Welcome to the heart and soul of our operation – the Herdwick Cottages office. This blog is all about the behind-the-scenes of our company and where we have come from! You will get to know a bit about who we all are and what we do as part of the team.
One of our main goals from the start was (and still is) to deliver a welcoming and personal service to each and every guest who books through our website. We have maintained our quality of service over the years and are always looking for ways we can improve to ensure everyone has an unforgettable experience!
We involve and work with our property owners, understanding that every property is unique. We’re a small team that offers the same benefits as larger agencies but with a personal and flexible approach.
Our Office Team
Adam and Terry (The Directors) first started Herdwick Cottages 5 years ago, back in 2018. Their original business venture was Herdwick Travel, starting up in 2016, and still running today. You may have seen the Herdwick vans out and about, around the Lake District!
So much has changed over the past 5 years! Last year (2022), we went from just 2 directors to having five team members in the office.
Welcoming General Manager, Maria in July 2022. Then me, Marketing Apprentice in August 2022, And finally Julie, our Accountant, in October 2022!
This was a huge step for the business and opened opportunities for growth within the company. Now that Adam could pass on some of his responsibilities, he could focus more on the sales and development of Herdwick Cottages! Between the employment of Maria, and Julie, and I, we moved into a bigger office space to account for the growth we had encountered; there was not enough room in the little office to squeeze us all in!
Our office is based in Kendal, meaning we are only 10 minutes from the Lake District, where the majority of our properties are located. This has always been such an advantage for us as a Lake District holiday letting agent, if there is ever an issue, we are close by to rectify it.
In addition to the Herdwick Office, we also now have the beloved Laal’ Tup, our company car, which you may spot around the Lakes! Having the car means that we always have someone on standby during office hours who can go out to a property if there is ever a problem!
About the Team – from us
Adam – Director
I lived in a small village called Melkbosstrand on the west coast of Cape Town, South Africa, where I worked as a graphic designer for a local news publication. At the age of 21, I sold everything I owned in South Africa to fund my emigration to the UK, more specifically to Kendal. The aim was to continue working in Graphics, but I soon found this was a very saturated market to find work in.
So my career in hospitality began. I started working at The Low Wood Hotel in Windermere as a Front of House Porter. The role came with live-in accommodation, so it was perfect “while I found my feet”. It’s here that I first met Maria, who at the time was the General Manager of The Royal Hotel in Bowness. Who would have thought that years later, we would be working together again? Over the years at The Low Wood, I worked my way up to the position of Front Of House Manager, and I also completed a Hospitality Degree. Hospitality was my new career path, and I loved it!
More recently, I managed a portfolio of privately owned holiday properties in Cumbria. Here, I did everything from creating the new websites for the properties to introducing booking systems and generally overseeing the whole guest journey from booking to departure. It’s also where I had my first experience dealing with Holiday Letting Agencies – I won’t name them, but I quickly came to realise how difficult and impersonal they were.
Move on some more to 2018, when Terry and I decided that we could do this – we could run our own Letting Agency, but we’ll do it differently. We won’t dictate to owners, we’ll be personal, and most of all, we will ensure that we run a trustworthy company and brand that offers the flexibility the corporate brands don’t.
Terry and I both still had full-time jobs elsewhere, so we worked on the business every evening and weekend; the company grew quickly, taking on new properties as well as properties from the larger brands, who are still with us today. By year two, Herdwick Cottages was doing well enough to support Terry and me, so we both gave up our full-time jobs to focus solely on Herdwick Cottages and moved from the spare room to dedicated offices in Kendal.
Today, we are a thriving business with a great team. Maria, Chloe and Julie provide us with fantastic support, and I truly believe that with their support, Herdwick Cottages can only go from strength to strength, so watch this space!
Terry – Director
Growing up in the countryside was always an amazing adventure! Making go-karts out of old prams, putting up rope swings, swimming in the local river, hay timing and being in the young farmers.
My dad worked on a farm, and my mum used to clean Holiday cottages. I fondly remember going with my mum to help out on changeover days with my 3 brothers. When I left school, I went to work on a farm with 2 holiday cottages, 6000 battery hens, 80 sheep, 6 beef cows and Sally, the pig.
I have had a varied career as a farmer, council road worker, repairing walls and roads around Cumbria, coach driver, truck driver, warehouse worker and also had a short stint as a car salesman, barman and taxi driver.
Starting our own company 5 years ago, firstly with Herdwick Travel, then 2 years later with Herdwick Cottages, drawing from my past experiences has been key. We have always said if it were simple, everyone would be self-employed! We have survived COVID, a recession, a poor summer, and every day, we still learn something new or a better way to solve a problem.
We are lucky to have an amazing team, as we wouldn’t have been able to get this far without their support!
Chloe – Marketing Apprentice
Being the only member without a great deal of Hospitality experience, I have learnt a lot within the year that I have been working for Herdwick Cottages. I was originally employed by Herdwick as a Business Admin apprentice, but shortly after starting the course, I realised it was Marketing that I was interested in.
I started looking at Marketing courses and found a Digital Marketing Degree Apprenticeship course at Manchester Metropolitan University, which I have just enrolled on this September. I am looking forward to developing various marketing skills and being able to apply them back to the company.
I really cannot thank Adam and Terry enough for how kind they have been, the opportunities that they have given me and also for how much everyone has believed in me since starting here!
Maria – General Manager
I grew up in The Midlands (Tamworth) until 1986 when the bright lights of The Lake District called me! I was at College studying a 2-year City and Guilds 7061/7062 diploma in Hospitality and was sent to The Low Wood Hotel Windermere on an industrial placement for six weeks. Having never been that far north, aged 18, I was hooked and fell in love with the area and the freedom.
After finishing my course, I decided I wanted to go back to the Lakes, and this is where I have stayed. I married a local Windermere man and have two amazing now grown-up stepchildren and a beautiful granddaughter, and for the last 20 years, I have lived in Kendal.
My working background has been in Hospitality all the way through, having worked for English Lakes Hotels in varying roles for many years, from Waitress, Receptionist, Reception Manager, Hotel General Manager to Group Reservations Manager. After 36 years, I decided to leave the company where I had spent my whole working life. Then, finding the role of Herdwick Cottages General Manager, I have not looked back.
I am excited to be part of Herdwick Cottage’s future and look forward to continuing to work with our great team, helping the company move forward in the Holiday letting industry.
Julie – Accountant
I moved to the Lake District from Lancashire at the age of 16, when my entrepreneurial parents bought a café and restaurant in Hawkshead. From there, my love of hospitality was born. For several years I had operational roles in Pubs and Hotels but changed my focus to hotel accounting when my 2 lovely daughters were young. Based in Kendal, I spent 25 happy years as an Accountant at Castle Green Hotel in the town and its sister hotel near Manchester Airport, until the sale of both businesses in 2018 & 2022.
I started work at Herdwick Cottages & Travel in October last year as a part-time Book Keeper and thoroughly enjoy being a part of our small and passionate team. When I’m not working, I love being outdoors, walking in the Lakes countryside and playing golf (usually badly) or looking after my 2 gorgeous granddaughters.