I got an email from Phil, who follows this blog and sent me some scans from Lea MacNally's 1968 book, "Highland Year". Lea MacNally was an expert in Highland wildlife, with the emphasis on deer as he was a deer stalker. However, it turns out he was also a believer in the Loch Ness Monster and has a sighting to tell off in his book which I reproduce below. I don't think this report made it into the "records".
Loch Ness has the distinction, perhaps not altogether enviable, of being known throughout Britain as the home of `the monster'. To me, the fact that its banks afford shelter to a rich variety of wild life is much more of an attraction than any monster. The existence of 'something' in Loch Ness was held as a matter of course by the old folk of the district, and one veteran ex-stalker told me that it was never referred to as 'the monster' then but simply as 'the big beast'! The fact that it was seen on occasion was accepted without fuss or publicity until the newspapers got hold of it and it became a cause for country-wide speculation.
I myself, though I was born near Loch Ness and have spent most of my life overlooking it, have never seen the monster. But my wife, not a native of the district, has — and this only a year after she came to live here, a sighting which she has never publicized, and indeed has told to no one but myself. She saw it on a clear sunny June afternoon as she walked down the road from our house with Loch Ness, still as a millpond, before her. An object, as she later described to me, like the dark-coloured head and neck of a giraffe broke the calm, still surface of the loch and proceeded at speed across it, leaving a V-shaped ripple behind it. As suddenly as it had appeared so did it submerge, and within moments the loch was like a mirror again. I envy my wife this sighting, and though I have never seen the monster myself I am convinced that there is something strange in Loch Ness. Many reputable people of my acquaintance have seen 'something'; too many for me to presume to deny its existence.
Admittedly, there is not much to go on as it is not a detailed report. However, it was MacNally's own thoughts on the phenomenon that were equally as interesting. He tells us that the "big beast", as it was known, was an accepted part of the loch before 1933. Note no publicity pursued it in those earlier days which is consistent with the small number of reports we have in 19th century media.
Finally, too many people had seen "something" to deny its existence. MacNally would have been a frequent observer of the loch. His knowledge of those waters as well as his knowledge of deer and other wildlife clearly did not lead him to think there were "normal" explanations for what was going on at Loch Ness.
Mr. MacNally, Fellow of the Edinburgh Zoological Society and the National Trust for Scotland’s first ranger ecologist, I can only agree with you!
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