Thanks to Brenda Butt for this report.
The 'Black Cat of Kingston' is - probably - no more than a shaggy dog story.
For although a reader believes there is evidence pointing to the existence of a mysterious big cat at The Lein - a popular Site of Special Scientific Interest and much loved local amenity for folk living near the mouth of the Spey - there may be a purrfectly simple explanation.
His fears were e-mailed to 'The Northern Scot' this week: he claimed that a black cat was living and prowling over The Lein, leaving footprints and trails, and possibly even breeding - suggesting that there are more than one.
But local resident Mr David Mackay, Willow Cottage, Garmouth, has let the cat out of the bag by providing a much more plausible story.
'I think I would be one of the first to hear if there was a big cat living at The Lein, and I've heard and seen nothing,' he said. 'I think someone has seen the tracks left by my own dog, Macleod, a very big German Shepherd. It would be very easy to confuse his paw marks - and he has very big paws - with those of a large animal.
'We are up there most evenings, and he runs all over the place making tracks.'
Mr Mackay also exercises his four Westie terriers at The Lein, and is convinced that if anything strange had set up home there they would be after it.
A 'Black Cat of Kingston'? Not a cat in hell's chance.
Northern Scot January 12 th 2001
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