The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

A monster in Scapa Flow

One day in the 1850s, on the shore in Orphir, a young boy named Alec Groundwater was sitting on a rock dangling his legs into the sea.

The sea was calm but, suddenly, the water began to boil and a strange beast rose up out of the water and glared at the young boy, with "cold baleful eyes", before rearing up from the water and attempting to seize his dangling legs.

Leaping back from its grasp, Alec remained on the rock, watching in terror as the sea-creature made a number of attempts to reach him. Eventually it “rose once more to shake its head and mane till the water cascaded from it on all sides, then disappeared”.

Understandably, Alec was terrified and only managed to give a vague description of the beast. He described it as having a flat head, a long mane, similar to a horse, and a wide mouth which housed some wicked-looking teeth, or tusks.

More than 70 years later, another monster from the deep was seen less than a mile from the shore in Stromness. You can read about it in on this website in the "A monster at Outertown" page.