Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Loch Ness Trip Report September 2018




It was back at the loch last month as I spent a few days camping and roving around the famous body of water looking for its even more famous resident. I brought the drone, the thermal camera, trap cameras and the old fashioned hand held camera and binoculars. It was also the weekend of the Loch Ness Marathon which kept me off road for most of that day. The extended weekend was a generally quiet time due to the reduced number of tourists who were all back at work and school. However, that had to be balanced against the colder, wetter conditions. So, I may well go back a few weeks earlier next year.

Sunday was drone day as I strapped the backpack on and went off in search of a suitable site. Dinsdale Island was now off limits to a wellington boot crossing as it had been during the dry spring. Waders will be required next time as I regard it as a good drone site in terms of isolation and a flat beach for safe landings. A walk around the wider area did not provide any adequate take off points and so I headed off to the location of the Lachlan Stuart photograph a few miles up the road and flew the drone there. With a nice backdrop of the castle, no Nessie outlines were discerned just below the surface, so I drew a blank (snapshot of drone video below).




On Monday it was time to don my tour guide hat as I took fellow Nessie lovers, Phil and Cathie around the loch on a tour of their design and with me as their guide. This involved various stops and chats and so we began at the spot where Peter MacNab took his famous 1955 photograph and heading onto other sites after that. Seeing we are on the subject of Peter MacNab, one sceptic declared some time back that the photo had to be a fake because the black hump didn't look glistening enough as he would expect from water splashing and running off it.




So is the photo debunked in one fell swoop? Shall we now consign it to the bin of hoax history? Not if we compare it with an old picture of the Gondolier cruise boat passing the castle in a similar setting. I think you would agree its black, water splashed hull is not giving off much in the way of lustre either. As a side note, if any sceptic tries to gainsay this elsewhere, please feel free to copy and paste their counter arguments here to be dealt with.



Stopping at the site of the famous Arthur Grant land sighting, I got my first chance to see the new plaque erected to commemorate that event at the Clansman Hotel. Fortuitously, there was a life size model of the monster there to add a sense of reality to that moonlit night of January 5th 1934 when Grant chanced upon the creature as he approached it on his motorcycle. As mentioned in a previous article, I had suggested erecting the plaque to local businessman and Nessie promoter, Willie Cameron. It seems this had always been on his mind and this was the catalyst to get it done. The words you can read on the plaque are the exact words I supplied to Willie, so I was pleased with that.


 


Onwards and as we passed through Fort Augustus and on our way to the southern shore, something was pointed out to me, or rather the absence of something. That something was Kilchumein Lodge, the residence of the Pimleys, from where their employee, Margaret Munro watched a strange creature on the shore of Borlum Bay for 30 minutes through binoculars in June 1934. All that remained was a large tanker of some description with some building materials now lying on cleared land. I recall the house being there on my last visit in June. I am sure some local will help fill in the gaps as to what happened and the site's future. Either way, a piece of Loch Ness Monster history has gone.




And here is the old house photographed seven years ago for Google Streetview.



Visiting the site of the famous Hugh Gray photograph, the site was being surveyed when an unusual object was spotted rising up and down in the water, which I show below. This was in quite deep water and could not have been a rockbed log sticking out of the water, but after a close inspection with binoculars, it was undoubtedly a large piece of tree debris with a squared off end bobbing up and down in the water. It was presumed that the log had been sufficiently saturated with water to achieve this near submerged appearance with the bulk invisible under the water. The media and forums often put up pictures of Nessie like logs as if this was some slam dunk explanation for sightings, but the truth is they are easily enough discerned after a short time.




Having said all that, the patience of this hunt of hunts was driven home again that weekend as the drone, thermal camera, trap cameras and good old fashioned eyeball watches produced no decisive evidence. So, it is time to hunker down for the winter and try again next year. Nevertheless, I hope to be back up at the loch with hopefully good news for Nessiephiles later in the year, so watch this space!


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

26 comments:

  1. Perhaps they are clearing the area for a shopping mall...

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  2. I was there in Aug. and the Pimley house looked empty and a bit shabby. Shame it's gone though.

    It will be interesting to see what becomes of the plot, conspiracists say getting planning permission for a architecturally unique single dwelling [ as in C4s TV show Grand Designs ] in a scenic area is rarely than seeing Nessie jet skiiing.

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    1. The number of houses with a good view of the loch is surprisingly small. It could be that some rich person has bought the land for a new modcons house.

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    2. Very sad to hear that the house is gone, after all this time.

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  3. It's a shame that famous landmark of LNM lore is gone. And I hear Boleskine House is in ruins after the fire, so who knows if it will ever be restored or demolished as well.

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  4. The famous Nessie on the pond at the Loch Ness Exhibition is about to go, and the pond filled in to provide more parking. :-(

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  5. Regarding the MacNab pic. Not sure how much “glistening” can be expected and discernible from an old B & W pic and a camera from that era. Some eyewitnesses have described the animals skin texture as rough, akin to that of an elephant. Pictures I've seen of elephants with their backs or bodies wet do not glisten, they just look wet or darker. Probably a bad analogy.

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  6. That McNab photo really is a belter isn't it?

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  7. I’m a little saddened by this, but on the bright side it won’t impact our beloved deep water creatures. Great article Roland.

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  8. +++That McNab photo really is a belter isn't it?+++

    Which makes him not releasing it for 3 years all the stranger.


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    1. MacNab said that when he tool his picture in 1955 and showed it privately to his friends, the slagging and ribbing he got put him off going public. It was only when the Cockrell photo was published in 1958 that he was motivated to approach the same newspaper.

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    2. Yeah that 3 years thing is very suspicious. By all accounts he's a pillar of the community type - is there any recoding of him talking? Be nice to hear. In his defence the monster was probably at it's most derided (except maybe for these days) when he took the alleged photo. Also his son not seeing it is weird. Okay so it's all a bit suspicious - I just think it's an incredible photo. One of maybe 5 I'd consider as possible evidence. As an image, with the castle and all, it's really quite astonishing. I think only Lachlan Stuart's photo has an equal haunting quality and I don't think that's real at all. Never have. Even as a bairn. But it's a wonderful photo ;)

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    3. Your wish is my command Kyle. From Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World: Monsters of the Lake, I present to you Peter MacNab speaking of his sighting and photo. Starts at 15:53

      https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1v2cj5

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    4. To me the most suspicious photos are the Lachlan Stuart and Peter O' Connor ones. Oh, and of course the Surgeon's Photograph, but that's a far gone conclusion by now as it has widely been accepted by believers as a hoax, never mind the skeptics.

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  9. It is a great iconic foto..mcnabs! Prob a boat wake but great foto all the same...but ive never agreed the object is as long as the castle height making it bout 50 ft!!! Lot less in my humble...
    Cheers ..Roy.

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  10. It could be a boat wake i agree. But i find it strange that nobody has been able to reproduce a photograph like it in all these years.

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  11. I agree it's an iconic image, however the mystery of the two versions of the McNab snap sadly make it suspicious.

    If he was capable of re-photographing the original print to make a second copy neg [ why? one could ask ], then drawing a hump and wavelet on the nessie free original print with a fine nibbed pen and re-photgraphing that print is entirely feasible if he was an an dedicated photographic hobbyist.

    Although I can't prove this theory, I feel there is a reasonable doubt that the photograph is a 100% genuine portrayal of what his camera saw that day. .

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    1. I think it’s exactly what he saw. There’s no evidence of fakery, just a couple of minor questions relating to negative preservation. I believe Macnab photographed Nessie.

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    2. He told Witchell he nearly destroyed the negative after the ridicule. Any future prints may have shown this slight warping. Your logic that being able to rephotograph the original print implies he is some kind of dab hand artist hardly follows.

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  12. Pimley House is gone and a new build going up on the plot. Passed it this afternoon.

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