The move to Caithness by Richard Dunbar, Managing Director Park Lodge International
Park Lodge was formed in Herefordshire in 1992 and became Park Lodge International Ltd in 2002. The company traded across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In 2018 it made a major change in relocating to France, forming a French company to provide EU access and maintain the UK operation in preparation of the UK leaving the EU. When COVID spread across the world, our business was greatly affected. In early 2021 we made the decision to return to the UK.
The decision of where to set up our business when we returned to the UK was carefully thought through. Transport links, property costs, the political landscape and quality of life were all part of the considerations. We had family links with Nairn and very successful courses running in Ireland.
All things taken into consideration, we identified the Highlands of Scotland as being the best option for re-location. With regular ferry crossings from Cairnryan to Ireland for the courses running there, this made a logical conclusion. However, with Scotland being a third of the land mass of the UK there were further considerations to be resolved.
For various reasons, Caithness became our preferred option. It is a wonderful part of the country for family living and walking and Scotland’s political and social arrangements offered more support for businesses than England does. We have been very impressed with the business support available and we are already Members of the Caithness Chamber of Commerce. We are also in receipt of financial help from Highlands and Islands Enterprise for a patent audit that will mean an expansion of our trading options.
Whilst the distance of Caithness from the ferry link to Belfast has added a night’s accommodation in addition to the travel time to catch the ferry, the journey is so pleasurable that there is none of the stress which would be felt on travelling that distance in England.
For our international journeys, Inverness Airport provides links with BA via Heathrow or KLM via Schiphol. Further afield, Glasgow provides us with Emirates which is our preferred airline. The Caledonian Sleeper from Inverness is a very pleasant way of travelling to London to connect with Eurostar.
Living and working in Caithness has far more positive than negative points as the internet is planned to get better and more flights are scheduled to happen from Wick. We have no problem with the travel involved and the issues of dealing with the EU could be improved in the near future if Scotland’s political plans come to fruition.
The midges, well they were here before us!
Richard Dunbar, Managing Director Park Lodge International