Written By: Ken Hulsey
Source: News & Star (UK)
Workington, Cumbria in the Northwest part of the UK seems to be the home to some very strange creatures, a very large predatory cat, and possibly something equally out of place.
Groundsman Jeff Curwen and and a local resident, Peter Bratley, discovered a very strange set of tracks at the Borough Park football (that's soccer to us yanks) grounds after returning to work after the new year holiday.
The snow around the complex was littered with several sets of animal tracks, most of which were easily recognizable, but what caught the pairs attention were a set of tracks about the size of a human hand.
Groundskeeper Curwen notes, “I can tell tracks by now. There was a fox there as well because his prints are neat and all in line and there were also marks and tracks from rabbits and birds.
“But these prints were different. They certainly made Peter and I look around for more.
“They didn’t seem to be on the pitch, funnily enough, but round the tunnel side and behind the Derwent end goals.”
Immediately Curwen believed that he knew what had made these mysterious prints, one of the legendary lark black cats that have been rumored to inhabit the British Isles for decades.
Two years prior, he claims to have had a close encounter with just such an animal in the same general area.
“It was a big, black cat-like creature and when it seemed to see me it turned to its right and got away out through the entrance at the back and apparently over into Lonsdale Park."
“There has got to be some connection with that creature and the prints. You could see the claw marks at the end of the prints.”
Indeed, Cumbria residents have reported seeing large black predatory cats several times over the years, so, strange tracks equal large cat, right?
Not so fast.
Facts are facts, and the dimensions of these new tracks fall way outside the range of even the largest members of the cat family. According to Curwen the prints were the size of a human hand, which averages about 7.4 inches in length. In contrast the paws of some of the world's biggest cats are, 3 inches for the Panther and 4 inches for the Cougar, or American Mountain Lion.
The tracks in question are almost twice as long as either of those two, and those are really big cats.
It should also be noted that cat paws are about as wide as they are long. The track in the above photo is much longer than it is wide.
Very uncharacteristic for a feline.
In fact the dimensions are more closer to a human track than most other animals native to the area.
Though local authorities seem convinced that the visitor to the sports complex was the "Beast of Workington Borough Park", a name given to the black cat seen in the area, I'm not so sure.
Granted, melting snow can do all kinds of things to animal tracks, so a positive ID may be impossible.
Black cat, or not, something out of the ordinary seems to have visited Cumbria. Maybe a keen-eyed resident will be able to witness just what is prowling about, and hopefully snap a clear photo.
Looks like the "Jersey Devil" may be vacationing in the UK this winter.
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