EVERYONE has heard of the Loch Ness monster, and some know about Morag, the creature at Loch Morar near Mallaig on the west coast, but Clackmannanshire had its very own monster, seen by a group of men in 1938.

During the first weekend in September that year, the group had gone out wild duck shooting on the windings of the Forth near Cambus, but they got more than they bargained for when they spotted what they claimed was a monster.

It was described as a fearsome looking creature with a long, curved neck, and its head was said to be the size of a man’s.

Not seen in the river before this, it was thought to be a mammal as every so often its head would appear out of the water for a few minutes before it dived below once more.

The sighting was almost opposite the Haugh Farm near Cambus as that is where duck shooting proved most lucrative.

In the party were six men who were split between two boats. Younger members of the group were the first to see the creature and attracted the attention of the older men in the party, Hugh McMahon and John Clark, who were in the other boat. They were shouting over to them that some terrible looking thing was chasing them down the river.

Later, McMahon and Clark were interviewed about the incident and explained that their boat was near the other one which contained the youngsters but that the creature was on the far side of it.

After shouting to the older men, those in the second boat made their way to the bank, by this time scared out their wits. They had never seen anything like it before.

McMahon and Clark made their way to the area where the animal had been seen, thinking the youngster had maybe been playing a prank.

However to their amazement and shock, the creature reared its head once more. This time it was at the exact same spot they had been sitting just a few minutes before.

While they had their guns, not once did it cross their mind to shoot at the sea creature at this point. They were just so stunned by what they were witnessing.

McMahon said because it was so big – he described it as being ‘of huge dimensions’ – neither he nor his companion spoke.

All of the men compared it to drawing they had seen of the Loch Ness monster.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Sightings of the creature were reported around CambusSightings of the creature were reported around Cambus

THE men who spotted the creature at Cambus while on the duck shoot were adamant, when questioned, that it was definitely not a porpoise, dolphin, seal or shark.

They knew what they looked like, and this was not anything like them.

In all, the monster was seen six times on the surface as it came up for air that day. Each time it stayed above the water for two minutes before diving below for around ten minutes before resurfacing again.

The men had hoped that it would rear its head between the boats so they could take a shot once the shock of seeing it had worn off, but they were disappointed.

Eventually, an opportunity arose for McMahon to take a shot from around 20 yards away but almost as soon as he fired, the creature dived below the surface. He did not know whether he had hit it or not.

Another eyewitness to the event was the farmer at Haugh Farm. Andrew Thomson had been alerted by the shouts of the men and made his way to the riverbank to see what was going on.

He, like the others, was amazed when he saw the animal. He helped to spot it as it reared its head from the water, calling to the men and pointing in its direction.

He too was later interviewed and said it was the funniest looking thing he had ever seen, and not only on the River Forth, but everywhere he had ever been.

When its head was above the water, he could see it clearly and described its neck as being roughly the height of an average man’s body. He said that before the neck was fully extended, it formed a small hump on the surface of the water.

He went on to say that when it was under the water, the neck, which he thought to be roughly the thickness of a telegraph pole, disappeared like a conning tower of a submarine. Its head was said to be the last to break the surface of the water.

All the men agreed that the animal moved very quickly, covering good distances in the time it took between appearances.

The men speculated on the damage that could have occurred to their little boats if it had attacked them. It could easily have tipped them up had chosen to do so but instead had steered clear of the vessels.

To date the creature has not been seen again but you never know what lurks beneath the water.