Scot captures moment pine marten comes face-to-face with rare wildcat

The meeting of a wildcat and a pine marten which Neil Bletcher photographed while he was on holiday in Scotland. Picture: SWNS
The meeting of a wildcat and a pine marten which Neil Bletcher photographed while he was on holiday in Scotland. Picture: SWNS
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This is the spectacular picture of the moment a pine marten came face-to-face with a rare wildcat in a “once in a lifetime sighting”.

Neil Bletcher, 56, was on holiday with his wife Jane, 66, when he spotted the incredible sight after he left some food out for pine martens.

Neil Bletcher couldn't believe his eyes when out from the bushes appeared an elusive Highland wildcat. Picture: SWNS

Neil Bletcher couldn't believe his eyes when out from the bushes appeared an elusive Highland wildcat. Picture: SWNS

But Neil couldn’t believe his eyes when an elusive Highland wildcat appeared out from the bushes - with the number of the cats in the wild estimated to be less than 200.

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Neil, an IT engineer and retiree Jane, from Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire were spending time at their holiday cottage on the remote peninsula of Ardnamurchan, Argyll.

Neil said: “I was just up there for the weekend.

“I put food out for the pine marten then the cat appeared and they had a wee face off.

“The pine marten did a dance and the cat took a swipe at it but after that, they didn’t bother with each other.

“There have been a few pine martens about in the past but wildcats are very rare.

“Until you DNA test them you don’t know how pure they are but it had all the right markings.

“The twin encounter was a unique experience and a once in a lifetime sighting - one I will probably never see again.”

Ardnamurchan is a remote peninsula in the Scottish Highlands and is home to Corrachadh Mòrthe, the most westerly point of mainland Britain.

The area is popular with hill walkers and is also home to otters, golden eagle and white-tailed eagle species.