changes or cancellations mainly resulting from COVID situations. 

We are dropping the need for a Deposit at the time of making your booking (we may regret this later!) All payments for bookings will be due in full Two Weeks before the date of your booking. 

Because of our slightly restricted numbers and activity opportunities this year, we will be operating an informal ’waiting list’ for any groups who have not managed to get a booking they seek. If payments are not made by the due date, then those bookings may be offered out to candidates on the waiting list and the original booking cancelled. 

With the continuing relaxation of rules surrounding COVID, we have put in place a Plan for Re-Opening for water activities from the start of the 2022 season. 

And, given the speed of change and the regularity of changes of rules across the country, we also have back up Plan B, Plan C, etc in our back pocket – just in case we need to modify arrangements. But, all these Plans (except Plan Z) does involve options for Scouts participating in water activities in one way or another this year.  

You will recall that close to the end of last summer, it did once again become possible for us to re-open, but it was so close to the end of our normal operating season that we decided to continue to focus on some staff training, boat preparation, and working alongside the Longcraig Explorers programme. And then, back came a new pile of restrictions, over the winter months, which would have possibly meant we would have had to close again had we been open! 

As we take our tentative steps out of lockdown, we have had to introduce a few small changes in how we will be operating this year – all as a result of the circumstances of the past two years of pandemics. Some of these may impact on your choices of times or activities, so we ask that you exercise some flexibility in the same way as we are having to introduce a new level of flexibility in order that we can re-open safely. A key feature will be enhanced Risk Assessments – we already do these very thoroughly for our activities on the water, but we now must add assessments of the buildings, facilities, the instructors, and other staff and of course the Groups participating in our activities. 

Longcraig – Spring 2022 opening!

Longcraig – Spring 2022 opening!

We’re OPEN!! Well, we will be when Spring arrives!

With the continuing relaxation of rules surrounding COVID, we have put in place a Plan for Re-Opening for water activities from the start of the 2022 season. 

And, given the speed of change and the regularity of changes of rules across the country, we also have back up Plan B, Plan C, etc in our back pocket – just in case we need to modify arrangements. But, all these Plans (except Plan Z) does involve options for Scouts participating in water activities in one way or another this year.  

You will recall that close to the end of last summer, it did once again become possible for us to re-open, but it was so close to the end of our normal operating season that we decided to continue to focus on some staff training, boat preparation, and working alongside the Longcraig Explorers programme. And then, back came a new pile of restrictions, over the winter months, which would have possibly meant we would have had to close again had we been open! 

As we take our tentative steps out of lockdown, we have had to introduce a few small changes in how we will be operating this year – all as a result of the circumstances of the past two years of pandemics. Some of these may impact on your choices of times or activities, so we ask that you exercise some flexibility in the same way as we are having to introduce a new level of flexibility in order that we can re-open safely. A key feature will be enhanced Risk Assessments – we already do these very thoroughly for our activities on the water, but we now must add assessments of the buildings, facilities, the instructors, and other staff and of course the Groups participating in our activities. 

We’ve set out our updated operational processes in more detail below. Please read the following notes carefully so you understand how we have agreed that we need to operate in 2022. Click below for more.

And here are two ways in which we can help get the best access to activities despite the limitations we have had to put in place: 

For any Group which cannot get to the minimum number of 12 this year, we are offering separate opportunities once a month of an ‘Activity open Day’ where groups from 1 to 10 people can simply book in as individuals and come along to Longcraig. These will all be one day of a weekend; we’ll have details of the dates next month. Participants will be offered activities as available based upon the numbers in total attending, availability of appropriate equipment and staff, and of course the weather on the day. You’ll be able to book for one session (a morning or an afternoon) or for the whole day. We’ll have more details about this next month. 

The first two of these events will occur on Saturday 28th May and Sunday 26th June. 

Obviously, our need to put some limitations on numbers attending and on session availability, may mean disappointment initially that Groups are unable to get the sessions they want to fit into their programme. Well, there’s only so many days in May and June! But there are even more days in July and August, and often, it’s warmer then too. Longcraig will be open throughout the summer as we always are, so look to see if you can take an activity booking during those months rather than earlier in the year. It’s quite likely that rules may be relaxed further by then, it might be warmer, it might be sunny!

Water activities don’t have to take place at Longcraig! 

If you don’t wish to make use of the facilities for whatever reason, or you don’t like the views of the three bridges, or you don’t like tides – we can bring our activities to you! 

If you have plans for a camp this year, or an away day somewhere, so long as there is some suitable and accessible water nearby, we can bring activities to you with the boats, the people, and the know-how! 

These events do take a bit of planning and might involve additional costs, so in the first instance please get in touch with us at bookings@longcraig.info so we can work out what’s possible. 

Facility updates (how we’ve spent the winter….)

Over the past few weeks, we have now had our new alarm system fully installed, along with some external CCTV cameras so we can more effectively keep an eye on all our assets and buildings. You won’t notice any difference at all to the appearance of the Centre, but it does let us rest more soundly at night in the knowledge that the buildings are safe and secure! 

As a second stage of security improvements, we’ve also taken delivery of new fencing and gates, which will replace the old wooden fencing round our boat park, and will also provided greater security to this are outside the building itself. The main benefit this will bring (to users) is that some of the smaller sailing boats can be left in a better state of readiness to enable a quicker preparation time for sailing activities, and thus more time spent actually DOING the activity instead of just preparing to do it. 

H M Coastguard is 200 years old! Happy birthday!

From its beginnings with coastal lookouts to today’s hi-tech national network of coordination centres, from small localised beginnings to international players – one thing has stayed the same for two centuries – Her Majesty’s Coastguard seeks to search, to rescue and to save. 

Two hundred years of saving lives along the UK coast and at sea, as well as coordinating rescues for those in distress in international waters, is being marked this year as HM Coastguard celebrates its milestone anniversary. 

It was on 15 January 1822, that HM Coastguard was formally brought into existence and has been working to keep people safe at the coast and sea ever since. 

Over the past two centuries, HM Coastguard has gone from strength to strength. In 2022, coastguard operations centres coordinate responses to emergency situations at the coast calling on 310 Coastguard Rescue Teams – made up of 3500 dedicated volunteers – and using 10 search and rescue helicopter bases. 

Although the way in which they operate has changed beyond recognition in the last two centuries, HM Coastguard continues to look to the future. Innovation has always been a driver – whether it be pushing forward state of the art technology in the national network of maritime rescue coordination centres or leading the way in rope, water and mud techniques. 

The service continues to adapt to changes – in the last few years providing mutual aid and support during events and incidents to other emergency partners. During the pandemic, coastguards supported the NHS, attended the G7 and COP26 in 2021 and are called in to support during national emergencies including flooding or supplying water to stranded drivers. 

HM Coastguard provides training to search and rescue authorities around the world and also shares knowledge on a mutual basis with others. A key player with the International Maritime Organization, HM Coastguard’s input and insight around the obligations of SOLAS (The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) is sought and valued. 

And with technology ever evolving, the service will continue to strive to be at the forefront of innovation to carry out its life-saving work. 

HM Coastguard aviation: fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter and drone

Content of this article derived from H M Government website bulletin 

We offer our congratulations to HM Coastguard in general across the UK, and in particular to our local branch close to us in Queensferry, and to all the other locations along the south East Coast of Scotland within the boundaries of S E Region.