Vote for the best Nessie sighting of 2017
50% off a six-month digital e-edition subscription with promo code '50OFF'
NESSIE spotters from across the world are competing for a £1500 cash prize after 2017 turned out to be a record-breaking year with the highest number of sightings this century.
A total of 11 sightings – all including picture or video evidence – were recorded by Gary Campbell who keeps the official register of sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.
Voting is now open to decide the best encounter from 10 entries submitted for the annual competition run by the Inverness Courier in conjunction with Mr Campbell and sponsored by bookmaker William Hill. The poll will close on Monday, March 5, at 6am.
This year, the prize money has been increased to £1500 from the usual £1000 in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the Courier which also reported the first modern-day sighting of the Loch Ness Monster in May 1933, triggering one of the world's most enduring enigmas which continues to this day.
There were concerns in early 2014 when there were no reported sightings for 18 months – the first time in almost 90 years, resulting in the annual competition having to be cancelled.
But Mr Campbell is delighted with the number of reported encounters last year.
"This is proof that Nessie is alive and well and it's really great that all of the reports have come with some sort of visual evidence to back them up," he said.
The sightings were spread throughout the year and were submitted by people from all over the world.
In June, the Inverness Courier published the first pictures of Nessie taken by an Australian and as in previous years, the Nessie on the Net webcam allowed people from all over the globe to join in the hunt.
"I'm particularly pleased with the variety of sightings, both in terms of the photographic evidence and the locations on the loch," Mr Campbell said.
"The pictures and videos show an element of consistency in what people are seeing but also that a Nessie sighting can take place just about anywhere on the loch."
The annual sightings competition is now in its 20th year.
"I can't say which is the best sighting of 2017 – that's up to the general public to decide via the Courier website," Mr Campbell said.
"I would say, though, that some of this year's sightings provide really good evidence to support the fact that Nessie is definitely there."
Rupert Adams, international public relations manager for William Hill, said it had been a bumper year for sightings.
"In honour of the Inverness Courier's special bi-centenary year and its special contribution to the Nessie story, William Hill has decided to increase the prize money this year to £1500," he said.
April 28 – Angela Cairney, from Dunbartonshire, was at the loch with three of her friends when they saw a 20m long series of waves move at about 5mph along the surface 500m out. It came out of nowhere and then disappeared the same way.
They have confirmed that there was no relevant boat traffic in the area. The sighting took place at 3pm from a layby on the A82 road between Drumnadrochit and Inverness.
June 12 – Paula Powell, from Canada, took a five minute video from the Loch Ness webcam at 11.20am. It shows an unknown object moving slowly down the middle of the loch towards Fort Augustus. This was similar to the further recording she took on June 26.
June 22 – Peter Jackson and his wife, visiting from Australia, snapped something in the loch four miles south of Urquhart Castle at 5.18pm. The sighting lasted about five minutes.
June 26 – Paula Powell, from Canada, took a further video from the Loch Ness webcam at 7pm. It shows an unknown object moving slowly north on the loch near Urquhart Castle.
August 22 – Leon Stuparich, from London, was walking with three friends from the Dores Inn to Tor Point. As they came to the shore on the point, all four saw something huge in the water.
They said it was an unusual shape. It arched out of the water then turned and went down underwater. The sighting took place at 3.41pm and lasted about 10 seconds.
September 10 – Jessica Bergman, of Germany, spotted an object while watching the loch's webcam during a stay at an Edinburgh hotel, two days after visiting Loch Ness.
Although it was quite far away, she said the object must have been quite big. It came out of the water and moved and then slowly sank back into the water.
September 25 – Diana Turner, from the USA, was watching the Nessie on the Net webcam in the afternoon when she spotted a strange wake movement on the water. The sighting lasted about two minutes and other than the boat in the distance, she saw no other traffic on the loch.
October 2 – Rebecca Stewart, from Oldham, was on honeymoon when she saw something moving in the water from the pier at Fort Augustus at 4pm. The creature disappeared when a boat came out from the canal to the loch.
October 3 – Megan Clarkson, from Florida, took a one minute, 48 second video from the Nessie on the Net webcam. It shows an animate object moving through the water close to the shore in Urquhart Bay. It is travelling out of the bay, quite close to the shore and heading towards the castle.
November 2 – Jo Knight and her son, from the north of England, pictured what appears to be a fin or similar at 11.25am from a cruise boat on the loch. They did not realise that they'd snapped anything until they were going through their holiday pictures and saw the creature coming through the waves.
* Pick your favourite Nessie sighting below. Voting closes at 6am on Monday, March 5. The judges' decision is final.