Report from George Markie
It seems police have records of sightings going back two years - but following the supposed wounding of the animal on two occasions they were mounting extensive armed searches on the moorlands and heaths near the village of Strathnaver, following the discovery of carcasses on 12 th Dec 1977.
Another man, Alistair McLean, a milk man from Skerray, said he saw the creature "a year ago" (1976) while fox hunting with a crofter friend, Hugh MacKay, some of whose sheep had been killed.
"It was about lunchtime and we were walking across the moorlands when this animal got about 40 yards in front of us and ran off. I only got a glimpse, but it was broad in the back, strongly built and very fast. I thought it was a dull rusty colour. I was convinced it was big game."
Primary school pupil, Jaqueline Carney, told of an animal she saw outside her home at Skerray a month ago.
"I was out playing at about 1pm when I saw a large animal in the field below the house. It ran across the park and jumped over the wall. Its face was round and cat-like and it had a long tail. I was quite frightened. I ran in to tell my mother but by then the beast had vanished."
Curiously, the paper remarks on the "odd coincidence" that almost exactly a year ago that week (November 1976), schoolboys from Skerray saw a strange animal molesting sheep, 10 miles from Bettyhill, and one of the boys was James, son of Mr Mckenzie above.
Aberdeen Press and Journal, 15 th December 1977
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