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.
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.”