Report from Ronnie Patterson
Date of sighting: 25.9.97
Location: Kilrenny Common near Anstruther, Fife.
Description: 2 and a half feet to 3 feet high, long black sleek body in good condition, long trailing tail, big cat like-head.
Sighting reported by Mr. Jack Marr and two colleagues, (Fife Council.)
My wife Elaine told me of a big cat sighting in Fife that had been reported on Radio Forth's news, 26 th September 1997. We both waited for the next news bulletin, but when it came on there was nothing.
So I phoned Radio Forth's news desk and was lucky enough to get a detailed report about the sighting. After a few phone calls I managed to leave a message for Mr Jack Marr to give me a call regarding his sighting. He actually phoned me a few hours later and gave his personal account of what happened, He told me that he was strimming hedges with 2 colleagues at Kilrenny Common, when all of a sudden about 50 yds ahead of them beside a humped back bridge, they saw what they first thought was a black Labrador. They then realised that the animal wasn't a dog, it was a big black cat like a black panther (newspaper description.) It then disappeared from view, by the time Mr. Marr and his colleagues got to the spot where it had been the animal had vanished into thin air. They looked and listened but couldn't see or hear any trace of the animal, they then headed back to their van and were told by their driver that he too had seen the animal. They then decided to report what they had all seen to the police, and they did in Anstruther. As far as I know the police had a look about the area but didn't find any evidence to confirm or deny the reported sighting. After speaking to Mr Marr on the phone for a while, I was in no doubt that he had seen something very unusual and had been startled by what he had witnessed. Mr Marr told me among other things that he has been a very keen naturalist for most of his life, and never before had he came across what he saw that day. He also told me that if he had been on his own that day he would have said nothing about his sighting, for fear of being ridiculed. I thanked him for getting in touch and telling me what he had seen, and I told him I would get over to Kilrenny A.S.A.P. to look around the area and take a few photos. But because of my work it would probably not be until Monday
Arrived in Anstruther just after llam, it was a nice day even though it was pretty windy. I headed out of town towards Kilrenny and stopped off along the way at a very nice little bakers. After buying a couple of pies and 2 fudge doughnuts, I asked the woman in the shop the way to Kilrenny Common. She told me to be careful up there as there had been a black panther spotted just the other day. I explained to her that I knew about the sighting and that was the reason I was going there, she told me that a lot of people were talking about it, and some believed, and some didn't. I arrived at Kilrenny Common within 15 minutes of leaving the bakers. I wasted no time and went in search of the humped back bridge Mr Marr had told me about, I found it easily as it was only 5 minutes from the entrance to the common. On both sides towards the bridge there were wooded areas, the left side being a bit more overgrown than the right. I paced out 50yds from the bridge and took a photo, I knew I was standing at roughly the same place as Mr Marr had been at on Thursday.
On both sides of the bridge there was a drop of about 15-20 feet, and it was pretty well overgrown down there, As I stood there looking over I heard something scurrying through the undergrowth, it was a rabbit, and I heard it easily. I can only guess how loud the noise would have been had it been a black panther, even though they are renowned for their stealth. 1 spent the next 5 hours searching the woods and the common for any tell tale signs, I found nothing, but that doesn't mean they weren't there it just means I wasn't fortunate enough to find them. As I was getting, ready to leave, I bumped into a man who lives by the entrance to the common, I didn't get his name, he is a keen bird watcher and he is on the common everyday. He also knew Mr Marr and had heard about the big cat sighting, he assured me that Mr Marr was not the type of man to say what he had seen if he hadn't been sure.
He then told me that he had noticed that the common had been a good bit quieter, (As in people walking their dogs.) since the reported sighting. (But that's only to be expected, I thought, at least for a wee while.) We talked for a while then left the common, he went home, and I headed back to Anstruther for the bus.
By chance I came across the local police station and thought I may as well ask them if they could shed any light on the sighting. At first a woman came to the door, and I am pretty sure she wasn't going to let me in. I then heard a man say, "Send him through," I then spoke to a sergeant and told him why I was there. He was very helpful and told me about the reported sighting, and that a small search of the common had came up with no evidence to confirm or deny the alleged sighting. (His words not mine.) As I was about to leave he told me that the day after the alleged Sightings, a man reported to the police that there was a large black Labrador running about the woods on Kilrenny Common without its owner, and that it was there most days, I then went home.
25 th September 1997
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