Ludlow – Overtaken by COVID-19

Last May Carl Flint led us on a trip to Ludlow where we stayed in small hotel not far from the centre of town. We spent a day on the bikes touring around twisty roads in nearby Wales with some stops for refreshment and a visit to the Machynlleth Osprey site. We also had a guided tour of Ludlow castle itself, led by Lady Caroline in full mediaeval dress. Ludlow is renowned for its fine dining and the hotel, The Cliffe at Dinham, certainly managed to come up with some interesting dishes, not to mention the excellent real ale.

Lady Caroline in Ludlow Castle

Following the success of last year’s trip, Carl was persuaded to organise another trip this year, and the Club booked most of the hotel for the first weekend in May 2020. As Treasurer, I have been responsible for managing the booking arrangements including the deposits required to retain the booked rooms.

The Cliffe at Dinham

As you might have deduced by now, this year’s trip did not go to plan and, in fact, could not take place because of the government restrictions to control the COVID-19 epidemic. In the end we were able to postpone the trip to May 2021 at the same room rates and without losing our deposit.

The difficulty with a situation like this is in the contractual position which depends on which party cancels the contract. If the Club collectively decides that we do not want to go on the trip because of the epidemic and we cancel, then we could lose the deposits and possibly be liable for further charges depending on the small print. If the hotel decides that they cannot keep the hotel open for the trip then they have to return the deposits.

In practice, it became clear during March that the COVID epidemic would affect the trip, which was after the deadline agreed with the hotel for cancellations without financial penalty. We warned our members that the trip was unlikely to take place, but could not say anything more definite until the hotel came up with a statement on whether they would be able to stay open. The word from the hotel finally came after the second three-weekly government review of the lockdown.

In the end we decided to postpone the trip until next year. In trying to re-run the trip later this year, it would have been hard to find suitable dates that did not clash with other trips and commitments already fixed by the members on the trip. We also still had no real idea whether any trips will be possible this year at all. An initial gathering of opinion from the members going on the trip was favourable to the idea of postponement, and the hotel was obviously much happier to delay rather than refund our bookings.

So, we now have a trip to Ludlow to look forward to again, hopefully in better times when hotels can open and we can ride together again.

Tim Bolderston

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