I am just finishing off a folkloric post and received a link from fellow cryptozoological researcher, Scott Mardis. It concerns the tale of the Cromarty mermaid which was not far from Loch Ness. The 18th Century broadsheet proclaims:
"A strange and wonderful Relation concerning a Mermaid that was seen and spoke with on the Cliff of Cromarry, near Inverness in Scotland, by a young gentleman, a Merchant, named Lauchland Mackintosh, who was tossed on the main Ocean for four Days and Nights. Together with an account of his wonderful Dream, and the strange Conversation he had with the Mermaid, and how he was preserved after his Return to Inverness."
Now I had been aware of this story whilst researching my book on Scottish Water Horses a couple of years back, but ignored it along with the various sea serpent stories as I was more interested in land locked waters and rivers.
However, this blog has put up a couple of pieces on these fair, aquatic females. The first concerned the mermaid like creature of Loch Morar as related by folklorist Carmichael Watson:
“The Morag dwells in Loch Morar. She gives her name to the lake and still appears when any of the old Macdonalds of Morar die. Like the other water deities she is half human half fish. The lower portions of her body is in the form of a grilse and the upper in the form of a small woman of highly developed breasts with long flowing yellow hair falling down her snow white back and breast. She is represented as being fair, beautiful and very timid and never seen save when one of the Morar family dies or when the clan falls in battle."
The second account concerns Loch Duntelchaig which is a satellite loch of Loch Ness:
"The hill side which sloped down to the lake had the name of being haunted, and the waters of the lake itself had their ghostly inhabitant in the shape of what the Highlanders called the water-bull. There was also a story of some strange mermaid-like monster being sometimes seen, having the appearance of a monstrous fish with long hair."
I do not recall coming across any other such stories of loch mermaids, so they are in even shorter supply compared to their companions, the Kelpie, Water Horse and Water Bull. The old Victorian sceptics mused that the long strands of kelp that dotted the Scottish coastline may have reminded natives of the Kelpie mane and I don't doubt some would have speculated likewise concerning the long hair of the mermaid.
The trouble was that Kelpies were freshwater creatures, but why let the facts get in the way of a good theory?