Josh Williams and his friend Ben were walking from Mermaid’s Pool on Kinder Scout towards Edale – returning home after a night of wild camping in the Peak District.
They had just passed Jacob’s Ladder when the couple spotted what they thought was a feral cat in a nearby field, according to our sister headline, the Derbyshire Times.
Josh, 17, said: ‘We were both confused when we first saw him. We stood watching it and wondering what it could be for about five minutes before I decided to start recording so I could zoom in and see better.
“We tried to get his attention to turn and face us, so we could better understand what we were looking at. Honestly, we had no idea what it could be if not a big cat. It was in a field of sheep with no different animals around, and it seemed to have a long black tail, so it definitely wasn’t a sheep.
The incident happened on Monday, September 26.
‘Out of the ordinary’
Josh said they instantly knew what they were seeing was something out of the ordinary – and the wildcat looked like it was feeding on another animal.
“We didn’t hear much noise from the feral cat, just an occasional crackle, which made me think it was feeding on something like a dead animal – most likely a sheep.
“We could tell instantly it was something different the moment we laid eyes on it – we both saw it at the same time and looked at each other confused. I could tell we all thought two the same as the day before, we were actually discussing the possibility of running into a feral cat during our trip.
“The animals around him were apparently undisturbed, but they were certainly keeping their distance, as if they were used to what was going on. It was strange. The massive contrast to his surroundings gave it away – the jet black figure stood out against his surroundings like a sore thumb.
The couple kept trying to get the wildcat’s attention, but were reluctant to enter the field where the animal was.
Josh said: “We stood watching the animal for about 10 minutes trying to get his attention but he didn’t move – he just kept doing the exact same thing as in the video.
“We didn’t get close because we were behind a fence and didn’t want to risk becoming cat food. The reason we didn’t stay longer was that we had a train to catch and were a bit late after watching this animal for so long. He just stayed in the same position as we walked away.
Josh added he was grateful to have captured footage of his potential encounter with a feral cat in the Peak District – with everyone he shared the video with left shocked by their discovery.
“We didn’t keep quiet about what we saw all the way back, telling ourselves it couldn’t be a wildcat. But then that also begs the question, what is it?
“I showed the video to my college tutor and my friends to make sure I wasn’t going crazy and they were all in disbelief. It was Andy, my college tutor, who convinced me to give you the video and try to share my story with other people in the area.
“I was glad I managed to capture it on video after the event had unfolded as I knew no one would believe me if I told them I had seen a panther in the Peak District the first time I was went camping.”
Last week a wild camper recorded what he believed to be a growling feral cat just outside his tent in the Peak District.
YouTuber Novice Wildcamper who travels across the UK and records videos of his camping trips heard a growl while visiting White Edge.
The video was posted on his YouTube channel and received over 600 comments, with many saying the growl sounds exactly like a big cat like a black leopard or a lynx.