preserving what we have, to continue to explore
We have donated financial support to the Glenfinnan Community “Wee Harry Potter Bridge Project” The local community has been badly affected with the sheer volume of visitors to the area in recent years and the priority with this project is to improve the safety of the local residents, drivers and our guests.
The Glenfinnan Community worked together with Transport Scotland to reduce the speed limit at the east entrance to Glenfinnan to 40mph, and in addition, there will be a controlled and accessible pedestrian crossing from Glenfinnan Visitor Centre to the Monument which is the tribute to those who fought in the final Jacobite Rising of 1745.
Mackenzie School of English
We work with the Mackenzie School of English who support different groups of people. These groups want different things, in terms of how the English language and certain terms are used in different aspects of society and life. Recently, The Hairy Coo held a seminar with students surrounding the theme of “growth of the business”, which included a workshop on our company and a complimentary tour to discuss local businesses in Edinburgh.
John Muir Trust
We are proud to support the John Muir Trust. The Trust is a Scottish conservation charity dedicated to protecting and developing wildland. They own and care for some of Europe’s finest wild landscapes including several we visit on our tours. We aim to promote the Trust to our passengers and are looking into staff volunteering days to support our charitable donation. Please see https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/ for more information and specifically https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/trust-land/skye in relation to the area of Skye which we visit.
Local Charity Involvement
We are regularly approached for charitable donations to raffle and auction prizes. Recently we have supported:
Promising A More Inclusive Society
Children’s Hospice Association Scotland
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Green Tourism Business Scheme
We are working towards certification on the Green Tourism Business Scheme to confirm our commitment to the environment. The scheme is the largest and most established sustainable certification programme in the world. In choosing a green certification business, you are choosing a business which is positively working towards being sustainable, one which is accountable and genuine in its approach. This means minimising energy waste and water resources used as well as celebrating positive aspects of our culture and ecology.
At the end of every tour, we ask our guests to complete a feedback survey which we review the results of regularly. It’s vital to us that our guests are always experiencing a premium experience – whether it be on tour with our driver-guides or during the time spent with third parties on the optional activities.
We strive to work with the same accommodation providers as often as possible and have a strong relationship with the owners/staff. This way, we can be sure our guests are staying in places that meet our standards and know that you are receiving the brilliant highland hospitality the North is famous for. While the price is a factor that we always consider, quality and comfort are prioritised for Hairy Coo guests.
Whether it be a distillery tour, boat cruise, or castle we’ll always do our best to offer some truly exceptional optional extras on tour. Our suppliers constantly update us on new initiatives and policies to which we encourage our guests to abide by.
The Hairy Coo recognises that in pursuit of our business goals we have a responsibility to ensure that our practices minimise any adverse environmental impact. We aim to promote the use of environmentally sound resources and discourage wasteful or damaging practices. We ask all Hairy Coo employees adhere to these guidelines and to promote an environmentally sustainable workplace which we implement through induction and training and communicate guidelines through our online HR system, People HR. We aim to encourage initiative and adopt best practice for the benefit of our employees and the environment as a whole.
We also recognise our responsibilities and obligations to be mindful of the environment and to and to seek always to minimize any avoidable unacceptable adverse impacts of our operations through positive environmental controls. On a whole, as an organisation, The Hairy Coo does not generate any by-products that might be considered harmful to the environment.
Any promotional material for The Hairy Coo is made on recycled paper.
We have our annual PAT Testing of all electrical equipment within the office and the yard in January carried out by Hawksworth Appliance Testing Ltd.
One of our current operational goals is to obtain accreditation from EcoStars’ sustainable transport scheme. Ecostars is a European-wide voluntary scheme to provide recognition and guidance on environmental best practice to operators of goods vehicles, buses and coaches. The scheme recognises operational and environmental performance and aims to reduce the energy used by all types of transport fleets by encouraging more efficient operations in reducing fuel costs and emissions.
We use Adblue on our vehicles to help reduce nitrous oxide emissions produced by diesel engines. AdBlue is vital to make sure diesel engines pass tests and produce less harmful pollution into the environment. Our daily bus cleaning products do not contain bleach.
Our vehicles are current and modern, and the oldest vehicle is registered in mid-2016 and we ideally look to change our vehicles approximately every 4 years.
Systems and Procedures
We replaced our previous manual bus defects records with a system called VEHO which is an electronic vehicle defect recording and management system to eliminate the need for extensive paperwork production. It still ensures our compliance and is approved by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). The software gives us the tools to note defects, record PMI Checks and schedule preventative maintenance. This is a huge positive both environmentally but also in the overall efficiency of our organisation.
The Veho system is installed on each driver-guide iPad which are stored in the bus yard. The bus checks are carried out as part of our pre-tour procedure and the responsibility of each of our driver-guides. The Transport Manager has overall system access and can monitor the fleet of vehicles efficiently, track defects and maintenance work required online.
Each driver-guide takes an iPad with them on tour. They use this as a check-in system for guests on each day tour. Guests are not required to print anything off in order to board their scheduled tour, and we actively discourage them from printing their tickets.
Tour rotas are accessed via our online system TeamUp which enables the driver-guides to access their shifts and request time off. Each driver-guide has access to this via their smartphone device and also the tour iPads.
We operate within a serviced Pure Offices building and therefore have limited control over energy usage and tariffs. We hold a copy of the Pure Offices Environmental Policy and the Licensee Handbook.
We aim to continuously improve our behaviour in the hierarchy of reducing, reusing, and recycling materials to “green our office”.
Office cleaning is carried out by Asset Cleaning Ltd. We hold a copy of their Environmental Policy Statement on file.
The tea we provide our employees is Rainforest Alliance Certified and the coffee and hot chocolate provided is free trade.
Recycling points are available to employees both in The Hairy Coo office and surrounding communal areas.
Use public transport before and after your tour. We recommend the use of www.travelinescotland.com
Consider the amount of water needed for a shower or bath, and don’t let the water run while shaving or washing etc. Check if your B&B, Guesthouse or hostel operates a linen reuse program and if they do please reuse your towels, but if they don’t please consider requesting they are not changed every day. We hold a copy of the environmental policy statements for each of the B&B’s, Guesthouses and Hostels that we work with if they have a policy in place.
Drink From The Tap
We understand some of our guests may not be used to drinking tap water, however, Scotland’s natural resource is of the highest rated in the world. In an effort to make use of this reusable and eco-friendly option, we encourage all of our guests to refill their bottles rather than continue to buy water each day.
Our driver-guides have access to the “Refill” app on their iPads which enable them to advise the next stop on tour that guests can fill up!
When in your accommodation, please turn off the lights when you leave the room and close windows when the heating is on.
Don’t drop litter, please guard against fire and use footpaths responsibly. All of our guides are trained in “leave no trace” and will help you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, www.outdooraccess-scotland.com the place to find out about your access rights and responsibilities.
Where possible, use local products and services, not only will that help support the local community and local employment but it will give you a real flavour of the area.
We source our promotional goods locally and work with the New Chocolate Company in Inverclyde who produce our Hairy Coo chocolate bars.
Green Tourism Business Scheme
Look for the symbol and please support these businesses that are working to reduce their carbon footprint. The businesses include visitor attractions, activity providers, accommodation providers, restaurants and many others.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Try to avoid overly packaged goods and say no to plastic carrier bags for which there is a charge. Please reuse your water bottles and take advantage of our water stops whilst on tour. Recycle any waste you generate using our onboard recycling facilities which our driver-guides will be responsible for collecting.
Awesome Tour This was our best experience/tour that we took. Brizoo (Brian, our tour guide) was INCREDIBLE. He was kind, courteous, knowledgeable,... read more
Absolutely a bucket list must, the best tours on the planet My Friend Debbie and I went on the 3 day tour. Stayed in Inverness the 2 nights, the real... read more
Great Experience Driver cum Guide was very knowledgeable guy.He explained every thing quite in details and helped us in all the matters..... read more
Free Scottish Highlands Tour My friend and I did the free* one day tour to the Scottish Highlands and had a blast! Our tour... read more
Good trip Tour guide is very informative and engaging. He has good knowledge of the history or tales of Edinburgh. He gave... read more