Hiker comes ‘face to face’ with puma on Snowdonia trek – ‘I just froze’

A hiker believes he came “face to face” with a puma on a trek through Snowdonia.

Jacques Wood, 28, from Leeds, was “frozen to the spot” at the national park in Wales during the excursion on Saturday, October 17.

Mr Wood wanted to catch the sunrise, and claims he saw the big cat around 5.30am.

He told Gloucestershire Live : “There is no doubt what I saw.

“I Googled big cat sightings in the UK and I got in touch with big cat expert Frank Tunbridge who explained to me what I had seen and why the big cat was in the area.

“I had driven down from Leeds as I have not done Snowdonia before. I set off at around 2am and got there at about 5.30am and set off.

“I had only been 45 minutes into the walk before I came face to face with the big cat.”

Mr Wood stopped for a drink of water and to take his jumper off.

He then adjusted his head torch, before the light illuminated something.

He said: “I was at Crib Goch, and was about to set off again and I saw its feet.

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“I rotated my head torch so the light would spread over a wider area. I saw two yellow dots and the light reflected off its eyes.

“I knew it was not a marker as it moved its head and I could then make out its silhouette.

“It was three and a half feet tall, four feet long and the legs were about three to four inches thick.”

He then realised what had been watching him.

Mr Wood added: “I just froze. It was pitch black and I was on my own and felt vulnerable if I am honest. I started very slowly trekking backwards. I did not take my eyes off the animal.

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“I was only 45 yards away from the animal and when I stepped back from it another 100 yards, it was still watching me.

“I got so far back and then to be honest I turned and ran back to me car. After a minute I got my laptop out and I searched what I thought it could be and I am pretty sure it was a puma.”

Jacques did not take a picture of the animal, adding: “I've got to say that having proof of my experience was not the first thing I was thinking about.

“For anyone who asks why I did not take a picture then I would like to see how they would have reacted if they were in my shoes.

“I was concentrating on moving slowly and doing as little in the way of movements as possible.

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“I would say that I was a sceptic before and you will never believe it till you see it for yourself. There is no doubt in my mind what I saw.”

Big cat expert Frank Tunbridge, from Podsmead in Gloucester, received the report from Mr Wood.

He said: “This latest big cat report enforces the fact that big cats are living in the UK in the wild.

“Jacques describes the experience which left him stunned as he saw the big cat up so close and it has formed a movie in his mind of what he saw which will stay with him forever.

“Without the physical proof of a big cat, this fascinating subject will continue to roll out like a murder mystery without the body ever being found.”

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