REVIEW: Thanks for our scoop, Honshu!
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How did the Strathy scoop the world on the mega monkey story?
We have to confess that, like all the best exclusives, it simply fell in our lap – quite literally.
Honshu, initially dubbed Kincraig Kong until he was officially named by the Highland Wildlife Park team, just walked across the Strathy reporter Tom Ramage’s lawn on the Sunday morning!
That prompted an immediate check on Facebook to see if other villagers had done their own double-takes and, much to the relief of the ‘News Beast of Badenoch’, they had – with bells on.
Video images and stills had been posted locally, so within minutes the story was broken on the Strathy’s website.
And the rest was history: Inverness Courier, Press & Journal, BBC, STV and by the end of the day the monkey’s tale had stretched to the Bangkok Post, Sky TV Australia and ultimately the New York Times.
Five days later the search – effected in some of the worst weather conditions so far in this wicked winter – had traced Honshu and netted him safely, courtesy of a tranquiliser dart, in Insh.
Looking back on the amazing week, it was of course all nuts.
That’s how Honshu seemed to sum it up: “For five days I was a free as a bird, so I just wanted to eat like one...”
That’s why he was battling with Carl Nagle and Tiina Salzberg’s birdfeeder, albeit none too successfully, soon after breaking out of his enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park.
The Kincraig couple captured the first moving pictures and shared them with us before the story went global, never mind viral.
We like the way the couple saw the story because there’s no doubt that it caught the spirit of the whole five-day saga.
“It is kinda lovely,” said Tiina.
“I mean, the world’s gone to hell in a hand-basket in lots of ways and I think this is a human interest story, not very divisive, where everyone’s kinda rallying for the monkey.”
“Yes, it’s a feel-good story that we can all look at and agree is amusing in relatively dull times,” agreed Carl.
The feedback from our web stories certainly bore that out.
In a week of vile weather, thawing hills, bursting rivers, flooded fields, closed roads, cancelled main line trains, a suspended mountain railway, slaughtered chickens and heaven knows what else, Honshu did us all a power of good diverting us for a few days.
And how did he ever get across the Spey? Did he take his life in his hands crossing the Kincraig bridge, along with all the other pedestrians?
If anyone knows, will they please tell us!