Friday did not begin for me with the chatter of folk or the revving of engines. It began at 2 'clock in the morning as I arose to hunt the monster of Loch Ness by night and then by dawn. The reasoning is clear enough and has been repeated by other monster hunters throughout the decades. The theory is that this creature of the cold, dark deep will be more inclined to break surface if it is also cold and dark. Likewise, researchers speculate that the creature is more likely to put in an appearance around daybreak as that dark recedes and the noise of humans is yet to jar upon the senses of the creature.
That does not make an appearance a foregone conclusion, but hopefully tilts the odds in one's favour. With that in mind, I set up the night vision binoculars on their tripod facing out into the dark gloom of the loch from the shingle of Foyers beach. The composite video feed from the binoculars is fed via usb into a video capture software package which can then record anything of interest to hard disk.
The coverage afforded by this technique would be about 18 square miles to the horizon, though not all of that area is simultaneously covered and objects become less detailed as the horizon is reached. As it happened, I was entertained by two ducks which showed up well on the software, but no monster hoved into view. The picture below shows them, but nothing was visible to the naked eye.
Even though the official sunrise time was given as about 0420, the light levels began to perceptibly rise about 0345 and I decided to do my now traditional dashcam drive up "Monster Alley". To recap for new readers, the Loch Ness Monster has been reported on land since Victorian times. Why it should do that is a matter of debate, but the majority of these reports come from the stretch of shore between Foyers and Dores. Some of these have occurred on the road running past the shore and combining this with the previous arguments about darkness and dawn, I hit the road with my dashcam trained on the road and headlights at full beam.
Capturing a lumbering thirty foot monster on dashcam is not the sole aim of this experiment. I also want to see what else happens on these roads in order to understand the full range of phenomena. Now that includes deer and I finally managed to get some decent video of deer crossing the road in front of me. Unfortunately, uploading video on a campsite wifi is not the fastest facility, so I defer to a screen grab and leave the videos for another day.
In fact, I saw six deer during that one hour run, a lot more than I usually do. One was a bambi, perhaps weeks old, which just stood on the road looking at me and wondering what to do next. I trundled to a halt in a Mexican stand-off kind of way as this little critter defied me to pass. I began to inch towards it and it decided discretion was the better part of valour and bolted across the road. It's mother watched me from the bushes, but decided not to follow at that point!
Evidently, dawn is a good time to spot deer. My reason for these dashcam recordings pertains to the explanation that deer are mistaken for monsters in such instances. I doubt this and will expand on it more in a later article.
Towards 5am, I decided it was light enough to resort to my usual camera and I returned to base and to the mouth of the river Foyers (opposite the island where Tim Dinsdale used to maintain a lonely retreat). From here I maintained a watch until 6am and decided to call it a day. Keeping a focused watch on the loch with little sleep is no fun.
The rest of the day was more of a go-slow due to my rather tired state of mind. A visit was made to Fort Augustus, another to Invermoriston where I took some pictures in regard to a future article on the Hugh Cockrell photograph of 1958.
Finally, I paid my respects at the grave of dear old Alex Campbell, laid to rest in 1983 near Fort Augustus amidst the clamouring voices of those who doubted his integrity. This man's report of the Mackay sighting in May 1933 to the Inverness Courier began a phenomenon which has not stopped to this day, and I for one salute him and defend his honest part in this drama.
And so, farewell. Tomorrow I head back to Edinburgh and will further process what has been learnt, including a large amount of trap camera pictures!
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