A RETIRED head teacher is the latest person who claims to have seen a large, black cat that has been prowling the South Lakeland countryside.

Jeni Boothman, formerly of Pennington CE Primary School near Ulverston, told the Gazette that she was travelling from Gilpin Lodge along the Crook Road when she spotted it.

“We had just gone past the Brown Horse Inn at Winster when it came across the road in front of us,” said Mrs Boothman, whose husband was driving the car at the time.

“We thought it was a dog but as we got closer we realised it was definitely a big cat.

“It was black, had a smooth coat and a long tail that curled up at the end. I would say it was about the same size as a Labrador.”

Although it was around 11.30pm, Mrs Boothman, of Bowland Bridge, said the creature was lit by moonlight and the car headlights.

“It was no illusion,” she added. “It was definitely a big cat.”

The existence of a large, non-native cat in the Cumbrian countryside has divided the opinion of zoological experts and local residents.

Over the years, there have been dozens of sighting across South Lakeland, with more than ten sightings in Kendal alone.

Have you seen or photographed the big cat? Add your comments below.