Friday, 22 June 2018

An Unsettling Incident from Loch Ness




It was back in February that I gave a talk on the monster to the SSPR, a society founded by Glasgow University's Emeritus Professor of Astronomy, Archie Roy. Coincidentally, he taught me the mathematical delights of Celestial Mechanics many moons ago.  After the talk, I made my acquaintance with Sandy, a monster believer for years and one with a story to tell. He recounted his experience to me and was happy to email it to me for general dissemination. Without further ado, I present his story here.

My wife and I were staying at a B&B in Dores (The Pottery House) for the weekend in mid October 2010. I arranged to borrow a local residents canoe and, after a late start, we set off in perfectly calm weather to paddle a straight line from Dores village to Urquhart Bay. We have our own canoe in Glasgow so are quite experienced and the kind donor gave us life jackets etc.

We reached Urquhart Bay about 3:00pm and stopped for a rest and lunch. After exploring the area around the mouth of the river Enrick we decided to head back. At this point I realised that it would be dark before we reached our destination but, since the weather was perfect with hardly any breeze, we set off. 

It was a little cloudy but after we reached the middle of the loch it began raining and the sun had set. We carried on with me in the rear of the canoe and my wife in front. The rain stopped and the clouds broke up a bit. You could see the reflections of them in the water and it was quite beautiful.

About half way back I noticed a lighter patch in the water which I took for cloud reflection. My wife had stopped paddling to tell me about a difficult incident she had experienced in the past and was mid-story when I saw the light patch. We were passing close by the light patch soon after I spotted it. 

When I realised it was a fairly large thing right at the surface I was absolutely petrified; we were half a mile from the shore in the dark, slowly passing a large strange object in Loch Ness. I paddled like mad trying to get past it and away but it was too late to do anything but go right by it with only a couple of meters between it and the canoe. 

It was pale creamy white, round or oval in shape, domed, about 4 metres across and lying motionless right at the surface. It looked like a king size duvet without a cover seemingly with patches or stains and with an irregular edge that vanished into out of sight beneath the surface. It hardly broke the surface at all but just affected the water immediately above it, as though it was only submerged about 2cm.

It didn't move as we shot past as fast as possible and continued going as quickly as I could paddle so that my muscles were sore for days afterwards! I couldn't tell my wife as her story telling was the only thing keeping me going. As soon as we got back to dry land an hour or more later I told her about it.

Since Sandy is an accomplished artist, I asked him for a sketch of what he saw. I have no answer yet from him and so I publish the verbal account and may republish with the drawing as and when. Now, if only I had my quadcopter drone hovering over that scene! It would have provided some very nice footage that may have helped explain what Sandy saw.

There may be alternate explanations and doubtless people may suggest things such as algae bloom (in an oligotrophic lake?), mass suspension of pollen, floating garbage and so on. Though to me it sounds like Sandy was convinced it was more like something he did not want to go and explore. Having said that, a pale, creamy white Nessie is off the beaten track. I checked the record and perhaps five reports over 85 years could be described as some shade of white.

I include in that list the Hugh Gray and Richard Preston photographs, the latter being more suspect that the former. How would one explain a pale Nessie? Undoubtedly species change their colour according to age, season, situation and so on. How would the species known as the Loch Ness Monster fit into that list? Five reports is not enough to detect a meaningful pattern over such a long time span and so we will just have to leave this one to the vicissitudes of speculation.

I put one of Sandy's drawings at the top of the article to demonstrate an extreme example of what an unsettling incident at Loch Ness would look like. Here is some more of his artwork below.





The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com


19 comments:

  1. I realize that skin is different than fur, but dark hair/fur turning white with age is common not just in humans, but animals. I have had several cats who had little/no white on their necks as kittens, but as the years rolled by they developed white bowties/bibs. There is speculation that some older Bigfoot develop piebold patterns, again it seems around the chest/neck. Human skin color does not change with age, so would a possible animal like Nessie change? Or does this have nothing to do with age? If two out of every twenty Nessies are white/pale, but only a few Nessies are ever seen a year, what are the odds of seeing a white one? Someone else can do that math. I would say that in this report the total lack of motion by the object, with someone splashing his oar close by, does not imply Nessie or any other animate creature...

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  2. Welp, I guess an albino Nessie would be unsettling. lol A more unsettling occurrence would be a Nessie coming at me with a mouth full of sharp, gleaming teeth, as in the first drawing. But on a more serious note GB, you did do a write up on the Preston photographs and the most likely conclusion was that it was a reflection off the water from a house on the far shore.

    http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/latest-nessie-photos.html

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  3. Very interesting! The description made me think of the O’Connor photo. I think it’s quite normal for animal populations to throw up unite a variance in colours and shade, notwithstanding genetic anomalies such as albinism. We should expect to see the odd report of a lightly coloured Nessie. I hope Sandy sends a sketch soon. I imagine such a sub-surface image could be difficult to draw or paint though.

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    1. I wouldn't exclude pale Nessies, just just need a mechanism to explain them.

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  4. Ive always believed that the underside of nessie is paler than the upper sides, a lot of animals have this.Maybe it was lying upside down or even dying! Just a thought.

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    1. Well that is a fair point, white undersides are indeed fairly common. Now all we have to figure out is why Nessie floats on her back! Not as dumb as it first looks, various animals float or swim in strange positions.

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    2. And the thing being dead would solve the total lack of motion...

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    3. Yeah, too bad they never wash up on shore... :(

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    4. Now that you mention it, I do believe Iv'e read accounts by witnesses saying that the underside of the neck being a lighter shade. Hmmm...I'll have to go back and see where Iv'e read or heard that. I may be wrong, I'll see.

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  5. The description of "domed back" is consistent with a turtle, perhaps a giant soft shell variety (trionychid), without the noticeable scute pattern that the harder shelled turtles have. There's supposed videos of Nessie and still pictures that show this low arched domed back. The dome size he mentions (4 meters across) makes it inconsistent with any known plesiosaur size and shape. Based on what I've seen on Lake Champlain and the known turtle zoological data to back up the attributes needed to be a lake monster, I'm always going to default to an unclassified Chelonian as our Lake Monster's secret identity.

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    1. I'd like to see the videos and photos you cite...

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    2. Me too. The news footage regarding Champ from some years ago was quite something, but any YouTube videos I can find are of poor quality. Apparently a longer version exists. Maybe another 'holy grail', locked away.

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  6. I believe Ted Holiday sighted a yellow creature at one stage. Unusual even for Ted. It's hard to tell with this one as the light was low and identification of colour and form is clearly difficult. If it was a creature, I'm surprised it stayed still given the canoe noise (as Nessies are famously skiddish). Although it wasn't an engine noise. Perhaps it was ill?

    It would certainly be interesting to know if these creatures are active at night, and maybe your new heat signature gadget could help here. And of course the drone camera.

    Myself, I would never have been on Loch Ness in a canoe, day or night! I imagine Sandy might think twice himself before attempting the crossing again....

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    1. This reminds me of the story told to me by a cruise crew member at Loch Ness who was canoeing on the loch and claimed he saw a "plesiosaur shaped" animal swim right beneath his canoe. Hmmmm!

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    2. He'll be telling next you he saw a plesiosaur cross the road with a lamb in its mouth!

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  7. A large tarpaulin or such piece of sheeting driting its way along ...the light was bad by then as the chap has said & it would be strange that the 'creature' wasnt disturbed by the canoe ... being a believer thoughts would automatically go towards it being a creature ..I've occasionally seen large pieces of plastic sheeting drifting along in the river & they do look very odd if just submerged ..just a thought there is all sorts of rubbish dragged into waters especially if its a very high tide or flooding or after heavy rain bringing stuff down from the streams etc.

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    1. I see what mean Bodge. Lochside tent perhaps blown into the water? I suppose this is possible, but Sandy does seem convinced he was looking at an animal.

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    2. Hmmm, well he did describe it as domed.

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