Our latest rummage in the Advertiser's archives has dug up this tale from 15 years ago about a big cat being spotted in the woods around Coulport.

Here's how we reported the news in the Advertiser on June 17, 2004...

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A BIG cat has been spotted prowling the woods and hills above Loch Long.

Sightings of what is believed to be a cougar, also known as a puma, at Portincaple, Whistlefield and on the access road past Coulport have been on the rise over the past couple of weeks.

Wildlife police at Coulport have confirmed a number of sightings of a large tan coloured animal have been made in the last 10 days.

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Sergeant John Simpson, MoD wildlife crime officer, said: “We have received several reports from credible local witnesses and each sighting is presently being investigated.

“What we know from other cases is that these animals can roam in a 30 square mile hunting territory so it is rare if they stay in the one site for long.

“However the area has a healthy deer population and, coupled with sheep and goats, it would have a plentiful supply of prey items.

“It should be stressed that the animal should not be approached and all sightings should be reported to the police immediately.”

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Rosneath resident, Thomas Freeman, said that the cat definitely exists and he spotted it recently.

“My wife and I saw something about three months ago,” he said.

“We were driving from Garelochhead to Whistlefield when she just screamed ‘Look!’

“This big cat trotted across the road and into some bushes behind a fence.

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“I’d say that it was about the height of a large German Shepherd but longer and definitely cat-like.

“That happened at about 8pm but it was still light and you couldn’t mistake it for anything else.”