Creatures of Scottish Folklore
Ceirean –cròin was a large sea creature in Scottish Gaelic folklore. It was so large it could eat seven whales.However it could also disguise itself as a silver fish to catch out unsuspecting fishermen. It would then return to its colossal size and devour them.If it existed it must have been as large as the Jurassic creatures that roamed the seas millions of years ago.It was considered truly terrifying in aspect and still talked about.
Forbes wrote that the creature was either a large sea serpent ,(Forbes, Alexander. Gaelic names of Beasts, Birds, Fishes, Insects, Reptiles, etc. 1905),or one of the gigantic dinosaurs that roamed the land and ate fish from the seas.He named the Atlantosaurus which was 100 feet long and 30 feet high.
(N.B. Atlantosaurus (meaning "Atlas lizard") is a dubious genus of sauropod dinosaur. It contains a single species, Atlantosaurus montanus, from the upper Morrison Formation of Colorado, United States. Atlantosaurus was the first sauropod to be described during the infamous 19th century Bone Wars,between Marsh and Cope and others during which scientific methodology suffered in favour of pursuit of academic acclaim.)
Most folklore has some basis and it could be that once some terrifying creature did roam the seas,or the fossils or bones of one were discovered.Needless to say there are no modern day sightings.
A highland Freshwater mermaid Fideal inhabited Loch Na Fideil near Gairloch Scotland . The creature was said to drag women and children under the water and devour them. . Katherine Briggs in her ‘A Dictionary Of Fairies’ (1976) mentions the Fideal and refers to ‘Scottish Folk-lore and Folk Life’ (1935) by Donald Alexander Mackenzie, who suggested that she was a personification of the entangling bog grasses and water weeds in Loch na Fideil. Some versions of the story say Fideal was killed by a man called Ewen, who lost his life during the fight.
Loch Na Fideil drains into the much larger Loch Maree which is positioned beside it and where sacrifices to water dragons took place until the 18th Century.
Loch Maree is about 13 miles long and up to 3 miles wide in parts and 125 feet deep. It is in a very remote location at Wester Ross in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland and so is a largely unspoilt area with little industry or commerce. The loch is known for trout fishing. The waters of the lake are supposed to have curative powers and it was believed that being submerged in the lake can cure mental illness. It was designated a Wetlands Conservation Area in 1994. There are about 30 islands on the Loch, many of historical significance.
The loch is said to have a monster known as muc-sheilch .A Mr Banks of Letterewe tried at great expense to drain the Loch, in the 1850s, but failed. He also tried to poison it with quicklime .(Though it is not recorded why he did this.)
Over the years, there have been unsubstantiated reports of something large in the water being seen by local fishermen, but no photographs or film seem to have come to light.Most think it is nothing more than a large eel.
Could the mermaid and the monster have been a large eel that passed overland between the lochs? It is always a possibility.