Everyone has heard about the Loch Ness Monster. But, what about the lesser-known water-based beasts of the U.K.? Let’s have a look at some of the stranger ones. I’ll begin with Bownessie of Lake Windermere, England. One man who has encountered the creature was a journalist named Steve Burnip, who saw the creature in 2006. He said of his close encounter of the monstrous type: “I saw a straight line of broken water with three humps. It was about twenty feet long and it went in a straight line up the lake. I nudged my wife and watched open-mouthed as it gradually faded from sight. The water was not choppy, so I know it wasn’t the wind, and I know what the wake from motor boats looks like and it wasn’t that either.” Then, in February 2007, Linden Adams was confronted by the sight of an unidentified animal that, it was estimated, was somewhere in the size of fifteen-feet in length.
It should be noted that there are no known animals in the lakes and rivers of the U.K. of such an extraordinary size. Such was Adams’ amazement regarding what he and his wife encountered, he created a website to ensure that just about each and every sighting could be logged and studied. Also in 2007, this time late at night, the crew of a six-ton yacht were rocked – as in quite literally – when something large slammed into the yacht. It was never identified. Two years later, in 2009, a Mr. Noblett was hit by a large wave on the lake. At the time, Noblett was swimming in Lake Windermere, something that may not have been a wise thing to do, given the fact there was an unidentified thing swimming around the lake. Possibly, Bownessie was attracted by the water having been disturbed by Noblett’s swimming and decided to see what was afoot. Thankfully, he did not incur Bownessie’s wrath. And didn’t become a meal for the monster either.
Our world has no shortage of modern day monsters. The world of the past had no shortage, either, as the strange saga of what became known as the Linton Worm makes very clear. A tale that dates back to the 1100s, it tells of a horrific, man-eating, giant, worm-like beast that terrified the good folk of Linton, Roxburghshire, which is located on the Southern Uplands of Scotland. Interestingly, and as will soon become apparent, the monster has parallels with a number of Scottish lake monsters, and particularly so Nessie of Loch Ness and Morag of Loch Morar. According to the old tales, the Linton Worm was somewhere between ten and twelve feet in length, which, if true, effectively rules out any known British animal – wild or domestic – as being the culprit. Rather oddly, so the old legend went, the huge worm had two homes. In part, it lived in the heart of Linton Loch – a small, boggy area and the ideal place for a monster to hide. Its other, dark abode was Linton Hill, which even today is referred to as Worm’s Den, such is the enduring nature of the legend.
At just over eleven and a half miles in length, Loch Morar has the distinction of being the deepest body of freshwater in the British Isles, with a depth of just over 1,000 feet. Unlike Loch Ness, the water of which is almost black, Loch Morar can boast of having practically clear water. It takes its name from the village of Morar, which is situated close by and specifically at the western side of the loch, and which was the site of the Battle of Morar – a violent, death-filled confrontation between the Mackenzie and MacDonell clans. A significant number of sightings of unidentified animals have been made at Loch Morar. They have become known as the Morags.
One of the earliest reports came from a man named James McDonald, who claimed a sighting of a three-humped creature snaking through the waters, late one, cold, dark night, in January 1887. Rather ominously, superstitious locals perceived this as a distinctly ill-omen: the three sections were seen as death, a coffin, and a grave – such was the fear that the villagers had of the monster in their midst. Eight years later, Sir Theodore Brinckman and his wife were fishing at the loch when a long thing, shaped like an upturned boat, surfaced from the depths. “It’ll just be the monster,” said one of the locals, a man named MacLaren.