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Meet The Staff

Peter and Sue

Peter and Sue met in 1960 when they were still at school and celebrate their Golden Wedding in 2016. Born in Accrington they have built their business in the Lake District, the area which they came to love over years of fell walking, orienteering and delight in the countryside. Sue trained at Ambleside based Charlotte Mason College in the 60’s and enjoyed a nineteen year teaching career ending up as Deputy Head of the British School in Al Khobar (Saudi Arabia). Peter came from a scientific background before moving into management and finally heading up a consultancy in Al Khobar. Peter, Sue and son Chris lived for nine years in Saudi before returning to Ambleside and embarking on their own business career.

In 1986, following the dream, they bought a guest house overlooking Rydal Water – quite a change from hot and sunny Saudi Arabia. Then came a chance to take over a small fledgling cottage agency called Heart of the Lakes – a daring move at a time when self-catering was in its infancy. Cottage Life came along shortly afterwards and added to the portfolio, thus making the business the oldest established cottage letting company in the Lake District with a history going back to 1975. The rest, as they say ‘is history’ but there could be a book full of adventures and anecdotes waiting to be written.

Peter and Sue have many shared interests – good food, good wine, good company and a wonderful family with three grandchildren and not forgetting black Labrador Wellie. They have been fortunate to travel widely, have played golf (badly!) over many years. Peter has done his fair share of Munro bagging and celebrated his 70th birthday with a climb up Suilvan in Wester Ross. Sue enjoys a game of bridge, is a keen pianist and takes a turn on the church organ in Rydal. They love Italy, and Scotland in equal measures and love to spend time in either. 

Secret treats? Cake, biscuits and Italian Ice-cream eaten in Italy, (especially Chocolate!)


Chris Jackson

Chris is a partner in heart of the Lakes and has been here for ever… after asking Peter if he needed some help with changing over cottages one weekend back in 1991, to help fund some time off between leaving school and before going on to whatever might have been next.

Gill Stubbs

Gill has worked for Heart of the Lakes for 13 years and she enjoys working for quite a large company but as it is family owned it retains the values of a small family run business. She moved to the Lake District from Yorkshire, having fallen in love with the Lakes in her early 20’s as she used to spend weekends on a b...

Joanna Harris

After studying Bio chemistry at Durham University, in the hope to one day achieve “Mad Professor” status, Jo decided to take a few years out of the world of medicine and travel America. She lived on Vancouver Island and in Whistler, Canada for a few years, before returning to her original home in The Lake District.

Marie Holland

Marie moved to the Lake District 18 years ago from sunny Blackpool chasing her husband to be! She eventually married him and now has a 6 year old son, Max, who keeps her extremely busy. Marie is The General Manager and joined the company over 10 years ago.

Julian Cottell

Julian has a great sense of humour and is a pleasure to work with according to his colleagues, and is often mistaken for Tom Sellick (so they say…tongue in cheek!). He came to Heart of the Lakes 4 years ago after a 30 year career in the hospitality industry with varying roles in Hotels, the Merchant Navy, and prior to...

Ruth Bagnall

Ruth has worked for Heart of the Lakes for over 3 years, having moved back to the Lake District, an area Ruth and her husband love for the fabulous scenery, the people and the fell walking.

Samantha Walton

Sam has worked for Heart of the Lakes for just over a year now and has amazed the other members of the team with how much coffee and chocolate one person can consume when they put their mind to it. Having lived in the south for most of her life, she moved to the Lake District 5 years ago and counts herself lucky to li...

Diane Swainson

Diane stepped off the boat at Waterhead, in the middle of February for an interview, it was raining, misty, not a soul about and walking into Ambleside she thought “who would want to live here?”, 35 years later, she’s still here (not a local yet) and when the sun shines there is nowhere else in the world she would want...

Dot Ingall

Dot has worked for Heart of the Lakes for over 18 years so there isn’t much she doesn’t know. Working as part of the Administration team she has seen the days of paper booking forms and ‘sit up and beg’ typewriters. Dot loves living in the Lake District and takes full advantage of what it offers at weekends. She cycle...

Lynn Logan

As one of the longest standing employees at Heart of the Lakes, there really is not much Lynn does not know about the company. She is a strong and adventurous woman with a lot of passion for everything she does. Hanging around the Mersey and living life in Liverpool Lynn dreamed of being a mermaid, however, when she...

Graeme Drylie

Graeme first came to the Lakes for a long weekend over 30 years ago, and he’s still here!! He met and married a local girl and now has 2 grown up daughters. He worked overseas in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Turkey for 20 years then in a bid to settle down and enjoy the quiet life he came to Heart of the Lakes: - that was...

Scott Denney

Ever the joker, Scott has a tendency to put a smile on the face of every employee; you always know when he’s in the building. A local farmer’s son, Scott has worked for heart of The Lakes for many years and we have seen him rise from the ashes of clubbing and alcohol fuelled nights, to a strong and hardworking family m...

Alan Wilson

Alan is a local lad through and through. Born and raised in Cumbria. Alan claims he knows the fells and lakes like the back of his hand and a majority of the locals too. Alan is part of the maintenance team and loves all aspects of his job, mainly the daily routes around towns and villages, and especially meeting new...

Paddy Davidson

Michael, affectionately known as “Paddy” grew up in The Lake District and started working for Heart of the Lakes in 1993 as part of our maintenance team and stayed with us until his retirement in 2000, and then in 2006 he was missing Heart of the Lakes so much he decided to come back on a part time basis. He loves pow...