20th March 2020
I wanted to share the photo above of the beautiful spot on the West Coast of Scotland where my wife Heather and I wrote our first business plan for what would become McKinlay Kidd. It was Good Friday in April 2003 and gloriously sunny – sometimes Scottish weather can surprise and delight! The beach is about a 15-minute walk from our Kintyre home and requires a bit of clambering to get there – as usual, we had it all to ourselves. We sat on the sand and juggled exciting ideas for a Scotland-focussed, tailor-made travel business, scribbling on a notepad. I wish I could find that notepad now, but it has long-disappeared! The day stretched into a lazy afternoon – we’d brought picnic supplies including wine to see us through. In fact, it was so sunny that I ended up with a mild degree of sunburn!
We took a walk back there last weekend and I snapped this shot on my iPhone – something that didn’t even exist in 2003. It was a far-less connected world back then – indeed our first promotion of the business was through classified advertising in the back of The Times and The Sunday Times, with the phone number as the call to action. Gradually websites and the internet took over, assisting us with business growth and enabling international, as well as UK, customers to find us. We remained true to our ethos of authentic tailor-made holidays designed with creativity and delivered with the utmost care. We expanded by adding Ireland, England and Wales to the destination mix, partnering as far as possible with locally-owned and community-based businesses like ourselves, whether accommodation, local transport or guides. We built up a dedicated and knowledgeable team to help us – while continuing to be a small and personal family business.
The world changes quickly – never more so than in the past couple of weeks. This is an extremely challenging time for all of us, and the travel and hospitality industry is at the sharp end of the economic impact. Our team is now adapting to working from home. We have a cloud-based operating system. We are dealing with cancellations rather than new bookings, which has a devastating effect not only on ourselves but on our many business partners, yet of course we fully sympathise with customers who are missing out on long-planned trips or much-needed getaways.
If you have an upcoming trip booked with us and haven’t heard specifically from us about it yet, please bear with us as we are dealing with changes in departure date order while official advice continues to emerge – we will contact you in due course. And particular thanks to those of you who have sent supportive and understanding messages in the meantime.
We fully intend to be here on the other side of Covid-19, just none of us know when that will be nor quite what the world will look like. We hope as things improve – and surely they will – that we can once again be of assistance to you in planning your future trip to and around the UK and Ireland. In the meantime, we will continue to take our exercise and clear our minds on regular walks to that beautiful beach where McKinlay Kidd began.
I sincerely wish you and your loved ones every strength – physical and emotional – to get through the coming weeks. You are in our thoughts, as are all health, emergency, social care and essential service workers whom we rely on to look after us.
We’ll keep in touch. Stay safe.
Words & Image by Robert @McKinlayKidd