Carn Chreag. 5 km north of Balquhidder (Stirlingshire)
Climbing in the mountains north of Balquhidder. Gentle breeze. Visibility good. Hard frost.
Became aware of six red deer hinds at running over ground to my right. Was sure I had not disturbed them. Looked around and saw large dark coloured cat on skyline above me, 150 yards to my left.
Raised my binoculars to focus on the cat just as it turned to its left and slowly dropped behind skyline. Back legs seemed to stand still as the front half of the body turned - very supple and cat like.
Raced up the hill to investigate. Found rock where it had been standing. Sadly no sign of the cat. The ground was covered in a heavy harr frost and the pad marks were clearly visable but not clearly defined.
Folowed track over the frost heading north for about 500 yards where it moved onto frozen snow. Lost track on snow. Sat for a couple of hours from high vantage point and saw nothing more.
Distance between pad marks was exactly from my finger tips to my elbow - 18 inches. I have no doubt what so ever that what I saw was a panther type big cat. I was brought up in the mountains as a shepherds son and am well versed in the local wildlife. This was without doubt a big cat.
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