Below are a selection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we have been asked over the years when specifically running open access courses and events. Please take time to read over these and if you don’t find the information you are looking for, or if you are still unsure about anything, lift the phone or send us an email and we will get back to you. In addition you may find the Bespoke Training Events FAQ of interest.
Q1: Where is your training centre?
A1: We have excellent training facilities in Linlithgow (Central Belt of Scotland), where we are able to deliver small training events (<10 delegates). For some of our larger ‘open access’ courses, or where we are seeking specific objectives that we would find difficult to achieve in the Central Belt (e.g. seeking certain bat species), we may be delivering the training at other locations (e.g. NTS Threave Estate, Dumfries & Galloway). When you book onto an event it will be made very clear on the booking form where the event is being held.
Q2: How easy is it to get to your training centre?
A2: Our site is easily accessible by road (M9 motorway, J3 or J4 – <5mins by car), rail (Linlithgow Station – a short local bus ride) and air (Edinburgh Airport – 20mins by car). Linlithgow is also served well by local bus routes. If the event is being held elsewhere the booking form and joining instructions (normally issued 4 weeks before the event commencing) will show where the event is being held.
Q3: Can I make a provisional booking?
A3: Yes, unless the event is already full, in which case we could put you on a reserve list. When making a provisional booking we will be clear as to how long we are holding your place pending your confirmation.
Q4: How experienced do I need to be?
A4: This depends on the course. Most of our courses are aimed at a broad experience range of delegates, and therefore even if you are relatively inexperienced the material will be pitched at a level whereby everyone learns. Occasionally we run events where a specific level of experience or technical knowledge is required. If this is the case it will be clearly stated on the booking form.
Q5: I am concerned that my level of knowledge is such that I may appear far less experienced than others attending the event. Is there a risk that this may happen?
A5: None whatsoever. First of all, we are alert to the varying levels of experience within a typical course audience, and we pitch the delivery of our training material in such a way that you won’t get lost (or if you do, it will be our fault and the chances are you will be in good company :-)). Secondly, you should always remember that everyone in the room is there to learn and find out more about the subject. Generally speaking good bat workers recognise that people who are less experienced than themselves are on the same learning curve as they are, only slightly further back. We all started at the same place, and no-one is truely an expert in this field.
Q6: Do I need to be vaccinated against Rabies to attend an event?
A6: Only if you are being asked to, or you are intending to, handle any bats during the event. If so then we will ask to see written proof (e.g. on doctors headed paper) that your vaccinations are up-to-date, or alternatively a titre result (<12 months old) showing that you are adequately covered. For generic courses, where an element of the course may include handling (but not as the main objective), we would not recommend that you get vaccinated purely for that event (off course without vaccination you won’t be able to handle bats, but you will be able to see everything that is going on, and participate fully in all other aspects of the course).
Q7: If I am handling bats, do you insist that I wear suitable bat handling gloves?
A7: Most definitely, and always. We do not allow trainees on our events to handle bats without suitable gloves. We will show you how to do this effectively and safely, both from your perspective and that of the bat. There are a number of makes of gloves that bat workers usually recommend. Here is a link to what we suggest, other brands are available and acceptable. Also ensure that your gloves are close fitting.
Q8: Do you provide overnight accommodation?
A8: Unless the booking form says otherwise, we ask that you arrange your own overnight accommodation. We find that many people have specific preferences in this respect (and are prepared to pay accordingly, more or less). A quick Google search (other search engines are available!) around the postcode of where the course is being held should give you a number of options. All of our course locations are chosen to be within easy travelling distance of local B&Bs, hotels and the like.
Q9: How do I decide about what overnight accommodation to book?
A9: Usually we would recommend doing an internet search in the vicinity of where the course is being held, followed up with checking internet reviews to find out what other people staying there in the past have thought. For some courses we may be aware of where other delegates are likely to be staying. If we are, we may mention this on the booking form, or alternatively if you email us we may be able to guide you.
Q10: The start and end time of the course appears to be different to what I would expect. Why does the course not start earlier in the day, or finish later in the day?
A10: If this is the case it will be because we have deliberately chosen a later start in order to allow delegates more time to travel safely and arrive in a more alert frame of mind. Bat work can be tiring, and it is possible that during the first evening we may be asking you to do activities until well after dark. We want to ensure, as far as we can, that you are alert. For this same reason we want to make sure that when the course ends there is an opportunity for most people to be well on their journey home before ‘rush hour’ etc. It is therefore possible that the event you are looking at attending, is finishing earlier than you would expect because of this reasoning. We would also remind you that you should never drive unless it is safe to do so. As such, never carry out a journey to/from one of our events unless you are happy that you are able to drive safely.
Q11: Should I bring my own bat-related equipment?
A11: If you have your own equipment, then yes definitely take it along. Please ensure that any such items are properly marked so that they don’t get mixed up with someone else’s kit. The booking form may also suggest items that you should take with you when attending a course. For example, on a sound analysis event we would normally expect delegates to bring their own bat detector, recording equipment and laptop (with the required software being already purchased and installed). Not everyone has their own equipment however, and this should not be a barrier to you attending. Just let us know in advance and we can make arrangements to have extra spare equipment available.
Q12: I don’t currently own a bat detector, and I am thinking about buying one before the event. What do you suggest?
A12: We suggest that you don’t buy one just yet. Attending the event will be an excellent opportunity to see and hear what we ourselves and others at the event use. We will also give you guidance as to what would suit you best. Not all bat detectors are the same, and each manufacturer claims their machine(s) is excellent (why would they say otherwise!). The reality is that there are definitely detectors that are far better than others, or more appropriate, depending upon what you are seeking to achieve. So please don’t rush into buying anything without first getting unbiased opinions from people who have used a number of different machines. Beware of individuals who have only ever used one bat detecting system telling you that it is the best for you.
Q13: Will I need outdoor clothing, waterproofs etc.?
A13: It would always be sensible to take outdoor clothes, walking shoes and the like. Our courses can be fairly flexible regarding where we end up going during field excursions. We try not to travel too far from paths and tracks, but can never guarantee that you won’t need to go over rough or wet ground. Also, there is the possibility of rain, so you need to stay dry, and even in the middle of summer it can be quite chilly at night when we are working in the dark.
Q14: Do I need a torch or head torch?
A14: If it is a bat event and it isn’t purely classroom based, then you should take both please. A lot of bat-related training occurs during darkness or looking in dark places (e.g. lofts, cellars…) and it is important that you, and others around you, are safe whilst we are carrying out these practical sessions. In addition you need to be able to see the bats.
Q15: If we are handling bats or visiting roost sites do I need a red filter on my head torch?
A15: Although having a red filter is considered to be beneficial from the point of view of disturbance caused to bats, we do not insist that you have to have red filtered light during the event. Because it is a training event we feel that it is important to work quickly and safely, and in normal light conditions this is usually more achievable. It is also beneficial from the bats perspective that they are processed safely and released as quickly as possible. So in short if you have a red filter then this is great, but if you don’t it is not a problem.
Q16: What are the things that you find people forget to take with them, if they have forgotten anything, or don’t appreciate they need to consider?
A16: Batteries for their equipment (with plenty spares); head torch; bat handling gloves; proof of rabies vaccination (if intending to handle bats); electrical leads to connect their bat detector to recording device; hat to keep their head warm at night; headphones for detector; copy of the course Joining Instructions with the ‘How To Get There’ instructions; notebook and pen; mobile phone charger; laptop/tablet/Ipad mains cables/chargers; underestimating how cold it gets at night, even in mid summer; under estimating their travel time to the training location; waterproof jacket; outdoor shoes that they don’t mind getting muddy.
Visit our Bespoke Events FAQ to find out more about our typical tailor-made training events questions.