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DIANE KNOX: Travel writer Cameron Hewitt claims there’s no Nessie – what a cheek!

By Diane Knox

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Willie Cameron on the shore of Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit.
Willie Cameron on the shore of Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit.

I have some good friends here in the States who just returned from a golf trip to Scotland. They travelled the length and breadth of the country, spending most of their time in St Andrews and Edinburgh, but made sure to explore the lesser-known parts too.

It’s safe to say they loved our wee country and had an incredible time.

When they got back, I asked them what they enjoyed most – aside from the golf. Right away, in unison, they both said: “The people!”

I love hearing that; I always tell Americans that we’re a very friendly country of people and you’ll always make a pal in Scotland, wherever you go.

The other thing they said, which definitely resonated with me, was that Scottish people are extremely proud to be Scottish, and even though we’re self-deprecating you better not say a bad word against us. So it really struck a chord with me this past week when I read an article written by American travel writer Cameron Hewitt.

Upon further investigation, Cameron is a writer, guidebook publisher and photographer based in Seattle. And no, I had never heard of him until I saw his quite frankly blasphemous comments about Loch Ness – our loch!

He had taken a drive from Inverness to Skye, and after feeling extremely underwhelmed by our much-loved tourist attraction, took to social media and voiced his disdain. He even went as far to say it was “the most boring, and over-hyped lake I have ever laid eyes on”. A LAKE! Oh, boy…

As you can imagine, locals and Scottish tourism groups weren’t best pleased with Mr Hewitt’s remarks.

Loch Ness was recently named the third most Insta-worthy landmark in the UK in a survey that looked at location hashtags used in Instagram posts. The attraction is frequently included on “Things You Must Do in Scotland” lists and generates a huge amount of tourism, and money, in the Highlands.

The mystery surrounding Nessie, and the constant quest for a sighting of the monster, keeps people coming back year after year – even locals!

Cameron Hewitt went as far as to say “there is no Loch Ness Monster…period.” What a cheek!

Hewitt’s got a bit of nerve to complain about the stunning scenery of Loch Ness when he resides in Seattle, known to be the greyest, rainiest city in the United States.

However, his one saving grace was his comments about Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre, which he called “one of the most interesting, best-presented, most evocative historical sights I’ve seen in the


As someone who grew up five minutes from the battlefield, I’ll give him a small pass for that one.

Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews get the most attention from tourists, and I can see why. The main airports are in the central belt, with easy transport links and lots to experience. But Loch Ness is the real magnet that pulls tourists north.

I hear it all the time when I tell people I’m from Inverness – the first thing they mention is Nessie!

It’s pretty damaging for a travel writer to give it such a scathing review, even going as far to call the loch “a giant waste of space”.

Good thing he doesn’t seem to be all that well-known... And if I ever come across one of his guidebooks, I’ll be sure to avoid it – that’s for you, Team Nessie!

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