WORK YOUR WAY: What isn’t there to love about the Lakes?
The stunning natural surroundings of the Lake District offer endless opportunities for outdoor recreation from fell walking to sailing, open water swimming and ghyll scrambling. DSW Debt Advisory Partner, Owen Malton calls the Lake District home and here we find out why.
When did you move to the Lakes and why?
My wife Nina and I had a static caravan on the shores of Windermere for many years. We walked, sailed, took out our mountain bikes, had many a BBQ and basically enjoyed outdoor life every weekend. We loved the beauty and special air of the Lakes.
We were living in Sommerseat, just north of Bury, and every Sunday night I was – allegedly – like a moody teenager as we faced the journey next morning down the M6 as work beckoned in Manchester.
Then nine years ago with restructures at work, Nina and I had a ‘Eureka’ moment. We decided to sell the caravan and our house and move up to The Lakes and commute. We don’t have any children, so we thought if we don’t take the plunge we’ll regret it in our later years, and if it didn’t work, we could always revert to Plan B – though not sure what that was!
How’s the commute?
Initially, I drove every day, but after a couple of weeks, I started taking the train from Oxenholme to Manchester. It was better, but the train service wasn’t great. You get used to it and of course, I wasn’t alone as many fellow commuters were doing the same and had already taken the plunge. With electrification on the West coast mainline journey times reduced, but post-pandemic, the journey can be prone to changes.
What do you love most about living in the Lake District?
What isn’t there to love about the Lakes? It’s a beautiful setting and in 2017 became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fantastic for outdoor pursuits and good pubs, it also has seven one-star Michelin restaurants. L’Enclume in Cartmel has three and its chef, Simon Rogan supports the local economy on many levels. Yes, it can rain a bit, but we live in the south Lakes which has its own microclimate and is a lot drier and brighter.
What hobbies have living in the Lakes enabled you to do?
We walk a lot which usually involves a good pub. We sail and also have some woodland which involves a spot of chainsawing. Admittedly Nina made me go on a course before I started but I’m thankful as you do hear of some horrific chain sawing accidents. In addition to my general husbandry skills I have learnt to rebuild dry stone walls – there are a lot of them up here, but what I didn’t know is that every dry stone waller has its own style. My skills are being honed and I would say my style is best described as abstract!
How does living in the Lakes fit around your working life? Has it changed since moving to DSW?
Prior to joining DSW, I led a team at Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank Group (CYBG) where we had a good work-life balance. It was really important to me to join an organisation with a similar balanced perspective but also one focused on the SME market. The DSW Debt Advisory team, led by my old colleague from CYBG, Phil Tarimo, is geared toward finding the right funding partner for our SME clients to help deliver their strategic objectives.
Flexibility is what a modern workforce needs and DSW and its structure are able to provide this. My work-life balance is even better and living in the Lakes in no way affects my ability to deliver to our clients.
But it’s all about patience and resilience. When the M6 is gridlocked or the next train home from Manchester has been cancelled, knowing I’m going back to the Lakes makes it all worthwhile!
Thank you, Owen, for your time and for showing how DSW can help support you even if you do live in the lakes!
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