Mystery Big Cat of Morridge Moor
Back in 2004-5 there was a flurry of sightings of a large mysterious cat like creature which was seen by many people around the Morridge Moor area. At the time a Panther Watch group was set up to monitor the situation and the local paper the Leek Post and times covered the story. I still have eighteen cuttings from the paper detailing the many sightings that were recieved, many of the sightings came from the area around the Mermaid pub on Morridge Moor.
The Mermaid Pub.
A two man team did spend time looking for the mysterious creature, however Morridge is a dangerous place at the best of times with unexploded ordnance still around from the army using part of it as a firing range, added to the fact that the weather was severe and the added danger of open mine shafts dotted about it is hardly suprising that no new sightings were reported. If a big cat is at large on the moor the chances of seeing it are fairly slim, they excel at concealing themselves so it is just a matter of being in the right place at the right time for one to be fortunate in seeing it. These predators are at the top of the food chain, they have no immediate threat, apart from man and the climate, and for obvious reasons close contact should be avoided at all times! The photograph below is of a spot where a sighting took place in August of 2003.
A work colleague of mine was travelling to a gun club at Blackshaw Moor with a friend in a van when as they neared the Blackshaw Moor road sign on the left hand side of the road they spotted to their disbelief a large feline shape. Their description of the animal is as follows, “It was about the size of an Alsation dog, its colour was brown with a dappled appearance on its back, it had no tail and its ears appeared to be tufted”. Having by this time travelled past the creature, they slowed the van down and turned it around and headed back to the spot where they had first spotted it, but unfortunately it had by this time disappeared. The description that the two witnesses have given of the animal points to the possibility of it being a Lynx or a Bobcat as both of these are tailless and have tufted ears.
Morridge Moor covers a vast expanse of land which is very inhospitable as it is 1600 feet above sea level and is very sparsely populated. A large cat would be able to find plenty of food and concealment in this area, possibly spending a lot of time hunting at night a big cat would be very difficult to spot, a sighting would be more luck than judgement.