Nessie isn’t the only lake monster rumored to be lurking in Scotland. About 70 miles from Loch Ness, local legends claim that a creature called Morag dwells in Loch Morar. Some accounts even suggest the lake hides two or more monsters.
Loch Morar might not be the biggest lake in Scotland, but it is the deepest. In fact, it’s the deepest body of fresh water in the UK. Located in the Highlands, the glacial lake is clear and quite beautiful. It’s home to otters and salmon, but some people insist that another creature–or creatures–live beneath those waters
The earliest sightings of Morag date back to 1887. However, the monster is less frequently sighted than Nessie–possibly because Morag is less internationally famous. In 2013, two tourists claimed to have seen a “solid 20ft black shape in the water,” according to the Daily Record. They saw it two more times during their weekend trip to Kisimuil on the shores of the loch.
Before that, the last reported sighting took place more than 20 years earlier. But the most famous sighting happened in 1969, when two friends returning home from a fishing trip came face-to-face with the creature. Willie Simpson and Duncan McDonell accidentally rammed something–which then rammed them right back.
Simpson and McDonnel claim that the creature had the classic “three hump” shape of a lake monster. It was allegedly about 30 feet long with a wide, broad head.
The men claim that they had to fight off the monster. One grabbed an oar to keep it away, while the other shot their attacker with a rifle. “There is no doubt in my mind that there is a large monster, maybe more than one, in Loch Morar,” Willie Simpson said of the incident.
A popular theory holds that the lake monsters are, in fact, modern-day versions of the prehistoric plesiosaur. The idea is that these creatures somehow became isolated in deep, remote lakes during a time of cataclysmic upheaval. They lingered long past the era when the rest of their brothers and sisters became extinct.
However, there’s another theory that might be more scientifically sound. Richard Freeman of the Center for Fortean Zoology believes that these creatures are, in fact, giant eels.
“The idea of a prehistoric reptile in these cold northern lakes is a non-starter. However, the monsters could be some kind of large fish. I think the best bet are giant sterile eels. The common eel swims out to the Sargasso Sea to breed then die. The baby eels follow scent trails back to their ancestral fresh waters homes and the cycle begins again.” Freeman explained.
“Sometimes, however, a mutation occurs and the eel is sterile. These stay in fresh water and keep on growing. Known as eunuch eels, no-one knows how old they get or how big.”
Eels typically don’t get much bigger than four feet long. However, it’s not unheard of to encounter much bigger eels–up to twenty feet. Following a video from Loch Ness that seemed to show a giant creatures zooming through the water, a research team decided to find out once and for all what was in the water.
The 2019 environmental DNA study concluded that there are quite a large number of eels in the lake. However, they were able to debunk the theory that monster was a giant catfish or sturgeon. Unfortunately, the researchers were not able to conclusively prove that Nessie is an eel. It’s possible, but there were still too many unknowns to say for sure.
However, if giant eels are possible in Loch Ness, then it’s possible these creatures are living in other Scottish lakes as well. Could that be the origin of the Morag sightings in Loch Morar?
At this point, you’re probably wondering where Prince Charles fits into this narrative. According to newspaper reports, Charles became interested in Loch Morag in the 1980s. Explorer and monster hunter Sydney Wignall had taken footage of the lake via hang glider and claimed to have proof that there were huge creatures in the water.
Wignall said of the prince, “By the time he’s finished watching it, the Prince will no longer be in any doubt that these creatures are real and not just a figment of people’s imagination.”
“Part of the film shows two creatures leaving wakes behind them in the otherwise still water.’ he said. ‘Another part shows a 1,000 yard wake similar to a torpedo’s. But the most frightening bit shows a creature – or something – lying perfectly still at the side or the loch. Whenever I get to that bit, my hair stands on end – and I’m sure it will do the same to the Prince.”
Sadly, no copies of the film appear to exist today. (The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the film showed the truth too clearly.) Buckingham Palace confirmed that Prince Charles did indeed request to see the footage, however, stating: “The Prince has said he is interested in seeing the film. But no date has been fixed yet. I don’t want to say too much – or well be deluged with Loch Ness monster things from now on.”