In late November, 1893, a humpback whale,as rare a sight in the North Sea then as it would be now, followed herring shoals into the Tay estuary, and travelled as far upstream as Dundee docks to linger in the home waters of the biggest whaling fleet in Britain. The whale became an instant celebrity, known simply as the Monster, but a handful of boats were launched to try and catch it. The hunt was farcical, protracted, and ultimately grotesque - the whale remained elusive for four weeks before towing six vessels out past the Bell Rock lighthouse. All the lines parted in building seas and the whale escaped, but it was mortally wounded and was found floating off Stonehaven on January 6, bristling with ironmongery. After a public auction was held for the corpse, the whale was hauled to Dundee where the public was charged sixpence or a shilling to see it. The Winter Whale is a remarkable historical set piece - and even then public opinion was divided between glee and outrage.