Glen is one of the newer additions to the bloggo family. He wrote to me out of the blue last year to ask wherther we wanted a Western Isles volume in our Mystery Animals of Britain series. We argeed that we did indeed want one, and commissioned him. What we were not expecting was such a bloody good writer and all round nice guy, who - by the way - is writing several other volumes for us...
Whilst I was carrying out a little side research into Icelandic mystery animals I happened to come across a fascinating set of stamps that have recently been released and the subject of these stamps the mystery animals of Icelandic legend
The set features artistic impressions of the most popular or at least the best known (that is in Iceland) mystery creatures and a right mixed bunch of animals they are. They range from the hard to believe possible, to the you never know there might even be a real animal hidden in the depths of the story.
From the land you will find the Skoffin the ungodly offspring of a cat and a fox, while down on the beach you might find the Shellmonster an animal that is covered in scales, could this be Iceland's own mystery pangolin?
Those sandy shores also played host to the Beachwalker a mystery animal that would be harmless for most of the year but come mating season would become a hazard for your sheep.
There is even a mystery cat the type represented here by the ghoul cat not your run of the mill black cat that like to pose for tabloids, rather Iceland's very own legendary grave robbing feline .
Flopping out of the cool waters of the rivers there is the poisonous reverse fin trout a fish best avoided on your dinner plate if you wished to see another dawn.
Down on the seashore you might find the water cattle wandering in the surf and if you were devious enough they could be tricked into joining your herd, a similar tale is told of the faery cattle that featured in the folktales of the Hebrides. If you didn’t find the water cattle there was always the chance of stumbling across the hulking mass that was the seal mother a big seal that would appear whenever others of the seal family where threatened to save the day like some great superhero with flippers
As benefiting its remote ocean location the waters off Iceland once played host to number of mystery whales the Horse whale, the mouse whale and the red crest. They might well be described as whales but could they actually be based upon descriptions of sea serpents at least one the Horse whale shares the horse head and mane that is so often attributed to Merhorse sightings