It's pointless trying to disprove Nessie
Aug 08, 2023
ASK anyone to name the most famous Scot of them all and the chances are the answers would all be very different, ranging from William Wallace to Sean Connery.
Scotland, to be fair, has produced many notable people who have helped shape the world in some way.
Certainly, there are more answers to the question than there are when you are asked to name a famous Belgian. Tintin and Audrey Hepburn spring to mind, but beyond that I’m struggling.
But the most famous Scot of all is actually almost certainly something that may not even exist – namely, the Loch Ness Monster.
Everywhere you go in the world, someone will always ask you if you’ve seen the Loch Ness Monster and all Scots will instinctively reply – yes, of course, even when we quite clearly haven’t.
Nessie is worth an estimated £41 million a year to the Scottish economy, after all, so who are we to put that under threat by saying she doesn’t actually exist to someone when they ask after her?
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There is probably nothing else in the country that is worth that amount on it’s own and even the most sceptical of us are happy to go along with it.
Whether she actually exists or not is neither here nor there.
Later this month, the latest and largest search for the elusive Nessie in decades will get under way.
Staff from the newly revamped Loch Ness Centre at Drumnadrochit have teamed up with a group of independent and voluntary researchers, Loch Ness Exploration (LNE), to conduct the biggest surface water survey in more than 50 years.
The centre is seeking more budding Nessie hunters to get involved in the search, which is planned for August 26 and 27.
The search is expected to be the largest of its kind since the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau studied the loch for signs of the mythical monster in 1972.
Surveying equipment that has never been used on the loch before will be deployed to uncover the secrets of the mysterious waters.
This will include drones which will produce thermal images of the water from the air using infrared cameras.
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A hydrophone will also be used to detect acoustic signals under the water, listening for any Nessie-like calls, as well as other technology that could prove useful in the search.
The Loch Ness Centre and LNE are looking for volunteers to keep an eye out for any breaks in the water or any other inexplicable movements over the weekend.
Each morning, Alan McKenna from LNE will brief volunteers at the centre on what to look out for and how to record findings.
The Loch Ness Centre is located at the old Drumnadrochit Hotel, where it is said manageress Aldie Mackay reported seeing a “water beast” in Loch Ness 90 years ago.
Quite what they’ll do if they find her is unclear, but a few libations at a local hostelry will probably be in order.
But why are people so fascinated with actually proving she does or doesn’t exist? Nessie is what you want her to be, after all.
It’s utterly pointless because she is ingrained in our folklore and we Scots are actually quite proud of her so we will find a way to keep the myth going somehow. Probably by lying, admittedly.
The national animal of Scotland is a unicorn, after all, so we know how to stretch the credibility of mythical creatures.
I swear that I once saw Nessie, but drink had been taken at a fine establishment on the banks of the loch.
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It could have been a boat, a stick or even an elephant but I told all the children in the place – none of which were mine incidentally – and, after a few points at random spots in the water, they believed me.
Hopefully they will then go on and tell their children in the future and the myth will continue to be passed on through the generations, just as it should be.
Americans still seek out Big Foot and there are annual treks to the Himalayas to try to and find the Yeti, so why can’t we Scots continue to spin a very lucrative yarn?
The chances of the latest team finding Nessie are slim to zero but I’m sure they’ll all have an absolute hoot while taking part.
Just as millions of tourists like them have done ever since the modern Nessie was “spotted” again on July 22, nd 1933, and kickstarted the fascination all over again.
Even Saint Columba had earlier got in on the act by describing Nessie way back in the 6th century and there’s very little chance of him telling a lie.
However, there’s as much chance of seeing Nessie this month as there is of riding a unicorn through Scotch mist with the Grey Man of Ben Macdhui, but it’s great that she still draws such fascination.
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