Report from Ronnie Patterson
(Personal names etc. changed.)>BR>
Date Unknown, 1997
I received a phone call at 04-.10 am, by the time I got out of my bed our answer machine had switched on, but nobody spoke. I thought it might have been my son Kevin trying to reverse a call from London after a night on the town. I had cigarette then went back to bed, my wife Elaine woke me at 07-30am and said Henry was on the phone. I took the call and then realised that my early morning call had not been my son after all, it had in fact been Mr Hall of Coats Farm, he had tried to get in touch with me but as I hadn't picked up the phone he then phoned Henry. Henry told me that there had been a definite sighting out at the farm and asked if I would be able to go out there with him. As it was my day off I told him I could be ready in an hour, he told me he had a few things to do first but would pick me up at 1.00 am at the usual place . We arrived at the Hall's and Mrs Hall treated us to tea and freshly made scones, as we sat with Mr & Mrs Hall and their sons George & Pete, we were then told the chain of events as follows:
The Hall's neighbour a Mr S. who is a taxi driver arrived home at approx. 03-30am, as he was parking outside his house he saw in his headlights a very big black cat, it was moving away from him but he was able to watch it as it moved down the road staying close to a wall for about 100 yds. It then turned right, towards a small wooded area and out of view. As Mr S. approached his house he noticed that there was about 15-20 cattle in a small cul-de-sac by the side of his house, and they were in a bit of a state. He went indoors and phoned the police, as he wasn't sure of what else to do. The police arrived and as the cattle had came from the Hall's land they woke the Hall's to tell them that their cattle were out of their field. George and Pete and the rest of the family went outside and began to round up the cattle along with the police, as far as I can make out they managed to get them in to a field at the back of their house. George said that he had never seen the cattle in such a state before, as they were just like race horses after a race, soaking with sweat.
While George was making sure the cattle were secure, Pete went to make sure that the rest of their stock were all right . There was a police-man with him, but was seemingly some distance behind.
Pete caught sight of the cat that the taxi driver had seen earlier in an open field. Startled and frightened he ran back to get the police-man, by the time they both got to the spot where Pete had seen the cat, it was gone. Pete had told me that when he told the policeman that the cat was in the field he hadn't been all that keen to get there in a hurry. (I can understand why.) After a quick look around they both went back down to the house, the police then left .
After hearing what had occurred in the early morning hours we wanted to get out and search the area for some tell-tale signs of their night visitor. Berwick went one way with Pete and his friend J, and I had a look about the area with George. We tried to follow the path that the cat had seemingly taken, there were prints all over the place from the cattle, and there were also some prints of some-thing else . Unfortunately these were not detailed, or conclusive enough to merit making a plaster cast of, there was however plenty of evidence to assume that the cattle had been running amok, examples such as, fences down, long grass areas trampled flat, huge amounts of cow dung in all the fields and wooded area. Left me in no doubt that the cattle had been scared in to some sort of stampede, and had been chased through at least 3 fields and a small wooded area taking down the fences as they went, before arriving at the road through Coats Farm and eventually ending up in the cul-de-sac beside Mr.S's house. After searching the area for a while, and all the cow-pats for prints, George and myself met back up with Henry, Pete and 'J'. A girl arrived I am not sure who she was, then a young man on crutches who knew Pete turned up. By this time we were getting ready to go back down to the Hall's farm, on the way down everybody still kept looking for the one sign that might just prove what had visited the cattle in the early hours.
Back at the Hall's we were once more treated to tea and scones, and very nice they were. Mr & Mrs Hall, George, Henry and myself spoke about what had happened earlier that morning and tried to make sense of it all. George did say that before the police woke them up, he had heard what he thought was thunder, and had been a bit surprised as it wasn't forecast. After a while we asked if it would be possible to speak to Mr S. the taxi driver. George said he should be up by now and took us next door. As we sat in his sitting room with his wife and family, Mr S. told us that he had heard stories over the past 10 - 15 yrs about big cats and the like, and he did not believe them one little bit, in fact as far as he was concerned it was all nonsense coupled with peoples imagination. But now after what he had seen in the early morning, it had certainly put a different perspective on the stories he once dismissed as sheer folly. What he saw as he had parked after his shift was the biggest black cat he had ever seen, it was roughly the same size as his German shepherd (which was young but fully grown) it was sleek in appearance, carried its head low, and it definitely moved like a big cat. And he had been able to watch it until it cut up towards the wood, he then noticed the cattle in the cul-de-sac and decided to phone the police when he got in his house.
I feel that Mr S. felt very uneasy while he told us what had happened. It may have been because we were complete strangers and he was worried that we would leave with ridicule on our mind. But my own thoughts are that Mr S. was still trying to come to terms with what he saw, because until earlier that morning he had never had to give the subject of big cats roaming the countryside a thought never mind a second one. But now like everyone else who has witnessed a big cat sighting, he knows that they are definitely out there. And I am very grateful that he shared his experience with us. Even though we were complete strangers.
As we left Mr. S. we had a quick look at the cul-de-sac and noticed that the cattle had left their mark, as anywhere their hoofs had missed their bottoms had hit. (I cant get over how much cow dung had been passed by the cattle.) Anyway we went back to the Hall's and thanked them for getting in touch so quickly, and also for their hospitality. I asked Henry if he would mind going to a quarry at Torphin, as I had been wanting to have a look around there since the last time we had been at the Hall's. When we got there we had a look at a couple of fields which were next to the Hall's land (They might have even been part of their land.) but found nothing. Henry was needing to get home, but I really needed to have a look around the quarry, so I asked him if he would mind giving my wife a call to tell her I would be another couple of hours yet. He said he would do that, so we said cheerio until the next sighting and off he went leaving me to explore the quarry. The quarry had been closed down since the last time I had been there, but after looking around for about an hour and a half I felt that it would be an ideal place for something that wanted to keep itself to itself. As there was loads of cover, a lot of small cave like areas, plenty of un-accessible areas and some very high vantage points, there was also a very good water supply. Another thing it was approx. half a mile from where the cattle had been spooked. I feel it may be worth a closer look, and perhaps a night watch.
My own personal thoughts are that the quarry if not a home base, could well be part of the trail used by the animal that continues to avoid detection.
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