Report from Reuel Chisholm
For the analysis of this video, see the Photo Album
(The individual mentioned in the report below has been attempting to mislead newspapers and the public by passing himself off as a member of this charity. Withing a week he has described himself (correctly) as "Mark Fraser of the British Big Cats Society (Scotland)" and twice (falsely) as "Mark Fraser of Scottish Big Cats" and "Mark Fraser of the Scottish Big Cat Society". After five months as a member, Fraser left Scottish Big Cats in 2001.)
An Excited Highland family has managed to capture the movements of a big cat on video. The Patersons, of Upper Carse, Ardersier, recorded the panther-like beast through the window of their front room.
The footage shows a creature about the size of a labrador with a feline tail.
Mrs Tracy Paterson, 32, said: "We can look across fields by Carse Wood and we often see foxes and deer scurrying along. I was sitting having a cup of tea about 9.40am on Wednesday when I saw something move across the field.
"I picked up the binoculars to look at the animal and that's when I realised it was a very big black cat. It was sauntering across the field as nice as you like."
Mrs Paterson said she thought her husband, James, would never believe she had seen a big cat so she woke her 11-year-old daughter, Rebecca.
Mrs Paterson said: "We were both really excited and wanted to record the sighting on a camcorder but didn't know how to work it so we woke up my older daughter Michaela, who is 14.
"She got the camcorder set up and we filmed the cat moving nonchalantly across the field."
Mrs Paterson said the creature had moved towards fencing beside a road before disappearing in long grass. The animal was in view to Mrs Paterson or one of her daughters for more than five minutes.
The sighting, which Mrs Paterson reported to the police, was the second in the area in about a week, as a local man driving to work spotted a big black cat.
Mrs Paterson added: "I have never seen anything like this before. There is definitely a big cat out there."
Mark Fraser of the British Big Cat Society (Scotland), was excited to hear of the film.
He said: "I have been investigating big cat sightings for 15 years although I have never actually seen a big cat myself.
"However, I definitely believe there are large cats in the Inverness area and I would love to come up to Ardersier to see the video made by the Patersons."
The reports of sightings in the Carse Wood area are not the first.
A local woman claimed to have seen a large black cat leap over the bonnet of her car about a decade ago.
Last month a man in the North claimed to have taken the first photograph of a big cat prowling the Scottish hills.
Raymond Dougherty, 48, took the inconclusive snaps of the animal while hillwalking on the Invercauld Estate, near Braemar.
Mr Dougherty, a nursing home owner from Dunblane, said he was positive the creature was not a deer or a dog. There have already been a number of sightings of big cats in the North and North-east in recent times.
In March this year, Kingswells woman Aleen Shinnie saw a large dark tabby cat with dark stripes while walking her dog with her husband at Wellside Wynd near the Bucks Burn.
And in May, 2001, Buchan farmer Bill Duffus found the headless remains of a cat-like creature in a ditch near Peterhead.
Meanwhile, Kemnay businessman Steven Clark had never believed in the existence of big cats until he spotted a large creature near the Bennachie Centre.
Sightings of the so-called Beast of Bennachie started in 1995 when several big cats were spotted in the Oyne area. The British Big Cat Society says sightings of strange beasts in the countryside are on the increase.
Press and Journal, 25 th July 2003
|Return to index||Return to Scottish Big Cats||Return to The Highlands||Return to 2003|