Article by Glyn Wade

Despite the best efforts of our driver and his company we made it to Yorkshire Wildlife Park only 20 minutes later than we’d planned. Everyone was on the car park on time ready for an 8am departure and our coach….wasn’t….

Claire’s excellent organisational skills hadn’t been able to predict a lack of competence in the company sending the driver to the wrong place. She called them just after 8 and they assured her that the driver was on his way but didn’t explain to where…. They called back a few minutes later to ask where we were.

Photo by Dave Chadwick

Photo by Dave Chadwick

Not inspired we finally got our bus to us and we were off. Not in the right direction of course but the driver assured us that the satnav was borrowed, was often wrong and he ignored it a lot of the time anyway so we were very reassured by that. He then asked us for directions out of Stoke. Oh dear.

But we made it to the park somehow and off we scattered in search of POTM winners. There was a fair bit of walking to do and we would go hours without seeing other club members. In fact I didn’t see John Seeney all day although I did hear he saw me and dodged the other way a few times. Can’t blame him.

I didn’t manage to dodge the sun though and was lobster red by the end of the day. I mean who expects to go to Yorkshire and it to be baking hot?? No hat, no sunscreen and a balding pate made for a painful few days afterwards.

The animals were in an active mood though and the polar bears, lions and tigers all actually moved and were in lens range so we couldn’t complain. The baboons were quite frisky to say the least, the GIANT otters swam about a bit, the painted dogs had a wander and even a leopard showed up for a while.

Pauline managed to get some shots of a litter bin and broke a park record by only seeing three animals despite being there all day….and one of those was a magpie. She also managed to visit every food and drink outlet and had more goes on the slide than any of the kids. So yes she had a great day too and could only have been happier if there’d been a face painter to decorate her as a tiger.

I’d encourage you all to visit the park. The big animals are stunning, the encounter areas are great and they have some wonderful wheelbarrows (ahh, I guess you needed to be there to understand that….). They are expanding so there’s a lot more to come in the future too.

The only thing to avoid if you can are the parents, the BAD parents that is. Huge ankole cattle are NOT moo-cows, even cows aren’t moo-cows never mind massive, magnificent beasts like those on show. A lemur is NOT a monkey, it’s a lemur funnily enough! Wallabys do not have pockets, they have pouches. I’m okay with the stripey roar-roars but where does a spotty roar-roar differentiate from a spotty roar-roar? You wonder how these people manage to reproduce and then think maybe they shouldn’t. (see also choo-choo train, baa-baa lamb and quack-quack and hang your head in despair)

Elric wouldn’t have liked the fact that there was no mini train to go on and Phil seemed to be annoyed at the lack of a steam engine or two too. But everyone had a great day and I’d certainly go back. But maybe not with the same coach company. Our driver got close to Stoke and then decided to ignore his satnav some more meaning we did a loop round the city instead of cutting across it and then had the audacity to ask us which way to turn off Dividy Road. And this was without Ken navigating!