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Stronsay Beast

Stronsay is an island in Orkney, Scotland situated to the North of the British Isles. Stronsay is part of an extensive group of Islands where the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea meet, known as the Orkney Islands. Stronsay's shape is irregular and its name originates from the Old Norse for Star Island. Stronsay is one of the inhabited islands in the Orkneys.



 

Stronsay Beast

Stronsay Beast Photograph 1.

A sketch of the Stronsay Beast made by Sir Alexander Gibson in 1808. The Stronsay Beast was measured as having a circumference around its middle of 10 feet (approx. 3 metres).

 

The Mystery of the Stronsay Beast

The Stronsay Beast was the carcass of a huge marine animal that was washed ashore on the island of Stronsay in the Orkney Islands in 1808.

The Stronsay Beast posed a mystery from its first discovery. The "beast" measured an incredible 55 feet in length which is much longer than a fully grown basking shark, which were known in the scottish islands, and the largest known specimen of basking shark only reached 40 feet. The Stronsay Beast was also said to have a long thin neck of 15 feet and a circumference around its middle of 10 feet.

Basking sharks would surely have been known and common to the islanders, so a basking shark as an explanation for the Stronsay Beast was quickly ruled out.

At the time of the discovery of the Stronsay Beast in 1808, zoologists at the Royal Museum in Edinburgh could not identify it as any marine creature known to them and they concluded that it was some kind of unknown sea-serpent that had been washed ashore.

Scientists have since challenged this view and have suggested that the Stronsay Beast was just a large specimen of a partly de-composed basking shark - they fail to explain the huge length of the Stronsay Beast however...... so, what do YOU think?

The Stronsay Beast is sometimes cited as an example of a "Globster", an un-identified mass of organic material that is washed up on a beach. Globsters have been variously identified as the long decomposed corpses of whales, basking-sharks, giant squid and octopuses. Sometimes Globsters remain totally un-identified and unexplained. The Stronsay Beast has certainly added to the mystery and interest of the island.

 

Stronsay Beast

Stronsay Beast Photograph 2.

Another sketch of the Stronsay Beast made by Sir Alexander Gibson in 1808. The Stronsay Beast was measured at the time as 55 feet in length (approx. 16.76 metres).

 

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11/Apr/09
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Updated Stronsay pages. Added Stronsay Accomodation Page



01/Nov/07
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01/Feb/07
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