Clare's Cornish Pages

Morgawr

Morgawr is a giant sea creature that many people have seen over the years in the Falmouth Bay area of Cornwall. The word 'morgawr' means sea giant in Cornish and it is probably the most famous sea serpent in the world (the Loch Ness Monster is a freshwater creature). Of course, the sea serpent is probably just a legend, isn't it?...


Well, actually many people have seen it over the years, including many fisherman. In 1876, two fisherman caught a sea serpent in their nets in Gerran's Bay. Fifty years later (1926), a similar creature was caught in the nets of some other fishermen. The creature was described as 20 feet long with an eight foot tail, scaly legs and a beak-like head. Then there was a period with few sightings until the 1970's.


In September 1975, Morgawr was spotted off Pendennis Point in Falmouth by a man and a woman out on an evening stroll. They described a hump-backed creature with a long neck, 'stumpy' horns and bristles down its back. Again in 1975, it was spotted in the Helford, near Durgan. Two separate sightings off Rosemullion Head took place in January 1976 (one of which was by two women from London, who no doubt would not even have heard of the legend). It was described as being 30-40 feet long and looking like a prehistoric creature. Two months later, the Falmouth Packet published some pictures of the Morgawr taken by a local lady. She also gave a similar description of the creature adding that it was black or brown in colour and had a head that looked like a sea lion's. About six more sightings were described in 1976. A young family enjoying the summer weather spotted it in the Helford and two more fishermen had a close encounter with the hump-backed serpent. A young sailor saw a 40 foot long 'worm-like' creature pass him as he sailed about 30 miles NW of the Scilly Isles in August 1976. Only a few weeks later, a couple in their motorboat witnessed two large mottled-grey humps off Restronguet Point and another man described a creature like a gigantic eel (50-60 foot long) with a humped back from Gyllyngvase Beach. In November, 1976 the creature is again photographed from Parson's Beach. Again there was quite a long break before Morgawr put in another appearance.


In January 1992, a couple walking along the cliffs in Falmouth saw the creature, which they described as looking like pictures of the Loch Ness Monster. They were very sceptical about previous sightings before witnessing it for themselves.


Three years ago in 1999, a former Natural History Museum worker videotaped Morgawr and has very recently released the footage. He believes that the creature could be a plesiosaur, which is thought to have become extinct with the rest of the dinosaurs. The footage was recorded at Gerran's Bay.


Morgawr Photo

In fact, the most popular theory as to what Morgawr might be, is that it could be a plesiosaur, which was thought to have become extinct over seventy million years ago. Some people believe that there are a group of these creatures still in existence and this might help to explain sightings of other such creatures (e.g. 'Nessie'). The main drawback to this theory is that a cold-blooded reptile may find it difficult to survive the temperature of Falmouth Bay. A perhaps more logical theory, is that the creature is some type of long-necked seal, a warm-blooded mammal. It is possible that undiscovered seal species could be present in Falmouth Bay and black seals have been sighted in the Fal estuary.


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Last updated: 16/05/05