Current and former owners of Cairngorms Hostels gathered on Sunday 1st Dec at The Lazy Duck in Nethy Bridge to mark the retirement of David & Valery Dean. Having built their hostel business and associated camping and eco-accommodation within the now, six acre site, they have decided to hand over the running of the accommodation and associated care of the wildfowl on the Fhuarain Burn, to take life at a steadier pace.
A big part of the hostelling community
Over the last 20 years Valery and David have built up their business to include a variety of accommodation. More importantly, throughout this period, they have devoted their voluntary time to the wider hostelling business with David holding the appointments of Chairperson of Scottish Independent Hostels (formerly Independent Backpackers Hostels Scotland) and Cairngorms Hostels. Along with Ian Bishop and Rebecca Mackellar, formerly of Slochd Hostel and Ardenbeg Bunkhouse respectively, they worked with the Cairngorms Business Partnership to bring hostels from both sides of the Cairngorms National Park together for marketing and business purposes. Valery, in the meantime continued to support David in the business whilst bringing up their family and grandchildren and well as visiting her mother, who also lived close by. Dealing with the quirky personalities of individual hostel owners has been tricky at times and at the helm, David used his tact and good humour to enable a diverse group of businesses to ‘collaborate to compete’ .
New steward tenants for Lazy Duck
David and Valery are leaving a superb legacy. The Lazy Duck now has new Steward tenants, Sarah Miller and Phil Hodgkiss who are intending to treasure and maintain the ethos at The Lazy Duck and to retain, in a different way, its hostel status. Independent Hostelling within the Cairgnorms National Park and beyond in Scotland, is definitely more successful as a result of these two hard-working, caring and enabling individuals.