FROM: Catherine Ainsworth, husband Lawrence and Labrador Ziggy
WHERE: Kinloss, Scotland
How long have you been an Army family?
We married on New Year’s Eve 2015 but we’ve known each other since university. We rekindled our relationship through letters when Lawrence was in Afghanistan.
Time in the Highlands:
Since January 2016.
How many other military families live in the Highlands?
In Kinloss there are around 2,000 people. There are a number of other bases across Scotland.
What’s your quarter like?
It’s great. We’re lucky with the location as we look out over fields and, as we have no children, it feels on the large side. It does get cold here and as I often work from home, I have to find efficient ways to heat the house.
Are there any employment/training opportunities?
I launched my own business whilst living here and have built a client base in Scotland. Transport links are great as there are multiple flights a day to London from Inverness. The overnight train to Euston is my favourite way to travel for business. Generally, there are fewer employment opportunities in Kinloss because of its remote location but if you can drive 40 minutes to Inverness, there are more options.
What about schools/childcare?
There are lots of school options and outdoor activities.
Where do Army families get together?
The mess is very active. We have a monthly families’ get-together and every six weeks there’s a more formal event.
Who supports families?
We have good support from welfare services and a community liaison officer who has been really active on a range of issues from local transport to education.
What’s the best thing about living in the Highlands?
For us it’s the great outdoors. I’m most at home in the mountains and before we moved here I had no idea how wild and beautiful this area is.
Would you recommend the Highlands as a posting?
Absolutely. I think it’s a perfect posting for families who enjoy exploring. It helps if you can both drive. I’ve also been lucky because Lawrence has not been deployed, as a long deployment would make you feel more isolated, but the community here is so supportive and welcoming.