5 August 2012

Sea tales

The giant sea-serpent glides into view time and again, with a particular frequency in the Victorian period, although the beached and rotting "Animal of Stronsa" in the Orkneys was, according to the scientists, a basking shark. Detailed accounts are often from respectable folk such as the Reverend Donald Maclean, minister of Eigg, "quite a man to be believed" according to the Glenelg minister – who saw one himself in the Sound of Sleat.

Hitch-hiking decades ago in the Hebrides, I was picked up by a fishing-boat skipper who at one point confided his own sighting of a long serpent with a bristling, hideous face yards from his stern off the Angus coast. "We've most of us seen them," he said, quietly, "but we don't like to talk about it for fear of being laughed at."
-- from Adam Thorpe's review of The Fabled Coast by Sophia Kingshill and Jennifer Westwood

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