Report from George Markie
I'm a Forestry Manager currently working in Perth. I read the article in the Scotsman yesterday with some interest. I used to work in Moffat and have my own sighting as well as second hand sightings to report.
My own sighting was July/August 2000 in Blackhope Glen (6 miles out of Moffat on the A708 to Selkirk). I was coming out of the glen and spotted the cat about 300m above me on the spur coming down off Saddle York. I had binoculars and at this distance could watch the cat very clearly. We sat and watched one another for a good five minutes until I thought the cat was getting a bit too interested. As I started walking off the cat turned and moved Northeast and I lost sight. The cat was pure black, very muscular and very very large.
The farmer at Capplegill Farm located at the bottom of Blackhope Glen (can't remember his name) grazes sheep in the next glen Carrifran. He'd had numerous sightings before I'd had my sighting, all of which where in Carrifran. These sightings happen over 1999/2000 and he's had 3 to 4 lambs killed over the period. I don't think there were any sightings prior to 1999. He nicknamed the cat "cool cat" because of the way it could move and disappear etc.
The last sighting I heard of was in the Eskdalemuir forest complex further southwest where a mountain biker saw a large cat on one of the forest roads. That was December 2000.
I've heard second hand that the owner of the Hartmanor Hotel Eskdalemuir sighted a large black cat at the back of the hotel. This was probably 1999.
I was also told by a local forestry contractor of a sighting he had had. He used to live opposite the cemetery on the A701 just outside Moffat. When he was young (10/15 years ago) he sighted a large black cat in woods just behind his house. This is particularly interesting because it is not a recent sighting. I made further inquiries with wildlife managers and deer stalkers but heard of no other sightings in the area.
I still manage forest properties in the Eskdalemuir area and make regular trips down. Should I hear of anything further I will let you know.
Scottish Big Cats, 3 rd February 2002
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