The Tizzie-Whizie was allegedly first spotted by a Bowness boatman around 1900. He regaled tourists in the town’s Stag’s Head Hotel about his thrilling encounter with the extraordinary creature.
Shy, water-loving creatures, Tizzie-Whizies are reputed to have the body of a hedgehog, the tail of a squirrel or fox and a pair of bee-like wings.
From "A Boatman's Grandson": This one was captured in 1906, struggling and squealing, it was rushed to Louis Herbert's Photographic Studio, opposite St Martin's Church. Having calmed it down with some warm milk and morsels of ginger biscuit he took this immortal portrait of the Tizzie Whizie, before it jumped off his table and flew out of the window to regain its freedom.
It had a very faint cry, which could just be heard if you had your ear at water level. Many thousands of postcards were sold from this one photograph. The boatmen used to conduct Tizzie Whizie hunts and the evasive Tizzie Whizie would invariably finish under one of the piers and one of the tourists engaged in the hunt would be 'accidentally' pushed into the lake!
Sometimes the boatmen would say that it had escaped to Belle Isle and if any of the hunt followers wished they could be taken across the lake to look for it. When asked why they couldn't see it flying across the lake, the reply was 'because it was a very good underwater swimmer'.