|22nd of October 2009 (Thu)||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Worcester, UK
Highland Wildlife Park, Scotland
I thought I'd post a review of the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland in case anybody thought about going.
We decided to go to the HWP in Kingussie as it was the first time back to Scotland since getting seriously into photography and wildlife interests me a great deal. We had heard great reports about how good the site is, particularly for photographers.
We arrived at the entrance where we paid our £11.50 each to get in. First stop, visitor centre for a pit stop as we had all been sat in the car for 2 hours. A quick coffee and cake set us up for the day.
Outside of the coffee shop is the Snow Monkey enclosure, where a troop of monkies go about their day to day business. Some good shots can be had through the glass viewing area (polarising filter required).
We got back in the car for a drive around the "reserve". The first area we got to was the new enclosure for Mercedes, the polar bear, who arrived on Monday. She was still resting from her journey from Edinburgh zoo. We had to drive a fair way around the reserve to see anything, this being two young male Red Deer. It then took until virtually the end of the reserve to see anything else, Bison, up on top of a hill. We decided to drive round again (you can go round as many times as you like, good job), we get a better view of the two stags and now also the main herd of deer with its alpha male. We also saw a brief glimpse of a few Przewalski's Horse.
After this poor showing we thought we see if the walkabout part of the park was any better. The first enclosure we started at was the European Lynx, no show, next Wolves (what I was looking forward to seeing), no show, a better view of the horses just above a wire fence was next, wild boar followed and then the Bison, again through a fence, fortunately big enough for a lens to fit through.
The Arctic Foxes were both asleep but very cute and the Amur tigers we quite impressive, if from a distance. Their enclosure is being worked on at the moment so I imagine it will be quite good for next year.
On of the other highlights for me was going to be the Scottish Wildcats. There are only 400 left in the wild, so it was a good chance to see these stunning felines. From a photography point of view, absolute nightmare!!! There is in a caged enclosure in the middle of a pine wood. My 5D on extended High ISO couldn't get a decent shutter speed for the lens I had taken. If the cats we stationary for 1 second that was about it.
We decided to take one more drive around the reserve to see if anything else would show but still the same deer, horses and bison.
We joked several time about perhaps the animals had escaped or been eaten but generally we we disappointed. I had read on TripAdvisor that the site was pretty poor but had also read on several photography sites that it was excellent. I imagine it would be if they had more animals to shoot.
Fortunately we live just 30 minutes from the West Midlands Safari Park which blows the Highland Wildlife Park out of the water, for viewing and also for photographic opportunities (I'm brave enough to open the window in the Lion enclosure, are you?)
If you want to see some rare animals like the wildcat or Pine Marten and don't mind paying £11.50 then pay the park a visit.
Please feel free to leave any comments on the park here or generally about other wildlife opportunities in the UK.
Canon 5D3, Canon 5DC, Canon 40D, Canon 350D, 17-40mm F4, 24-105mm F4, 50mm F1.8, 100mm F2.8, 300mm F4, 100-400mm f5.6, Sigma 10-20mm F5.6, 580EX II, 430 EX and a bagload of other stuff
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