Everyone’s heard of Nessie, the monstrous lake creature rumoured to dwell in the depths of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. But did you know she isn’t the only mysterious aquatic beast said to make her home in the UK?
Here’s a look at a few other strange tales of lake monsters not so far from home.
Morag of Loch Morar
Located in Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands, Loch Morar is the deepest body of fresh water in the British Isles, potentially making it the perfect home for a legendary lake monster. And, indeed, there have been a number of reports of some sort of unexplained creature in the loch which date back as far as 1887, with many sightings involving multiple witnesses.
Loch Morar’s monster is known as Morag. In the older reports, descriptions of her vary wildly, ranging from a beautiful, reclusive mermaid-like figure who wept when a local inhabitant died, to “a black heap or ball slowing and deliberately rising in the water” whose presence foreshadowed deaths and drownings and was “much disliked and called by many uncomplimentary terms”.
Other notable sightings of Morag, who more recently has been described as similar to Nessie in appearance, include a sighting in 1948 to which nine people were witnesses, and an encounter in 1979 in which two men claim to have accidentally hit her with their boat. Most recently, she was spotted and even photographed in 2013, after no sightings for over two decades.
The Eachy of Bassenthwaite Lake
Bassenthwaite Lake is one of the largest bodies of water in the Lake District, stretching for around 4 miles, but is also only around 70ft deep at maximum, which doesn’t seem like the most likely environment for a secretive water monster to hide out in. Despite this, though, there are rumours of strange creatures living in the lake which go back centuries.
A specific type of mythological creature, known as an ‘Eachy’, is said to dwell in Bassenthwaite Lake, though one was also reported at Lake Windermere in 1873. Rather than the more common sea-serpent-like appearance of lake monsters, an eachy is a huge human-shaped creature with a snakelike head and slimy skin, though the most recent sighting in 1973, in which photographs were taken, appeared to be of a more Nessie-like beast.
Though it may never be proved whether or not such unusual creatures truly dwelled in Bassenthwaite’s waters, the lake is also home to the rarest freshwater fish in Britain, the vendace (Coregonus vandesius), which is only found as a native species here and in nearby Derwentwater.
Looking to take a camping or caravanning break near Bassenthwaite Lake? Enjoy a peaceful stay at The Larches Caravan Park.
Muc-sheilche, of Loch Maree
Loch Maree is the largest loch found north of Loch Ness, and the fourth biggest freshwater loch in Scotland. Along with some of its neighbouring lochs, it’s also said to serve as the habitat for a mysterious water creature known as Muc-sheilche, which has been described as resembling a large eel.
Muc-sheilche is perhaps most notable for the vendetta one man had against it. Named only as Mr Banks, from Letterewe on Loch Maree’s shore, he attempted to drain the nearby Loch-na-Bèiste and also poison it with quicklime in an attempt to kill the creature. The origins of his hatred for it are, sadly, lost to time.
If you're thinking of paying a visit to Loch Maree, why not enjoy a stay on Scotland's lovely west coast at Sands Caravan and Camping Park, which sits right alongside the beach and offers stunning sea views?
It’s fascinating how many large bodies of water have their own rumours of monstrous denizens lurking deep beneath the surface. While these tales might add an air of mystery to a trip to one of these amazing places, whether or not they might also make you think twice about going out on the water is another matter entirely.