Wednesday, 21 September 2016

In The Dead of the Night

"As darkness settled over the Great Glen I began to realise what a strange place I had come into. After sunset, Loch Ness is not a water by which to linger. The feeling is hard to define and impossible to explain. But there are reasons for all things and it is true that the soul of man was not forged in a day. Our genes have come down over a million years, from hutments and lake-dwellings, from dark gorges and cold caves. The seat of man's deepest instincts was planted sometime before the Pleistoscene; our subconcious has accumulated many strange impressions and none of these can be gainsaid. After dark I felt that Loch Ness was better left alone."

So said Ted Holiday in his book, "The Great Orm of Loch Ness", over a generation ago in regard to his first expedition to the loch. I was not even born when Holiday arrived there in 1962. But this week I stood along the same stretch of lonely road fifty four years later and took the picture above as a nearly full moon shone upon the loch's wavering waters.

However, the troubled thoughts Ted Holiday had concerning a dark Loch Ness did not really impact me as I stood there at about five thirty in the morning near the end of one of my regular night runs between Inverfarigaig and Dores. The road's official designation is the B852 but I nickname it "Monster Alley" due to its high proportion of reports of Nessie on land.

Of course, when one is on their own in moonlit darkness by the side of a loch with a monstrous reputation, they might feel some unease. There is the evil that lingers from Boleskine House just about a mile away plus nearby stories of necromancers and ghouls assaulting monster hunters. But, I think I was more inclined towards serenity as I scanned the peaceful scene before me and the waves lapping against the stones below what is called "The Wall".

With the dashcam camera attached to the car windscreen, I recorded the whole trip and anything of interest that happened along the way. This nine mile stretch of road just before dawn is the best situation for witnessing a land sighting, though the odds are still very much against anyone being party to such an extraordinary prospect. It is a mystery within a mystery as to why these creatures make these rarest of rare appearances.

The basics of such cases were laid out in this article, but since 1960 there has been only thirteen claimed land reports. That is about one every four years for the entire perimeter of the loch. Clearly, one should not bet the house on having such an experience even with the best intentions and preparation.

That said, the raison d'etre behind these night runs is not just monstrous. I have been conducting deer studies as I plow these dark miles and now have a better understanding of the behaviour of deer in regard to the sceptical use of them in such monster cases. I will use these in future articles.

A video of the same scene is below (though the uploaded video is never as good a quality as the original). More on my recent trip to Loch Ness will follow.


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  1. Seems I need a 'plug in' to play the video, Firefox ain't too happy with Flash.

    1. Try this other link:

  2. Assuming we start from a firm belief that there is a large creature that inhabits the peaty dark waters of Loch Ness, I have often speculated how I would feel if said beast arose from out of the waters close by where I was standing. The awe inspiring sight would be incredible, but I have also wondered how dangerous such a beast would be to a nearby onlooker. I have heard of various accounts of the beast arising up out of the water almost without a sound, and the spot I'm imagining on the road near Inverfarigaig is virtually at the Loch side. I'm sure we would all try and remain calm in such a situation, but the reality would probably be otherwise!! Anyhow you are right Roland there is always a strange sense of something mysterious that surrounds that area. Hope you enjoyed your run up to the Loch m8 and trust one day soon you will witness this mysterious creature

    1. Tim, please check out the sighting report in the archive dated 2/21-2/28. I believe you'll find it fascinating ... and eerie!

    2. Will do Paddy as much as I'm looking forward to returning to the Loch with my brother around the end of October, a sense of forboding goes before me. I would be delighted if I came back with the clearest evident that the beast exists (which of course you would all see firsthand lol)

    3. Even if the creature was a man-eater, since its existence is officially denied, so will any such activity.

  3. I have had many a night camping out in loch ness, and in fact I had a couple of nights camping only 2 weeks ago near fort augustus. It can be very eerie I must say, but magical at the same time. Enjoy your stay Roland.

  4. The picture reminds me of Innes Smith's moonlight sighting from 2001:

  5. If loch ness lore is to be believed the beast surely is sensitive to the sound of an oncoming car ?
    I'm baffled by the usually sensible glasgow boy's fascination with the alleged land sightings, not one of them stands up to any serious scrutiny.
    Maybe he [ like me ] just likes driving round the loch :)

    1. 30 foot monster in the water, 30 foot monster out of the water.

      What the diff?

    2. 5 foot head
      These lake monsters sometimes arenambush predators.
      Lake Superior monster,Pressie,stalked randy braun who was walking on shore.And several people disappear near presque river inlet on lake superior where Pressie got his name.
      Recently 3 fishermannsaw Pressie bite a buck deer in half near the inlet of presque river.pressie vanished with the other half of the deer.
      Ogopogo has vanished henry murdoch in 1938 and the son of alan skarbo in the 1970s.
      Plus ogo goes on land and can really move fast ( on land).
      Sleep in your car.

    3. I disagree.Some of the sightings stand up to scrutiny very well indeed.
      Ian's even has a photo!!

    4. To "john rutherford".
      Why aee you baffled at rolands facination with land sightings?
      You are aware that Roland runs a Lochness monster website right?

    5. "john", no more ad hominems please.

  6. yes , I am aware .

    It's just that most serious students and writers dismiss the land sightings as the crazy looney fringe of LNM history and I certainly don't put roland in that area. Im just surprised he rates the land sightings as worth investigating.

    what are we taking, last land sighting, 55 years ago, torquil McLeod maybe ?

    does GB really think his nocturnal drives will result in anything other than adding mileage to his car ?

    1. 2009, Iain Whitlock.

      As I said in my post, I also drive to conduct some deer research. All in the name of science, John! If an LNM decides to hove into view, who am I to deny it with a dashcam running?

      Plenty of LNM researchers believed the animal took to land. Dinsdale, Holiday, Whyte off the top of my head.

      Funnily enough, Frank Searle discounted all land sightings.