A hiker has described being metres away from a 'big cat' in Snowdonia.

Jacques Wood, 28, from Leeds, reached Crib Goch in the early hours of Saturday morning when he came face to face with the four-foot long silhouette.

Mr Wood said he set off from Leeds and travelled to north Wales at 2am on October 17, and started on his route at around 5.30am. But only 45 minutes later, he noticed he wasn't alone on the mountain, GloucestershireLive reports.

He said: "I had only been 45 minutes into the walk before I came face to face with the big cat."

The hiker had stopped to have a drink of water and take off his jumper as he was getting hot. After adjusting his head torch, he saw something in the not-too-far distance.

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

“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 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.

“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.”

Mr Wood said he 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.

“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."

The encounter has left big cat expert Frank Tunbridge convinced of their existence in the UK.

The 73-year-old from Gloucester said: "All of the secondary evidence of big cats is there. There have been deer and live stock kills, and claw marks in trees, as well as droppings and pug marks seen.

“There has been fairly plausible photo and video evidence of big cats in the past as well.

“However this is not enough to convince most people but we have larger than life predators wild cats living and breeding within the UK.

“This sighting is similar to the Scottish wild cat. They are extremely allusive. They avoid most of the trail cameras that we employ to film them.”