By Alan Dow
Tourists' shock as Morag of Loch Morar – Scotland's second most famous monster – makes a comeback after 20 years
But now Scotland’s second most famous Loch monster – Morag of Loch Morar – has made a comeback.
Holidaymaker Doug Christie, a recently retired oil industry engineer not given to flights of fancy, said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw a solid 20ft black shape in the water.
He and wife Charlotte say they saw the beast three times during a stay at Kisimuil B&B by the loch. Doug, 66, from Brechin, Angus, said: “I could not believe my eyes.
“I am not the type to get excited unduly but this just couldn’t be explained.
“It was a large black shape on the loch that looked just like a bit of a submarine and around the same size.
Charlotte said: “I thought it was a whale. We saw it three times in the space of two days.
“The longest sighting was about 10 minutes before it submerged again.”
The couple were staying for a night at the B&B owned by Barra-born Michael MacNeil, 53, and his 50-year-old nurse wife Catherine, who was brought up on the lochside.
Michael said: “Doug shouted to me asking if there was a rock out in the middle of the loch.
“I laughed and shouted back that the loch was almost 1000ft deep and there were no rocks near the surface.
“But sure enough, there was a largish black object, maybe two, very close together, in the middle of the two-mile-wide loch.
“I have seen otters in the loch but this was no otter, much bigger and almost motionless.”
His 24 year-old daughter Kathleen, who has researched the phenomenon said: “There have been sightings of a monster in Loch Morar going back more than 100 years.”
The last person to see the monster, 58-year-old factory boss Alistair MacKellaig, of Mallaig, Inverness-shire, said: “I was fishing with a group in a boat and we all saw Morag and only about 50 yards away.
“It was the classic three humps moving through the water with the head underwater. We were left astounded and a wee bit fearful at what we had seen and how close we had been to it.
“I bumped into Michael the other day and firmly believe that what he, his daughter and guests saw was what we witnessed but they saw Morag at a far greater distance than we did.
“I am sure others have seen Morag in the past 23 years but feel too embarrassed to say so.”
The most dramatic sighting and only known actual physical contact with the monster was experienced by two local men in August 1969.
Willie Simpson, 66, and crofter Duncan McDonell, now 80, were returning from a fishing trip up Loch Morar when the creature struck Willie’s boat. He grabbed a rifle and shot at the beast, which sank out of sight.
He said: “There is no doubt in my mind that there is a large monster, maybe more than one, in Loch Morar.”