Meet Sally Our PA and Estate Manager
The entire team at Catch the Breeze Retreats knows how to make a staycation special with their unique skills and experience – it is what makes our guests’ holidays with us so unforgettable. So, it is about time we introduced you to even more of the dedicated team; firstly, we introduced Ben, our house manager at Oughtershaw Hall, and now it is time to get to know another member of the team.
Meet Sally Chapman, Catch the Breeze Retreats’ PA and estate manager who knows everything there is to know about travel and property development.
Sally is a true Cheshire-girl born and raised and therefore has a deep-rooted love for the great outdoors, whether that is walking or horse riding. This passion for the outdoors inspired Sally’s enjoyment for travelling, and she even hopes in the not-too-distant future to learn how to sail boats so she can add another string to her bow.
Part of a fifth generation of estate agents, Sally has always had an interest in property, but her love for travel kept calling to her. So, she joined the travel industry and stayed there for 25 years where she worked for companies such as British Airways and luxury tour operator, Elegant Resorts, which culminated in her becoming executive assistant to the managing director.
It is fair to say that Sally has a great deal of experience in the travel and property sectors, but prior to Catch the Breeze Retreats has never worked in the two simultaneously, she explained, “Working for Catch the Breeze gives me both travel and property in one role, it’s like a dream come true!”
And it has been a dream working with Sally too; she originally started as a part-time PA to the Sykes family back in 2019. She further elaborated, “Clive and Lynne had five properties at that time, Craster Reach, Tan Llan and Oughtershaw Hall, and then Rock Lobster which was undergoing renovations, and Middlerigg which had just been bought.” It was decided that Sally would look after these properties as well as assist Clive in beginning their new holiday company, Catch the Breeze Retreats. Sally further elaborated, “When the first lockdown took place, we were very busy setting up the website and refreshing the properties whilst we were unable to open. But that didn’t stop us from continuing to scout for additional properties and renovation projects to add to our portfolio.”
Since then, Sally has been our PA and estate manager where she is responsible for the everyday running of the holiday properties, whether that is repairs, maintenance, refurbishments, or spot checks on the properties. A big part of Sally’s role is working closely with other members of the team, she explains, “I work very closely with Gillian, our very talented Interior designer, Jim our architect, Karen and Ben our house managers at Tan Llan and Oughtershaw, Steve our maintenance man in Craster and our housekeeping teams to make sure that the houses are well maintained.”
She continued, “Our ethos is to ensure that each guest feels as though our property is their own personal home. I could not do my job without all these people; they all take pride and are passionate about the properties they look after.”
It makes us proud to have team members who work amazingly together to drive towards the same goal: guest happiness. We were interested to see what Sally’s day-to-day looks like when she is not with the other team members; she said, “No day is the same, which is what makes the job so interesting. The most consistency comes on Friday’s where I’m up in one of our property locations (I aim to go to each location every month) to carry out checks of each property.”
While carrying out all these inspections, Sally has another task that she revels in, she continued, “I’m also always keeping an eye out for the next potential holiday cottage to add to our portfolio in our locations, as well as discovering what’s new in our locations so that all our property and location information is up to date.”
After three years in her role, Sally is a real expert at finding properties with a great deal of potential for becoming the perfect holiday home. She never stops aiming for more and this means she always masterfully balances many projects at once. Currently, Sally is working on the following Catch the Breeze Retreats projects:
- Renovating Tughall Mill and the construction of a new Farmhouse next door in Northumberland
- Working with the Yorkshire Dales Woodland Officer on creating a woodland within the 40 acres of land at Oughtershaw Hall
- Continuing to work closely with Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) to ensure the colony of red squirrels we have at Oughtershaw increase in numbers
- Planning the next renovation at one of our properties… all will be revealed very soon!
With all these amazing things taking place across our property locations, it is no wonder why Sally is always so busy, but this is just one of the reasons why she loves her role so much. We were interested to know what other aspects of her role are her favourite, she explained, “I admire that the entire team has a deep passion for the property they look after. From Ben, our house manager in Oughtershaw, who is always on hand for guests to the housekeeping teams in all our locations who take great pride in ensuring each property is luxuriously cleaned for each and every guest.”
She continued, “It’s fantastic to work with a team such as this, we all have one goal: guest happiness and satisfaction. The fact that the whole teams’ values align is my favourite part of working with Catch the Breeze Retreats.”
We could not agree more with Sally, the entire Catch the Breeze Retreats team is dedicated and enthusiastic to ensuring the best possible customer experience, and it is a pleasure to work alongside like-minded individuals.
As Sally has been with us here at Catch the Breeze Retreats since day one and she has worked on each property both on a personal and team level, we wanted to know what she thought is the best part of each of our properties. Here is what she had to say:
“A favourite of mine at Oughtershaw Hall is the new river walk which Ben has been working on over the last nine months, it is the perfect addition to this already magnificent property.
The other best parts of Oughtershaw Hall worth mentioning are the scenery, indoor heated pool, and sauna, making this property the ideal location for a family celebration (we celebrated a significant milestone birthday for my mother here). The beauty of this property is that each generation of the family will be sure to have a fantastic visit.”
The Reading Rooms
“Our newest addition to the Catch the Breeze Retreats portfolio, this small, intimate and cosy getaway is in the heart of the Dales with the beck in front of the garden. It is lovely to now have The Reading Rooms to offer our guests so small families or couples can escape to the Dales rather than renting Oughtershaw Hall and having all family and friends descend!”
“I adore the hypnotizing views of the sea from both the open-plan kitchen/dining room and upstairs living room. Another element that I love is that each day’s view is so different depending on the time of year, and there is nothing better than sitting and watching the pod of dolphins which swim down the coast in the morning and back up in the evening.”
“Set in the hub of Craster’s harbour, the mezzanine floor of Middlerigg is the perfect place to escape for a little while. Sit and read a book or watch the flow of walkers travelling to see the sights at Dunstanburgh Castle. A bustle of people will pass through Craster midday, but outside of those hours, the quaint fishing village is the model of tranquillity.”
“It may not appear to be the biggest property on a first glance, but Craster Reach is a real-life Tardis on the inside; it is very deceptive in size and the inside is very roomy yet cosy. And to top it off there are spectacular views of Dunstanburgh Castle from the kitchen and living room.”
“This fabulous property went through some major renovations before reopening at the end of April this year. It now has an ensuite in the downstairs bedroom as well as new air source heating with underfloor heating being installed downstairs and new radiators upstairs.
The property also boasts wonderful views of the harbour, there is nothing better than sitting on the window seats and watching the world go by. You might even catch a glimpse of the local fishing boats going in and out with their fresh catch of lobsters.”
“Recently re-opened in July, this property has also had a lovely transformation through renovations over the last six months. My favourite part of the renovation is that Driftwood now has an open plan kitchen, living and dining room downstairs, giving the centuries-old fishing cottage a modern feel. And again, there is a window seat to look out over the harbour and externally guests will benefit from the sun trap on the front terrace in the summer months.”
Tan Llan & Coach House
“And finally, the grounds at Tan Llan & Coach House are an absolute paradise for children, with large gardens to explore, tree trunks carved into thrones to discover and colourful wildflowers to be behold. The best part is that if the weather were to take a turn, the whole party can stay entertained in the property’s games room which has table football and a ping pong table.”
As you can see, Sally loves each and every one of our properties as if they were her own home and we always stive to ensure our guests feel the exact same way on their Catch the Breeze Retreats staycation. Being the diligent and curious person that she is, Sally also knows each property’s location like the back of her hand, always knowing what activities and attraction to recommend to best suit our guests’ visit. We were intrigued as to what Sally’s top recommended experiences for guests to try. Here are Sally’s recommendations:
“If you’re looking for an active holiday, the walk from Oughtershaw Hall to Oughtershaw Tarn is a challenging yet fun one to try. It’s not on a footpath and is one of the quietest tarns in the Dales, the perfect rural escape.
After an exhilarating hike, you can book a table at Simonstone Hall Hotel which is 15 minute drive from Oughtershaw Hall and The Reading Rooms. Jake Dinsdale is the new owner of the establishment and has recently transformed the country hotel ready to welcome new and existing guests alike. It has stunning views, great food, an extensive cocktail list and even has its very own resident peacocks named Rosemary and Thyme who strut around the gardens.”
“I’d recommend visiting Ad Gefrin in Wooler when in Northumberland. It only recently opened in March of this year and is a museum and visitor centre celebrating the Anglo-Saxon Golden Age. There’s a 90 minute guided tour available where at the end you can take part in whisky tasting at Northumberland’s first ever whisky distillery.
Before a full day of learning and whisky tasting, book a breakfast at The Running Fox in Longhoughton which is only four miles out of Craster. Breakfast is served until 11.30am each day where there’s an endless choice of options, from muesli, porridge, eggy bread, croissants, pan au chocolat and full English’s, you really are spoilt for choice!”
“The Mach Loop is a set of valleys situated between Dolgellau in the north and Machynlleth in the south which is regularly used for low level flight tactical training exercises by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) who fly as low as 250 feet from the nearest terrain. The MOD publishes a monthly timetable and if you’re looking for the best viewing areas, visit either Cad West or Cad East to get a level or top side pass. Alternatively, if you are unable to climb the hills and want to make a day out of it, an alternative is The Corris Craft Centre which is in the middle of the loop. Although you may not get the top-down view, it is still a great opportunity to experience military low level flying, plus the King Arthurs Labyrinth and Corris Mine Explorers are here too.”
Sally is an integral part to the Catch the Breeze Retreats team; her passion for excellent customer service and her enthusiasm for all our properties is an inspiration for the entire team. We look forward to all the exciting things she has planned for the rest of 2023 and beyond.
For further information on our properties and their availability all year round contact us on 01829 830 388 or email at email@example.com. And do not forget to tag us in any pictures you may take and use the #MyCTBR, we love seeing your fabulous pictures and all the fun you have whilst staying with us in our properties.Back to archive
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