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Monster discovery made on Loch Ness

By Eilidh Davies

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Monster scene in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo
Monster scene in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

THE remains of a monster have been discovered in Loch Ness following an underwater sonar-imaging investigation.

Operation Groundtruth has uncovered a recognisable creature 180 metres down on the loch bed.

But although it is the shape of Nessie, it is not the remains of the monster that has mystified the world for years.

In fact, it is one that has inhabited the loch for a much shorter time and is a star of the silver screen.

The finding is that of a 30-foot Loch Ness Monster model from the 1970 film, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Robert Stephens and Christopher Lee. It is thought the model sank after its humps, which were buoyancy aids, were removed – never to be seen again, until now.

The monster was actually a submarine in the original movie.

Led by Kongsberg Maritime and supported by the Loch Ness Project and VisitScotland, the mission using Munin, a state-of-the-art intelligent marine robot, has revealed new information about the elusive 230m deep Loch, uncovering areas underwater that have never been reached before.

Other findings have revealed that claims around a “Nessie trench” in the northern basin of the Loch made in January are incorrect, as the new, more precise underwater evidence shows that there is in fact no anomaly or abyss in the location specified.

A 27-foot long shipwreck has also been uncovered at the bottom of the Loch under this new investigation and the team is looking for more information on the origins of the boat.

The survey, the first of its kind in Scotland, has being carried out over two weeks by Kongsberg, with an analysis of findings and discoveries every day. Loch Ness has been notoriously difficult to survey in the past due to its depth and steeply sloping side “walls” consisting of hard clay and rocky outcrops.

Kongsberg used its Munin marine robot for the work, a highly accurate underwater vehicle whose operations in the past have included searches for downed aircraft, sunken vessels and marine forensic investigations.

Operating autonomously, the four metre-long device carries state-of-the-art sonars that efficiently map vast areas to depths of up to 1500m.

Craig Wallace, subsea applications engineer at Kongsberg Maritime, said: “Kongsberg first surveyed Loch Ness with some of the world’s first multi-beam sonar back in 1987 and has regularly visited, bringing the latest technology to uncover this loch’s mysteries. Munin is the most advanced low logistic autonomous underwater vehicle in the world.”

Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness Project, said: “It is a pleasure to have Kongsberg supporting Operation Groundtruth. Because Munin can dive and navigate itself safely at great depth, it can approach features of interest and image them at extremely high resolution. We already have superb images of the hitherto difficult side wall topography and look forward to discovering artifacts symbolic of the human history of the area.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “We are excited about the findings from this in-depth survey by Kongsberg, but no matter how state-of-the-art the equipment is, and no matter what it reveals, there will always be a sense of mystery and the unknown around what really lies beneath Loch Ness.”

Meanwhile bookies Ladbrokes do not have much faith that the real Nessie will ever be found, now making it a 10,000/1 shot there's a spotting on UK shores.

Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: "Nessie's getting old now and the odds suggest the search party should probably call it a day."

Loch Ness Monster to be found alive 10,000/1.

A monster image picked up by the sonar equipment.
A monster image picked up by the sonar equipment.

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