Encounters with Billy Connolly, Robin Williams and Ewan McGregor - but still looking for Loch Ness Monster after 32 years
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At his converted mobile library home on the shores of Loch Ness, Steve Feltham has been patiently waiting for a sighting of Nessie for almost 32 years.
The full-time Nessie hunter is recognised by Guinness World Records for the longest continuous monster-hunting vigil of the loch, having arrived on July 18, 1991 after leaving behind his job, home and girlfriend in Dorset.
Although he has yet to claim a sighting from his base at Dores, Nessie has had a huge impact on his life, bringing him into contact with thousands of visitors from around the world in their own search for answers to the mystery of Loch Ness.
With Friday (April 14) marking the 90th anniversary of the now-famous sighting by Aldie Mackay – which sparked
modern-day Loch Ness Monster phenomenon – Steve contemplated how it influenced his life.
"I would not have moved up here if it was not for the Loch Ness Monster," reflected Steve (60).
"If I just wanted to sit and study a bit of beautiful water, I would have headed south rather than north - probably the Mediterranean if that was the only motivation.
"The mystery is such an important part of it.
"What I love about here is that when I am sitting on Dores beach I can look towards Tor Point.
"That is the place where Aldie Mackay's sighting took place. You can see where her husband would have parked his car.
"I can picture the scene. I can feel that real connection."
Steve once spotted something "unexplained" in the water near Fort Augustus in 1992.
"It was like a torpedo going through water," he recalled.
"I had been here about a year full time.
"It gave me the false impression the job was going to be easier."
As he continues his vigil, he makes clay models of Nessie to sell and hears stories of unexplained sightings from passing visitors.
On one occasion he was guide to Billy Connolly and some of his A-list pals including Robin Williams, Eric Idle and Ewan McGregor.
"He wanted to go somewhere they would not be pestered and so they hired a boat which would normally work out of Fort Augustus," he recalled.
"They needed someone to answer questions and so enlisted me to go along."
Last year, he met comedy stars and keen anglers Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse when they visited the Highlands for their TV show, Gone Fishing.
Steve has also appeared in a short film made for the big screen – The Monster Hunter made by a director from Oscar -winner Ridley Scott’s company.
"Really for me, it is a privilege to be allowed to sit and contemplate this view. It has been imprinted on my brain.
"I love the unpredictability of this location and its mystery.
"From day to day, I don't know what is going to come next."
While it might seem a solitary existence, Steve insists the opposite is the case.
"Some people would look at what I do and think 'poor tragic freak living in a van, living like a hermit'. Nothing could be further from the truth."
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He says the Loch Ness Monster phenomenon remains as strong as it every was.
"I really do think that because we get an occasional glimpse of 'something', it leaves us wondering what was that," he said.
"As much as the world is very logical nowadays, a lot of people come here not after that expectation of seeing something but the belief in the romance of all the possibilities and that everything is not known in the world yet – and there could still be some big animals swimming about in a 23-mile long bit of water.
"The mystery of the Loch Ness Monster is also very much a gateway to the Highlands.
"People come to Loch Ness but then perhaps go on to the west, or to the mountains.
"I meet people who come back time after time after they initially see Loch Ness and they absolutely love it."