Report from Mike Inglis and George Markie
I spoke to George Markie a couple of weeks ago following the Big Cat feature in the Sunday Post. I told him of a sighting I and my wife made approximately 13 years ago, as I recall July 1988. We were driving from Maidens, Ayrshire towards Ayr around 10 pm to 10.30 pm on a Sunday evening. We had a caravan at Maidens for a number of years and are consequently totally familiar with the area.
The road at the time was extremely quiet. Weather conditions were clear, albeit it was dusk. The sky was blue and cloudless but beginning to darken. Because we were driving through a canopy of trees for quite a distance, which made the conditions darker, I had my headlights on full beam travelling at approximately 50 mph. Approximately 1/2 mile to 1 mile north of the entrance to Culzean Castle, on a straight with an unrestricted view for about 1/4 of a mile, the trees clear to an open field on your right but with wooded area continuing to your left being Culzean Castle Country Park.
Suddenly, from the field on our right, approximately 200 yards in front of us, a large cat lept from the hedgerow and landed in the middle of the road. It paused for about 3 seconds, looked at the oncoming car then with one leap, disappeared from site over the hedgerow to the left into the wooded area. As it paused in the middle of the road, it was sillouheted against the clear sky and with the benefit of the headlights, we had an extremely clear albeit breif view of the animal.
It was as many people describe, about the size of a Labrador but sleaker and clearly feline in shape and pose with a long flowing tail curving down towards the ground and back up at the end of the tail. Overall, from head to tail it must have been around 4/5 ft in length and perhaps 2 ft high to it's head. It was jet black in colour and with the reflection of the headlights, it's eyes were like huge green emeralds looking towards us.
I looked at my wife and asked "did you just see what I just saw" and she immediately answered "yes, a big black cat". Our original response was to call in at Ayr Police office and report the sighting but decided against this as we thought we would be asked if we were sure we did not see a "Pink Elephant" or be ridiculed in a similar manner as large black cat sightings were not apparently as common, at least not in this area, or were, and were not reported in the newspapers or other media.
I beleive what we saw was a Black Panther. Perhaps you could confirm if it was or another type of cat.
Interestingly, I spoke recently with a customer of mine who is a chef in the Mallon Court Hotel, Maidens. He told me of a lady kitchen assistant colleague of his who lives in a country cottage between Culzean and Kirkoswald. Only about three months past, (late March SBC) she went out to put rubbish in her dustbin late at night and was confronted by a large black cat in her back garden similar in description to the one we had seen. She seemingly had quite a good view of it owing to the light from her kitchen. The cat was startled and immediately lept over the fence into the darkness of the adjoining field. Apparently, she was so convinced about what she saw she contacted the zoological society or similar organisation and they went to her property to take casts of the paw prints from the soil in her garden. However she seemingly refuses to discuss her experience with anyone openly.
Could this be the same cat we saw 13 years before?
I have also noticed that there have been quite a number of sightings reported to your web-site around the same area including Dunure in 1987 being only a few miles from Culzean by road, but a shorter distance cross country. I also noted reported sightings around Ayr and surrounding district which again geographically is only about 12 miles from Culzean, and Kilmarnock, Dundonald and various other areas within close proximity being only about 20 miles from Culzean. Is it possible this again is the same or a different cat?
I will continue to monitor your Web-site with interest. In the meantime, I look forward to receiving your reply in due course.
|Return to index||Return to Scottish Big Cats||Return to Ayrshire||Return to 2001|