Nessie - Loch Ness and the Monster

Pictish symbol Nessie - Loch Ness & The Monster

Loch Ness, and it's most famous resident 'Nessie' the Loch Ness Monster, has become one of the most famous lochs (or lakes) in the world. It's the largest loch in Britain by volume of water at 24 miles long, averaging 1 mile wide and is up to 740 feet deep. The loch receives seven rivers: Farigaig, Foyers, Tarff, Oich, Moriston, Coilte and Enrick and its only outlet is the River Ness. Loch Ness lies in a natural geographical fault that stretches across the width of Scotland & is joined at either end by the Caledonian Canal, built by the engineer Thomas Telford in 1822.

The first recorded sighting of the monster was in 565AD, when it snatched up and ate a local farmer - or so the story goes..... St Columba, in the area on his way back from Iona, failed to save the man, but forced the monster back into the waters. Chastened by this encounter, Nessie has been reluctant to leave the depths ever since.

Although rumours spread after "strange events" in 1871 and 1930, it was only in 1933 that the monster hit the headlines. In this year the construction of the A82 along the west bank of the loch involved much drilling and blasting, and it is believed that this drove the monster out into the open. In May 1933 Alex Campbell saw "something" in the loch, and in July of this year George Spicer and his wife saw "something else" on the road near Foyers.

Quickly rechristened "Nessie" by the local newspapers, the monster was seen so often in the following months that in 1934, a full scale mission was mounted but without success. Later in 1934 however, everything changed. A London surgeon, R K Wilson, took a photograph which clearly showed a sinuous head and neck rising from the surface of the loch. Public interest was tremendous, and over the years every new photograph was studied and debated in universities, meetings, villages and pubs. Several of the photographs were inconclusive, several more undoubtedly false, but a number remain unexplained to this day.

In the 1960s manpower & technology joined forces when the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau was formed to intensify the search who, with the aid of still and movie cameras, teams of spotters monitored the surface of the loch every summer for ten years, and recorded an average of 20 sightings each year.

In the late 1960s the searchers ventured beneath the surface for the first time, initially in mini-submarines, then with sonar equipment. Sonar brought new levels of sophistication and accuracy to the search, with sonar-activated colour cameras recording images of Loch Ness. Remarkable underwater photographs were made public in 1972 and 1975 and were instrumental in raising public awareness and generating new interest in the monster.

Since then, several major sonar scans have taken place and contacts have producing exciting, if unprovable results on several occasions. In 1987 Operation Deepscan covered the entire surface of the loch with 20 motor cruisers, creating a sonar envelope from which 'nothing' could hide. Nessie, however, did.

The most recent theory is that 'Nessie' could have been sightings of a circus elephant bathing in the loch....  Neil Clark, curator of paleontology, sees similarities between descriptions of Nessie and what an elephant looks like while swimming. Coincidentally,  circus elephants passed near the loch in the 1930s at the height of the monster sightings. By publishing his theory, Clark has reignited worldwide passionate discussion about Nessie - the Loch Ness Monster.

Although there is no scientific, physical or conclusive photographic evidence that either prove OR disprove the existence of a monster or monsters in Loch Ness, many respectable, responsible and sober observers are utterly convinced they have seen a large aquatic creature in the water.

Come watch the waters and decide for yourself.

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