Bourne for the property game

Name: Sue Bourne 

Job title: Manager

Company: Cottages & Castles Ltd


I am an early bird so I like to be at my desk by 8am most mornings. I like that first peaceful hour to get a handle on my e-mails and plan the day ahead. As the manager of a busy holiday lettings company I travel a great deal so office days are interspersed with driving all over Scotland and the occasional night away.

Some of my away days involve a 6am departure but the countryside is beautiful and the roads are quiet. Travel is always to meet owners of holiday houses or cottages that want advice or details drawn up.

Many of them are our parent company, CKD Galbraith’s, clients so this can mean visits all over Scotland. In the office I am managing all the business issues, client arrangements, new properties, staffing and sales.

Sue Bourne


I generally have lunch at my desk if in the office, although I might go home some days. I walk my border terrier then too – we are lucky enough to have kennels in the office garden and he has company all day.

If I am on the road lunch itself could be anywhere but I always prefer to shop/eat local rather than at chains. In midwinter in the Highlands it can be tricky finding anywhere open so I keep emergency supplies in my car too. And there has been the odd emergency. . .

I do recall once getting locked in a house I was visiting. It was a rather impressive mansion and I was visiting alone and the front door slammed shut behind me with the Yale key still in the door. Of course there was no mobile signal and no neighbours for miles. An hour later I gave up searching for spare keys and climbed out of a window and dropped the five foot to the ground – not my most dignified exit.


I like to spend the afternoon catching up with e-mails if I’ve been out all morning. I look at everyone’s content output before it goes; write up content for PR and the website, house descriptions and newsletters.

Swallow Cottage

We are a fairly small company but we are a specialised team with a large portfolio of 650 houses across Scotland to let, these can be anything from a modern architecturally designed house perched on a cliff top to a medieval castle with banquet hall. We do a lot of marketing and social media which I manage and of course the travel industry is very IT dependant so I work with our in house IT team a lot.


If working in the office I tend to leave promptly at 5.30pm after my early start. If I am on the road 12 hour days are not unusual but it is always nicer to get home than stay overnight in a hotel. Once home I potter round the house and garden and tell myself that a glass of wine on a school night is not allowed. I love my garden, fly fishing which I find to be that perfect mix of excitement and relaxation and (in small doses) my grandchildren.


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