Monday, 14 September 2009

Morag , the Lake Morar creature.

Loch Morar is a fresh water loch in Morar, Lochaber, Scottish Highlands .It is of glacial origin and contains five sizeable islands and is said to be eleven miles long and a mile and a half wide and 1000 feet deep at it’s deepest point. Like Loch Ness, reports of large unidentified creatures in the loch have been made, some said to date back to the 1880’s.The monster has been named Morag by locals. Sightings of the creature were thought to be the warning of a death of one of the local clansmen..

In 1931 Sir John Hope, , had a curious experience which suggested the existence of a large creature living in the loch. He, his brother, and a friend plus a local guide went out on a boat to fish in Loch Morar. Hope felt something take hold of his line and drag it directly downwards at a rapid rate of speed. After a few seconds the whole line, including the bait, was gone and the end of the rode broken off.

In 1948 "a peculiar serpent-like creature about 20 ft long" was reported by nine people in a boat.

A sighting was reported in 1968 by John MacVarish, barman at the Morar Hotel:

“I saw this thing coming. I thought it was a man standing in a boat but as it got nearer I saw it was something coming out of the water. I tried to get up close to it with the outboard out of the water and what I saw was a long neck five or six feet out of the water with a small head on it, dark in colour, coming quite slowly down the loch. When I got to about 300 yards of it, it turned off into the deep and just settled down slowly into the loch out of sight. The neck was about one and a half feet in diameter and tapered up to between ten inches and a foot. I never saw any features, no eyes or anything like that. It was a snake like head, very small compared to the size of the neck-flattish, a flat type of head. It seemed to have very smooth skin but at 300 yards it’s difficult to tell. It was very dark, nearly black. It was 10am, dead calm, no wind, brilliant sunshine. I saw it for about ten minuets travelling very slowly: it didn’t alter its angle to the water. It looked as if it was paddling itself along. There was very little movement from the water, just a small streak from the neck. I couldn’t really see what was propelling it but I think it was something at the sides rather than behind it.”

One of the most well reported Morag encounters occurred on August 16, 1969. The story appeared in many newspapers. Two local men, Duncan McDonnell and William Simpson, were on their way back from a fishing trip at the north end of the loch. It was about 9 pm, the sun had already gone down but there was still plenty of light,(it does stay light longer in the north of Scotland) when they heard a splash behind them. McDonnell, turned the boat around to investigate. To his surprise it turned out to be a large creature coming directly at them at an estimated speed of about 30 mph. Within seconds the creature struck the side of the boat and stopped. McDonnell got the impression that the collision had been an accident, but feared the creature could capsize the boat. He grabbed an oar and tried to push the creature way, while Simpson rushed into the cabin to turn off the gas and grabbed his rifle. He fired a single shot at the beast; it seemed unaffected by the blast and slowly moved away and submerged out of site. When interviewed the two men stated that the creature had been roughly 25 to 30 feet long, with rough, dirty brown skin. Three humps, about 18 inches high, stood out of the water, and at on point McDonnell spotted the animal’s snake like head just above the surface, he described it as about one foot wide, the encounter lasted roughly 5 minutes.

After this dramatic sighting The Loch Ness Investigation Bureau expanded its search to include Loch Morar in 1970. Only July 14, 1970, one member, marine biologist Neil bass, spotted a "hump shaped black object" in the water at the north end of the lake. He called to his associates, but the hump had vanished by the time they started to look for it. "Following this, within half a minute," Bass reported, "a disturbance was witnessed by all of us… followed by radiating water rings which travelled motion was inconsistent with an eel's; in any case it would have to be a "very, very big eel! My personal opinion is that it was a animate object, of a species with which I am not familiar in this kind of habitat." The survey by the LNIB, produced a number of eyewitness testimonies and a book, The Search for Morag (1974), written by two members of the expedition.. While researching the book one of the authors learned of a persistent tradition of hideous hairy eel like creatures that were pulled up by fisherman long ago and thrown back into the loch because they were so repulsive.

Then on April 3, 1971, Ewen Gillies, a resident of Loch Morar, whose house over looked the water, saw the creature.. Alerted by his 12 year old son John, Gillies stepped outside and looked out on the water. He said it was a clear, sunny morning and as he looked out he saw a huge animal in the water not quite half a mile away. Gilles described the creature as having a head barely distinguishable from its three to four foot long neck, two or three humps ran along its back and moved slowly in the water. The skin was black and its entire length was estimated to be about 30 feet.

.In 1977 Miss M Lindsay took two photographs that show an object in the loch which was claimed to be Morag. The object appears to have moved several yards from one picture to the other. The first picture shows a round back, while the second picture seems to show two humps. The photos were reproduced in Fortean Times no. 22, summer 1977.

There apparently have been sightings reported up until 1981. So is Morag a large fish, eel or even still alive? Maybe it is time for a new expedition up there to see.


Anonymous said...

Always find the story of Loch Morar and its monster interesting. Many years ago used to camp there. Got to know the locals very well, was not long before the monster stories started.Back in the 90s one year turned out to be one I will never forget. A farmer found part of a skeleton washed up near caravan bay. Well what can I say it was huge and looked like part of a large human spine but actually was a neck part of something. Amazingly was told what it was and when to see it time/date/month. The funny part of the story is the farmer casually could not understand what all the fuss was about. My god it was a supposed extinct dinosaur!

Peter James Theiss said...


Thank you for posting. I was wondering if you knew where I could obtain a copy of the Fortean Times no. 22, summer 1977?

Thank you again,

Peter James Theiss

Tabitca said...

Thanks Peter. I suggest you contact Fortean times ,they are online,and keep back copies. If not ebay or ask CFZ if they will post your request for a copy on their blog. I am sure they would. Some one may have a copy they can scan in and email to you.

Peter James Theiss said...

Thank you!

Derek McManus said...

Very interesting nice to hear about other Scottish lake monsters.