Hercules the Bear remains to be relocated

THE remains of a world-famous grizzly bear have been removed from the garden of the Scottish home where he spent most of his life.

Wednesday, 8th April 2015, 3:10 pm
Hercules pictured in Stirlingshire in 1986. Picture: TSPL

Hercules the Bear became a global superstar after he went on the run while filming a television advert in the Outer Hebrides in 1980.

His owners are moving out of the Clackmannanshire home where Hercules lived and where he was buried in 2000 after he died, aged 25.

Rather than leave Hercules behind, ex-wrestler Andy Robin, 76, and his wife Maggie, 63, decided to have his remains disinterred from their garden in Dollar.

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Hercules the bear during his six month quanantine at Edinburgh Zoo in 1983. Picture: TSPL

Hercules will shortly be reburied beneath the lifesize statue to him in North Uist, which is visited by thousands of fans annually.

Hercules was rescued as a cub in 1976 from a wildlife park which had nowhere to keep him and planned to put him down.

Andy bought him for £50 and trained him to be part of his wrestling act.

Hercules, who grew to 70 stone and 9ft, featured in several adverts, including a role in a Kleenex “Big Softy” advert which was filmed in Benbecula in the Western Isles in August 1980.

The bear went on the run for 24 days. He was eventually spotted swimming by local crofters and shot with a tranquilliser dart from a helicopter.

Hercules went on to star alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond film Octopussy, featured on the cover of Time magazine, meet Margaret Thatcher and even caddied for Bob Hope at Gleneagles.

Maggie and Andy built the property - Big Bear Ranch - with Hercules in mind.

Their home, on the market for offers over £750,000, comes with 29 acres of land, a swimming pool and wet room, stables and a timber cabin.

The couple are “downsizing” to a new home nearby.

Maggie confirmed: “Hercules has been unearthed - we’ve had a lovely casket make for him.

“He’s going to be re-interred in Uist in a couple of weeks.

“To have the permission to re-inter Hercules in Uist is a great compliment and will keep him living on for centuries.”

She said there will be a “small ceremony” and his bones will be buried “close to the statue” in Langass Woods.

She added: “Moving in general for anyone is quite an emotional time. It’s an especially emotional time for us because of all the memories of Hercules there.

“It was time for us to move on.”

Asked if the logistics have been difficult she said: “It has been. He was still a big, heavy bear. It was quite a challenge.”

She added: “All the neighbours and farmers helped.”