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5 best Nessie sightings - keeper of Official Loch Ness Monster Register gives his verdict


By Val Sweeney

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What are the best Loch Ness Monster "sightings"?
What are the best Loch Ness Monster "sightings"?

Hundreds of sightings of something unexplained on Loch Ness have been reported over the centuries.

But it was only in 1933 that the term "Loch Ness Monster" was coined following a sighting by Drumnadrochit hotel manageress Aldie Mackay on April 14.

Following his own experience of seeing something unexplained, Gary Campbell has made it his task to record sightings on the Official Loch Ness Monster Register.

Related stories:

Gary picks out the five best sightings of all times:

1. St Columba – 564:

The earliest report of a strange water creature appears in an ancient text from the sixth century.

It describes an encounter by the Irish monk Saint Columba who was staying in the near the mouth of the River Ness.

The first reported sighting of a strange water creature was by St Columba who banished it from the River Ness to Loch Ness.
The first reported sighting of a strange water creature was by St Columba who banished it from the River Ness to Loch Ness.

On hearing of a monster, he sent one of his companions to test out the river.

On seeing the monster, Columba made the sign of the cross and banished the creature to Loch Ness.

2. Aldie MacKay – April 14 1933:

The modern-day phenomenon of Nessie was sparked by a sighting by Drumnadrochit hotel manageress Aldie Mackay.

A report subsequently appeared in the Inverness Courier which used the term "monster" for the first time.

The Inverness Courier reported in 1933 that a "monster" had been seen on Loch Ness.
The Inverness Courier reported in 1933 that a "monster" had been seen on Loch Ness.

According to the report, a well-known businessman, living near Inverness, and his wife – a university graduate – were driving along the north shore of the loch not far from Abriachan Pier when they were startled to see "a tremendous upheaval on the loch, which, previously, had been as calm as the proverbial mill-pond".

They saw a whale-like creature which rolled and plunged for a minute, the water cascading and churning like a simmering cauldron before it disappeared in a boiling mass of foam.

The report continued: "The watchers waited almost half-an-hour in the hope that the monster – if that's what it was – would come to the surface again.

"But they had seen the last of it."

3. R K Wilson – April 19 1934:

During a trip to the Highlands, Dr Robert Kenneth Wilson took the "Surgeon's Photo" which cemented the image of Nessie in the minds of the public.

The "Surgeon's Photograph" was the image of the Loch Ness Monster for many years. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.
The "Surgeon's Photograph" was the image of the Loch Ness Monster for many years. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

The London physician was with a friend to photograph birds when he noticed a commotion in the water. He took a pictured depicting what appeared to be the slender neck of an animal rising from the surface of the water.

After being published in the London Daily Mail, it became the image of the Loch Ness Monster.

But since the 1990s it has been widely acknowledged as being a hoax.

4. Gary Campbell – March 14 1996:

The keeper of the Official Loch Ness Monster Register lists his own sighting which spurred him to set up the register.

He spotted something on the water near Abriachan while he was parked up in his car.

He said it looked a bit like a mini whale, about 10ft to 12ft long. The sighting lasted just a few seconds.

5. Richard White – March 22 1997:

Richard White, of Muir of Ord, was travelling down the south side of the loch when he saw a number of black humps moving through the water about 200m from the shore.

Mr Campbell said the series of 10 pictures he took are probably the most intriguing ever.

When the news broke the world's media was so enthralled that Mr White was flown to Canada to give a personal account of what he saw.


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