Up and coming cryptozoology researcher Oll Lewis spoke at the Centre for Fortean Zoology’s eighth Weird Weekend conference of cryptozoology Saturday session (18 August) on lake monsters in his native Wales.
There are Welsh water monsters in folklore and fact, and some of them have attacked people in the last ten years. Garbled mistranslating from the Welsh doesn’t clarify the picture.
Wyverns (dragon-like winged snakes) used to attack sheep a lot in the Penllyn region, an area so isolated from the rest of the world that farmers wiped them out, thinking they were fairly common, and only then realized they were anything unusual.
The avanq, also spelled ufanc and with five other spellings, was some kind of crocodile thing. Stories about it are confused by the fact that the word is the same or very similar to the word for ‘beaver’ and ‘dwarf’ in Welsh, with its many non-standard old spellings. The local kings around Llangorse Lake, also called Brecknock Meer are supposed to have worn a tartan which represents the avanq. There are records of something in the lake going back to Roman times.
Huge 68lb pikes have been fished out of the lake. In 1987 a local, Mike Tunnicliffe, met the ufance when out shooting on the lake. One of his three labradors attacked a ‘basking pike’ in shallow waters, which darted off. Witnesses have seen wildfowl ‘taken’ by something under the water on the lake. A 5-6ft long pike attacked a man in 1997, and he was hospitalized with bites to his foot. Large pikes can look crocodilian in appearance.
Tuncliffe found the rotting mask (skull) of a dead pike in Llangorse Lake. It was 18 inches long, which would mean a pike of an estimated 70lb, 6-8ft long. Olly is going to Llangorse Lake in October. I’m down to help with archive research of Brecon and Powys newspapers in the Newspaper Library, and possibly down for ‘stake out’ duty on the shore during toe October expedition.
Two years ago the ‘Welsh water wolf,’ whatever that is, attacked sheep and killed them with two puncture marks around Newport.
Jonathan Downes announced The CFZ is involved in the defence of Marshall Farm, a local beauty spot near their village of Wolfordisworthy, North Devon, threatened by a Center Parcs-style development of 94 chalets planned for the area. Discovering dormice, rare moths, rare vegetation or – possibly – great crested newts not normally native to Devon, but reported locally, could save the site. The CFZ will do a survey.