The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

The Water Horse, a freshwater tale

The Nuggle or Water Horse was a malicious and dangerous creature that could disguise itself as any type of creature but usually took the form of a beautiful horse.

In this disguise it frequented lochs, pools and streams in the hope of ensnaring its victims.

Patiently, it would stand at rivers or lakes that were difficult to cross and waited until an unsuspecting victim decided to climb onto its back. It would then charge into the water and drown its victim before eating it.

One of its haunts was the island of Hoy, where there are lots of isolated pools and streams. The Pegal Burn was a good spot to find victims, as well as the Little Loch at Rackwick, but its main territory was the area around the body of water known as the Water o’ Hoy.

It is said that if a human gains control of the horse, it can be made to work the fields and has the strength of four land horses. It does not like to be ensnared, however, and will try everything in its power to escape.