Report from Ronnie Patterson
I was told about some strange incidents by a man who gave me a lift from Silverburn to Edinburgh. Unfortunately I didn't get his name, I now wish that I had. Anyway it was pouring with rain that day, which is probably why he decided to stop and give me a lift. Once in the car he asked me why I was out and about on such a miserable day. I told him that I enjoyed walking in the hills no matter what the weather. Then out of the blue he asked me if I had seen any sign of the Puma that was meant to be running around the countryside. I was a bit surprised by his question, but I felt that he might go on to tell me something that could be useful. So I pretended not to know what he was talking about. "Oh aye," he said, "a big black Puma was spotted running about near here just the other day, and it was spotted by a fair few folk at different times and places, on that very day. But its nothing new to me as there has been an awful lot of strange things spotted over the years especially down my way." He then went on to tell me of the following reports:
He had been in a party of beaters on a local shoot near West Linton, as they approached a wood they had been through many times before, the beaters dogs began to act a bit strange. No matter what the men tried, their dogs were having none of it, and simply refused to enter the wood. It was as if the dogs could sense real danger, and they knew that if they went in to the woods they would come across something they really didn't want to meet. The men tried once again to coax their dogs into the wood, but then decided that enough was enough and moved on to the next part of the shoot. And told who-ever was in charge that day, "When the dogs wont go in, neither do the men."
His wife and daughter had been driving home one night and as they neared West Linton, they came across a very large Puma-type cat in the middle of the road. For a few seconds it stood its ground and just stared at the car, and its passengers. Then in a flash it bounded over a five bar gate and vanished into the night . On arriving home his wife and daughter told him excitedly about the big cat they had seen that night.
A group of walkers were on the Nine Mile Burn to Balerno route through the Pentlands, when they saw in the distance a big cat . As it was a good bit away from them, they were able to watch it for some minutes, and were in no doubt that what they saw that day was a Puma. And seemingly reported their sighting as such.
By the time we arrived at Hillend on the outskirts of Edinburgh he had also told me about some sheep killings around the West Linton area. From his description I felt that the kills had probably been the work of a rogue dog. But that is only speculation on my part as I never saw the sheep. As I got out of the car I thanked him very much for the lift and said goodbye. I then waited for my bus home. As I waited I got my notebook out and began to write down everything he had told me. As I sit here at my type-writer today (some six months later) I am still trying to figure out why a man I had never met before and will probably never meet again, would tell me about big cat sightings in his local area, if there hadn't been a lot of truth and evidence to back his stories up. I know for a fact that the day he stopped to give me a lift that there was no way he could have known that I was in the area following up on a big cat sighting. As I had pretended not to know what he was talking about and I'm pretty sure that as I got out of his car the last thing that would have crossed his mind, would be me six months later putting down on paper what he had told me that day. Sometimes it pays to pretend to know nothing about something, and I'm glad I pretended that day.
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