May 24, 2007

Morag: The Cryptid of Loch Morar

I haven’t been to Loch Morar in Scotland. It is always that left hand turn that I miss when I travel north from southern Scotland to the Highlands. I have been to Lochs Lomond, Linnhe, Lochy, Oich, Ness and Shiel, but Morar remains on my to-do list.

Elizabeth Montgomery wrote about the creature of Loch Morar in her 1973 book The Search for Morag and also detailed the work of the Loch Morar Project which seriously investigated the creature. One may remember that Adrian Shine went down into Morar on a number of occasions in a submersible called Machan, but no cryptid was ever seen by the investigators.

Morag, as the cryptid is called, was actually shot at in 1969 by two men named McDonnell and Simpson, but it appeared to have survived that confrontation as it has been seen since. Recent sightings are few and far between and that is not surprising as Morar is in the middle of nowhere. From Fort William you have to drive west past Glenfinnan and the monument to the rising of the Jacobites in support of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745. Just across from the monument is the elevated railway bridge that you see in all the Harry Potter movies and to the south is Loch Shiel which is the home Shielag, yet another Scottish Lake cryptid which has been seen even recently.

You then continue driving west and soon you see to the right and the north, the waters of Loch Morar. It is over a thousand feet deep, making it the deepest lake in the British Isles. To the west of the loch is the small community of Mallaig. Unlike, the communities around Loch Ness, Mallaig makes no effort whatsoever to cash in on Morag. People I know who have been to Morar have found the locals friendly enough, but they really don’t have much to say about Morag as appearances by the cryptid have been few in recent years.

It is hard for me to imagine that the cryptids of freshwater lakes are single creatures. Many of these lakes have quite good sighting accounts that range over decades. I find it inconceivable that there is a single animal with incredible longevity dwelling therein, so it makes sense to me that there might be a very small breeding population in each lake that is close to extinction.

I would consider Morar and Okanagan Lake as two lakes where the cryptid population has dwindled so as to be on the precipice of extinction. The west highlands of Scotland are absolutely magnificent insofar as scenery is concerned and Morar is no exception. There is a stunning bleakness to the landscape and visually – from what I have seen of it in photography – it is a crucible of all that is ancient and majestic about Scotland.

John Kirk About John Kirk
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.

Filed under Cryptid Universe, Cryptotourism, Cryptozoology, Eyewitness Accounts, Folklore, Lake Monsters, Loch Ness Monster, Sea Serpents