The ‘biggest search for the Loch Ness monster in 50 years’ is taking place this weekend, deploying new equipment in an attempt to track down Scotland’s legendary beast.
Ninety years have passed since two famous photos of Nessie made headlines, splashing a 1,400-year-old tale across the front pages.
In the decades since however, definitive evidence of her existence has yet to be found.
Perhaps until now.
The Loch Ness Exploration (LNE) and the Loch Ness Centre hope to change that this weekend, scouring the vast waters that stretch 23 miles from Fort Augustus to Loch End.
‘Surveying equipment that has never been used on Loch Ness before will be enlisted to uncover the secrets of the mysterious waters,’ said a statement from the centre. ‘This includes thermal drones to produce thermal images of the water from the air using infrared cameras, as observing heat from above could provide a crucial component for identifying any mysterious anomalies.
‘Finally, a hydrophone will be used to detect acoustic signals under the water, listening for any Nessie-like calls, as well as further technology in the hunt for the truth.’
In addition, the teams need an army of volunteers to watch the loch, ‘keeping an eye out for breaks in the water and any inexplicable movements’. While all in-person positions have been snapped up, anyone can join in thanks to a range of live webcams streaming the rippling surface of the loch directly into their homes.
The event, named The Quest, is the biggest of its kind since the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau (LNIB) carried out its own mass survey in 1972.
‘Since starting LNE, it’s always been our goal to record, study and analyse all manner of natural behaviour and phenomena that may be more challenging to explain,’ said LNE founder Alan McKenna.
‘It’s our hope to inspire a new generation of Loch Ness enthusiasts and by joining this large scale surface watch, you’ll have a real opportunity to personally contribute towards this fascinating mystery that has captivated so many people from around the world.’
Paul Nixon, general manager of the Loch Ness Centre, added: ‘We are guardians of this unique story, and as well as investing in creating an unforgettable experience for visitors, we are committed to helping continue the search and unveil the mysteries that lie underneath the waters of the famous Loch.
‘The weekend gives an opportunity to search the waters in a way that has never been done before, and we can’t wait to see what we find.’
The earliest recorded sighting of the Loch Ness monster is found in an ancient text from the 6th Century. According to legend, the Irish monk Saint Columba was staying alongside the River Ness, which flows from the northern end of the loch.
On hearing tales of a monster, the monk sent a friend out into the river to test it out. When the monster appeared, Columba made the sign of the cross and banished the creature to Loch Ness.
Fast forward more than a thousand years, and in April 1933, hotel manager Aldie Mackay was driving past the loch with her husband when she saw a strange creature in the water. She later described it as ‘black, wet, with water rolling off it’.
That same year George Spicer and his wife reported seeing a ‘large, unfamiliar creature’ pass in front of their car and disappear into the loch, while in November of 1933 Hugh Gray captured a photo of what he said was the monster, appearing to show the long thin neck of the monster. Others argue it is a dog carrying a stick.
However, it was on April 21, 1934, when Nessie mania really hit fever pitch after the Daily Mail published what became known as ‘the Surgeon’s Photograph’. Reportedly taken by the doctor Robert Kenneth Wilson, the image remains the most famous when it comes to Nessie sightings, showing a small round head atop a long thin neck emerging from the water.
Many took this as proof the Loch Ness monster existed, but alas, in 1994 it was revealed as a hoax – and was in fact a model monster stuck to a toy submarine. It was created by Christopher Spurling and his stepfather Maramaduke Wetherell, who had been hired by the newspaper to find Nessie.
Nevertheless, stories of the Loch Ness monster abound, and scientists have not stopped looking for her.
A recent study published in the journal JMIRx Bio investigated whether Loch Ness sightings could instead be that of a giant eel.
The research debunked this theory, proving Nessie is not an eel – but could not say what she is.
Source: Read Full Article