Secrets Of Scotland: Creatures Of The West

Scotland may just be the best place in the world for a motorhome holiday. While here, you can expect to experience all the quintessential Scottish things. Loch Ness, Edinburgh Castle, highland cows, highland ponies, golden eagles, maybe even a few crocodiles…

Wait, hang on, what?! Yep, we really said that. Crocodiles. Now, we know that might sound a little outlandish. Ghosts? Fine. A plesiosaur living in a loch? Possible. But crocodiles?! That’s where you draw the line.

We would say, however, that for the purpose of this article, you don’t quite draw the line just yet. Because it might just be true.

There are many strange stories and myths in Scotland – we’ve gone into a few of them in our last two Secrets Of Scotland blogs – but we haven’t even scratched the surface of the bizarre things you’ll see while renting a motorhome in Scotland

So get the engine running. Strap in. And let’s start scratching:

The Crocodile Of Loch Lomond

You’ve heard of the Loch Ness monster, but did you know that there have been several sightings of monsters in other Scotland lochs? One of the most recent comes from Loch Lomond, which is northwest of Glasgow. 

You would have thought that, given the history of Loch Lomond, anything strange and mysterious would probably have something to do with ghosts. But no such luck because lurking in Loch Lomond is a tangible, deadly monster. Or at least, that’s how the story goes. It was a few years ago that Edinburgh freelance journalist Nick Taylor was wandering around the banks of Loch Lomond when he noticed a mystery monster gobbling up a flock of ducks. 

According to other witnesses, the monster looked like a giant crocodile or alligator, around 12 feet long and with short, stumpy spikes trailing across its back. So basically, if you’re thinking about going wild-swimming in Scotland, we’d suggest giving Loch Lomond a miss. 

The Ghost Town Of Fort William

Ah, here’s the ghost story! Well, there’s got to be at least one, hasn’t there? This story takes us to Lochaber and the mysterious town of Fort William. According to history, this town was not the most peaceful of places. Having been knocked back and forth during brutal battles, including the Forty-Five Rebellion and the Battle of Culloden, a number of highlanders came to the end of their lives in the worst way possible. 

And it seems they’re still mad about it because there have been a handful of ghost sightings over the years. One of the most recent was made by two French tourists, who actually managed to take a ghostly photograph in Fort William of what appears to be a stark, white spectre. Not really knowing what they had captured, they showed it to a receptionist at the nearby hotel, who told them that the spot used to be the location of a tree used for hangings.

In the 1970s, that tree was chopped down, and built on top of the site was a new library. On the first day of opening, the staff of the library found the inside destroyed, with chairs and plants smashed in every room and water gushing out of the pipes. Now, whether the library story and the spectre are connected remains to be seen. Or not seen, hopefully!

The Witch’s Son Of Glasgow

If you’re driving one of our motorhomes through the city of Glasgow, the chances are you’ll pass images of a grey-haired monk. This man is known as St. Mungo, and, despite the fact he founded Glasgow, he has been shrouded in mystery for hundreds of years. That might be because he was allegedly the son of a witch. 

According to the story, Scottish princess Thenue became pregnant after an affair with her cousin, and her father punished her by pushing her off a cliff. She somehow survived and subsequently became recognised as a witch by the local community and was banished. The baby she was pregnant with – who also survived the fall – was born not long after, and during his childhood, he was able to do some miraculous things. He brought a bird back to life, set fire to trees with his mind, and even plucked a golden ring out of a fish – no, really. 

Later on in life, he founded Glasgow and was eventually laid to rest under Glasgow Cathedral. Whether or not his mother was a witch or St. Mungo really had magical abilities remains a mystery to this day. But perhaps it’s not really a mystery. Perhaps it’s just another secret…