My visit to the Highland Wildlife Park (HWP)

Nov 1st, 2018 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

1.11.2018 by Ralph

Kincraig on Tuesday and Wednesday 2-3 October

I visited Highland Wildlife Park in May, to meet Molly Merrow and see HWP for the first time. My reports are in KWM (Ralph’s reports).

Travel Arrangements

I travelled up to London on Monday night to catch the overnight bus from Victoria Coach Station. While waiting, I decided to have an evening meal to keep me going through the night. I found a nice looking Italian restaurant and settled down for a quiet meal. I had Salmon Tagliatelle, followed by a Tiramisu. Both were excellent and reasonably priced.

The bus to Scotland had changed its number and route over the Summer.

It no longer serves Aviemore and Kingussie direct. Instead there is a change of bus at Perth. A Scottish operator runs the service.

There was a wait at Perth, but the good news was that I would be able to get off the bus at the entrance to HWP at Kincraig. I also found time to have a Scottish breakfast at the bus station café.

This review is a bit harsh, but it shows the breakfast and the café. My sausages and black pudding were excellent. The café was lively and friendly and after a night on the bus, just what I needed.

The bus journey to Kincraig goes through some wonderful countryside and little towns. You get a flavour here.

If you are in a car, with time and money on your hands, this enterprising local retail outlet looked well worth a visit.

I was only spending one night in Aviemore, but I found a comfortable and reasonably priced place to stay.

Buses between Aviemore and HWP are frequent and reliable, except on Sunday when a local taxi can be hired instead.

Aviemore has a large TESCO supermarket as well as a number of cafes serving breakfast.

My return journey to Oxford as aided by the fact that the bus stops at Heathrow Airport, so I could catch a fast bus to Oxford, without going into London. I was back in Oxford by 8 oclock in time to catch the usual market!


HWP uses the star power of its bear to the full. After my Perth breakfast, the sun was shining and I did not need any lunch.

To introduce the public to the cast of 4 splendid Polar Bears, HWP have posted the following notices:



Walker was the first new Polar Bear to arrive at the HWP. However, regular visitors to KWM will know the story of Mercedes, but this article is worth a read  and the sad news of her death after several years in her new home.

I suggested to the friendly staff at the Visitor Centre that some mention should be made of Mercedes and the story of how HWP rescued her. I hope they will add some material about her.



After Mercedes had passed away, Walker was joined by Arktos.



Finally, in 2015 a new female bear arrived. And now the story begins to take on a romantic touch.


Arktos and Victoria were first introduced in 2016 and then again in 2017


The UK’s first Polar Bear cub for many years was born in December 2017, but did not emerge until March 2018. His story was told in a documentary on UK TV.


His name was never in much doubt from the choice the public were given.


I know that you are all eager to meet Hamish again, but as the noticeboard said, the first session was with his dad, Arktos, and Walker.


As you can imagine, it is not possible to fit all the attractions of HWP into a single visit, but my priority on Tuesday was pretty obvious, as you can see from the noticeboard above.

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  1. Dear Ralph,

    It is amazing the lengths that we polar bear fans will go to when we travel to see certain bears. But it is all worth it when we stand before them in all their glory.

    I might add that for those who stay in Kingussie, there is a nice coop food store in the center where I stocked up on things for my lunch and supper, and even a banana for Ralph’s lunch.

    The talks at HWP are excellent, and it gives you a chance to ask questions of the keepers too.


  2. Dear Ralph,

    What a good idea to begin your series of reports from HWP with detailed travelling instructions!

    From now on I’m going to tell myself ‘Eat dull days for breakfast’ whenever I feel down! 🙂

    The presentation of the bears in this park is excellent! I also like the blackboard showing the daily feedings and talks. It’s good to have this information in the same place so the visitors can plan what to do and when.

    Thank you for this ‘kick-off’! 🙂

    Hugs from Mervi

  3. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for the first part of your report about your trip to the Highland Wildlife Park.
    It´s informative and entertaining the same time – as we are used to from your articles.

    I wonder why I´m always getting hungry when reading your reports… 😉 I like the descriptions of the trip itself: the bus ride, the cafés you visited, the landscape you saw, even the supermarket where you went shopping and of course the food you enjoyed.

    The four bears are lucky to live in HWP. They are kept in an examplary manner and have plenty of space.
    The information boards should be examples for every zoo. Hopefully HWP will add some informations about Mercedes.
    The photo of little Hamish is cute.


  4. Dear Ralph,
    you had a long journey to the Highland Wildlife Park. I know all bears, who live in the park. I think they all live in the good conditions.

  5. As we know by now, you do not only show and report about polar bears but there are also a lot of side remarks on your country, the landscapes, the habits of people, your own experiences with the animals, the people, your journeys (former and actual ones), and your own experiences in life, private as much as (diplomatic) business ones. All this makes any of your reports very interesting. THANK YOU!

    If you took advantage of all the attraction noted on the noticeboard you was indeed more than busy on this day of your visit of the Highland Wildlife Park (HWP) in Kingussie/SCOTLAND!

    It’s good to know that you most probably will never starve, despite of your lots of journeys, visits to zoos and special shopsn, meetings with friends, and commenting here and there in the net – not to speak about your saving actions of pics and videos 😉

  6. Lieber Ralph

    Danke für den 1.Teil deines Berichts.
    Die Tafeln sind sehr informativ.
    Hamish looks so cute ! 🙂

    Herzliche Grüße
    Chris 🙂

  7. Lieber Ralph,

    deine Reiseberichte sind immer lesenswert und interessant.
    Die vielen Eindrücke von unterwegs und an Haltestationen –
    auch über die leiblichen Genüsse, sind sehrunterhaltsam.

    Die Tafeln im Wildpark sind schön gestaltet und natürlich
    ist Hamish zurzeit die Hauptattraktion.

    Vielen Dank und liebe Grüße!

  8. Lieber Ralph,
    wenn ich lese wie kompliziert die Reise war, dann ist klar ich würde nie ankommen.
    Hungrig auf Reisen zu gehen ist für mich furchtbar und ich liebe es zu sehen wie gut du gegessen hast.
    Ein englisches Frühstück schmeckt mir auch, nur die Bohnen würde ich nicht essen.
    Die Geburt von Hamish war eine Sensation in GB und ich freue mich sehr für den HWP.
    Danke dir für deinen wieder sehr informativen und humorigen Bericht und freue mich auf dei Fortsetzung.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K