Phil and Sarah, owners of Cairngorms eco holiday business The Lazy Duck, dreamt of a small off-grid hospitality opportunity in Scotland, and eagerly signed a 12-year lease for The Lazy Duck in 2019. The holiday haven in Nethybridge has been welcoming nature-lovers for 25 years and the pair were keen to build on the sustainable ethos of the business by offering wellbeing services alongside the idyllic lodges nestled in nature.

Their dreams however were halted in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic forced The Lazy Duck into temporary hibernation. The lodges on the site are very popular, with bookings made well in advance, so the closing down of the hospitality sector was a blow for Phil, Sarah and their team.

When they first took over The Lazy Duck, Phil and Sarah approached local accountancy firms and were impressed by Lorna Drummond from Goldwells in Kingussie who was able to explain exactly how her team was able to support the business.

Lorna and her colleague Lorraine were able to advise the pair on furlough claims as well as business grants and loans as they faced ongoing costs but zero income, As with all hospitality businesses, The Lazy Duck has had to install extra measures to combat the COVID-19 virus and changed some of its accommodation options to enhance its safety measures.

Phil said: “Goldwells helped us through the process of managing furlough and identifying what funding was available, and relevant to us.

“With their support, we made some changes which in actual fact have been sound long-term decisions, and as 95% of cancelled bookings transferred forward, this last year hasn’t been as difficult for us as it might have been.

“We were impressed by Goldwells from day one, when they took the time to explain how they could help – which was useful as first-time business owners. We appreciate that the team is very approachable and friendly, and they have been great in keeping in touch to see how things are going.

“It has been a tough year to everyone in the hospitality sector but thanks to sound financial advice, our dream continues and The Lazy Duck is able to continue to welcome guests looking for a slice of slow living.”