Tuesday 19 January 2016

New Record Depth for Loch Ness?

Has a new depth of 889 feet been recorded in Loch Ness, beating the established record of 754 feet by 135 feet? New sonar readings suggest so, but some third party verification may be required here. You may remember "Edward's Deep" of 812 feet which failed to stand up to verification, so some caution is required when side echoes from the loch all can "muddy" the waters.

What more interested me was this line, though I doubt we will hear more about it:

But two weeks ago, I got a sonar image of what looked like a long object with a hump lying at the bottom. It wasn't there when I scanned the loch bed later. 
Link to original story here and also here.

It has evaded capture for years, with dozens of alleged sightings and endless speculation about its whereabouts. 

But the hunt for the Loch Ness monster has just become even more arduous, after a retired fisherman used sonar equipment to show that it could be hiding at previously undiscovered depths. 
Tourist sightseeing boat skipper Keith Stewart, 43, claims to have found a crevice large enough for the phantom beast to be hiding in, about nine miles east of Inverness. 

Britain's deepest loch is Loch Morar, allegedly home to another elusive “water kelpie” Morag at 1017 feet. 
Loch Ness is the UK’s second largest, with an official maximum depth previously recorded at 754 feet. However, Mr Stewart says that his newly discovered crevice measures 889 feet deep, according to his state of the art sonar equipment. 

His colleagues at Jacobite Cruises, which operates sightseeing cruises down Loch Ness from Inverness, have labelled it “Keith's Abyss”. 

"I wasn't really a believer of the monster beforehand,” Mr Stewart said. 

“But two weeks ago, I got a sonar image of what looked like a long object with a hump lying at the bottom. It wasn't there when I scanned the loch bed later. 

"That intrigued me and then I found this dark shape about half way between the Clansman Hotel and Drumnadrochit which transpired to be a crevice or trench. 

“I measured it with our state of the art 3D equipment at 889 feet. I have gone back several times over the abyss and I have verified my measurements. 

"It is only about a few hundred yards offshore whereas previous sonar searches have traditionally been down the middle of the loch. 

"Searches of the monster have also been in those areas as well as Urquhart Bay so maybe the local legends of underwater caves connecting Loch Ness to other lochs and perhaps even the waters of the east and west coast are true.” 

Mr Stewart conceded that his discovery will “need more research” adding: “It is possible that an underwater earthquake has opened this up in recent times because the Great Glen lies in a well known fault in the earth's crust and tremors have been felt along it.” 

Adrian Shine, leader of the scientific research organisation The Loch Ness Project, said that he and his colleagues “may well take a look at the area” identified by Mr Stewart. 

However, he urged caution about sonar readings taken close to the edge of the loch. 

“I would be cautious [about Mr Stewart’s findings] because there is an anomaly which occurs with sonar readings taken close to the side walls called lobe echos, which can give misleading results about the depth. 

“It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your sonar equipment is, you can still get this anomaly.” 

Gary Campbell, president of Loch Ness Monster Fan Club and Registrar of Sightings said that Mr Stewart’s discovery “adds another dimension” to the search for the phantom beast. 

“We thought the loch was 810 feet deep and just had a 20 foot diameter hole at the bottom,” he said.

“Now we've discovered a whole trench that makes the loch nearly 900 feet deep which is twice the depth of the North Sea. There could be more trenches which make it deeper. 

"Loch Ness is part of a huge earthquake fault line that runs from Canada to Norway. In 2013, there was a 2.4 magnitude quake in the loch - this was when Nessie disappeared for a whole year for the first time since 1925.” 


  1. Even without this latest deep find, there are plenty of deep trenches or crevices for any population of large animals to hide. So, the suggestion that Nessie's hideaway has been found is a bit presumptuous and premature.

  2. From what I gather, Adrian Shine would be a good man to listen to over this issue. I'm also a little confused as to how Mr Stewart identified a humped 'something' that was possibly mobile. I was under the impression that sonar needed some expert interpretation, and what you see isn't quite what you get. I'm as enthusiastic as the next man, but this may not add up to much, even though Mr Stewart may be a genuine guy.

  3. Martin I know very little about sonar, and had the same thought as you, but KS claims he has state of the art 3D sonar so maybe he can see such details?

    1. I tend to think this may be a new record if it is true that he went over the same spot and confirmed it. But it it useful to use another instrument to verify this.

      If it was side echoes, I would presume being a somewhat random event it would produce different readings each time.

      If side echoes do persistently confuse the picture, one wonders how any depth could be tested.

    2. The other consideration is why they hadn't noticed this before since I assume this was a regular route for the Jacobite Cruises?

  4. A new recorded depth of nearly 900 ft? All these years right under the nose's of the main Sceptics? Surely not.

  5. I was taking a look at some 3d sonar technology on sale, and it wasn't an exhaustive search but I seem to be finding that the imaging technology has a fairly short range. 30-120m was the general maximum distance, which is a fair bit shorter than the claimed 300m, at which there appeared to be a long shape with a hump. Maybe I'll stand corrected on this as I am certainly no expert, and I was quite surprised to see the level of detail that this up to date sonar can resolve. But it did seem to be at fairly short ranges, and a lot of the units seem to be designed for use on remote vehicles.

  6. A reader by the name of "noblefir52" emailed me to make this suggestion about depth verification:

    "Bypass all of the technological debate by using a non-technological method of depth verification: the tried and proven technique of "sounding." You yourself have used the sounding map of the Loch in a few of your articles. There was no sonar when that chart was made, yet no one seriously doubts its depth readings. Nor should they, as the system is quite simple and very low-tech. It is not subject to those who enjoy arguing for its own sake. One cannot simply parrot inanities about echoes, steep sidewalls or thermoclines if a standard sounding system is used. For, it is difficult to debate with a weighted, marked rope.

    If the boat captain can relocate his place of discovery a third time with his sonar, then the sounding equipment cannot fail to give a true depth reading at that location.

  7. It does take someone to have a bit of common sense I suppose!

    1. It is almost 900 ft they even saidbit in a documentary from years ago if keith went over it 3 times and it still read 889ft then u have to take his word for it i dont believe adrian that he says it was an echo ot if keith went over the spot 3 times there are a lot of caves down there and probably caves with air and huge spaces for a family of 4 plesiosaurs or elasmosaurs could live and i think thats why u dont see them at the surface often because they have hugenair caves and canals where they can hide but i do believe there arent many left it would depend in how many there where sincenthe first sighting even without the new trench depth there are side tunnels on the side walls that could lead to caves of air since its too dark at those depths there is probably no way even with mini subs or anything to tell for sure

  8. General article about this...


  9. This may be of some (indirect) interest also; if the Chinese findings are accurate there may be an entire "Lost World" under the Antarctic giant canyon: