The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui

I was up in Aviemore last month for a spot of Winter Munro bagging and general Highland tomfoolery. As always I ended up buying a couple of books whilst I was there and am currently working my way to the end of The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui by Afflek Gray. Seeing as I’m quite interested in paranormal goings on there was no way I could pass up a book about ghostly sightings on a Scottish Munro.

The book is a collection of accounts from people who claim to have seen/experienced the presence of someone/something unexplained up on Ben MacDhui and other hills/remote places. What has struck me as I read each account is that most are almost identical to an experience I, um, experienced. Regular followers of this blog may recall what happened. Waaay back in 2011 myself, Phil and Stu had walked up to Fionn Loch to do some good ol’ hill loch brownie fishing. Phil headed off in one direction to fish his favourite lochan whilst myself and Stu made our way up the chain of lochs known as Na Tri Lochan. We bypassed the first one to go on and fish the largest of the 3 lochs. It is a truly beautiful place with a magnificent backdrop as you can see.


Stu quickly got into what felt like a reasonable fish and then just as rapidly parted company with it. He only hung around for another 30 mins before dropping back down the hill to fish the first loch. I was going nowhere, I was in hog heaven catching small wild brownies and looking at one of my favourite views in the world! I slowly worked along the shore catching a goodly amount of trout before breaking for lunch which was a Lochinver pie. Fabulous! I then continued into the ‘arm’ of the loch running East-West to fish the ripple.

The other side

I moved from light into shadow, literally and perhaps also metaphorically. The wind which was putting a nice ripple on the water also brought with it a chill. I was in a gloom. Nevertheless I wanted to catch some more fish so I put my team out in some likely places. But whilst I fished the cold sank deeper into me, and I began feeling uneasy. You know as well as I do that feeling uneasy whilst fly fishing for wild brown trout on a hill loch in Assynt is preposterous. But the further I moved along that loch the more I became consumed with a creeping dread. Hairs began standing up on my neck. I felt as if each step was taking me into a different time, thousands of years before my one and it was not a happy one. Standing stones up on the Cnochs felt like part of the problem as well. I really had to have a word with myself and remember where I was in order to snap out of this nonsense. By this time Stu had headed back up to join me which to be honest was just what I needed to take my mind off it all. Where I stood was flat, open ground that was peppered with the remnants of heather stalks ravaged by fire which really did snap crackle and pop noisily as he walked up to me. He stopped right behind me. I turned around. He wasn’t there. There was no one there but the creeping dread now teetered on the edge of blind fucking panic. I got my shit together, put my point fly on the keeper ring and began speed marching back the way I came, barely able to stop myself running until I crossed the dark/light barrier at which point the world snapped back to how it should be. I cannot explain what happened. Half of that loch and its environs was now, the other half was then. Now was idyllic, then was overpowering malevolence.

I got back down to the first loch to find Stu fishing away at the far end, oblivious to what had happened. Thankfully I’ve never experienced anything like that in the Scottish hills before or since. I would however love to hear from any of you that have had experiences that are at all similar! There is definitely something going on, the sheer number of parallel accounts in Afflek Gray’s book assures me of that, but is it an external manifestation of some primitive, base, internal process or is there something out there?!


7 thoughts on “The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui

  1. Stu

    Colin West had something similar happen to him at one of the Scourie lochs.

    Apparently he felt like he was being watched and this gave him the jitters. When they got back to the hotel they were told some pretty dark events had occurred at the old croft near to the loch.


  2. Colin McSherry

    Loch Laidon near Rannoch Station always gives me the feeling of being watched , Really cant explain why I feel so uneasy , I have fished night and day on hill lochs with comfort but Laidon is different its really eerie!

    1. Bob Post author

      Interesting, thanks Colin! Just had a look at Loch Laidon on the map, hadn’t realised how big it was compared to Loch Ba, quite fancy fishing it although maybe not all things considered! One of the theories that gets put forward for these weird experiences is that the places where they happen are on Ley Lines. Look for cup stones, they are meant to be something to do with the network of lines….

  3. Blair

    I realise this is a fairly old thread and maybe even redundant but thought i would share something with you.
    I have fished these lochs in a Assynt for 20 years and have only ever had one “ strange “ event happen but by coincidence it was at the fionn loch.
    On this particular day there were three of us fishing and we had stopped for lunch and had found a perfect spot to sit in the heather and enjoy the silence.
    As we sat eating our lunch we heard a short but very loud and almost indescribable noise directly above us,all three of our heads snapped round to see what could possibly be making this noise and yet nothing and no one was there.
    To this day all three of us still wonder what actually happened that day,I spend most of my time outdoors and honestly I have never heard anything like it before or since.
    We are heading back up to Assynt next week and quite possibly to the fionn and na tri lochan,I will keep you posted if we experience anything else….

  4. Bob Post author

    Hi Blair
    Wow, that is fascinating, thank you for posting your experience. What was the nearest thing you could relate the noise to? Thinking about that area there are obviously very few things that would make a loud noise. Low flying military aircraft, animals, other people, weather events. That’s about all I can think of and presumably you’ve ruled these out? Have an excellent (and hopefully spook free) holiday 🙂

  5. Allan cameron

    I’ve not experienced this, but what do experience often when roaming the hills, is a feeling sometimes that a place is somehow special, or that someone lived there or did something there. Its hard to explain.

    One place I do know of is a ruin on the banks of the river Gour in Lochaber.
    I know of a family of holidaymakers that wanted to have a picnic in the ruin on a sunny summers day and when they did the two little girls became very upset and were terrified for no reason whatsoever. They refused to go back into the ruin and only calmed down once a good distance away.
    When the family spoke to the locals about it, they were told that any woman entering that property felt uneasy or upset and the locals avoided it accordingly.

  6. Bob Post author

    Hi Allan

    Thanks for posting this reply, fascinating. I’m tempted to visit this ruin – if you have any more details on location that would be great!

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