When I was camping at Loch Ness last May, I met a young man by the name of Gary Northorpe who was working in the area. Naturally, (if I am involved in the conversation), matters turned to the Loch Ness Monster. Gary then volunteered information about a sighting he had as a kid.
He recounted that when he was 12 years old, he had been on a trip to Inverness from his home in Arbroath. In the car with him were his uncle, aunt and two cousins. It was a summer day and the weather was sunny and the loch had a flat, calm surface. Gary reckoned it would have been between 12 and 3pm as they motored down the A82 while he trained a pair of binoculars on the loch, hoping for a glimpse of the loch's famous resident.
As he continued to watch the waters, something appeared in his field of view in the middle of the loch. For up out of the water appeared a dark hump-like shape. Puzzled by what he was seeing, he continued to watch the object through the binoculars. After what he estimated was about five seconds, the object disappeared back into the water; no more to be seen.
Not surprisingly, when he excitedly told his car companions what he saw, no one believed him and they continued on and away from Loch Ness. Based on the fact that he was now 29 years old, we placed the sighting in the Summer of 1998.
I asked Gary to draw what he saw that day and it is shown at the top of this page. The drawing does indeed reflect the most common type of Nessie sighting, the single hump. Given he was now older and had had some time now to observe the moods of the loch, I asked if it could have been a boat wake he was witnessing. He discounted that explanation based on the dome shape of the object and the fact that it submerged.
Others may suggest that he saw a seal on a rare trip to Loch Ness. I wouldn't discount that possibility since we have a record of a seal in Loch Ness in the following year of 1999. Whether there was a seal in Loch Ness in 1998 is not clear and it is simplistic to call upon this solution purely on a convenience basis.
As a comparison, there is the video sequence below taken by Geoff Mitchinson perhaps only weeks after on the 5th September 1998. This is also a fleeting appearance of a hump like object. Are they the same creature? Seal or monster?
The main issue is the sighting lasted only five seconds and it is not clear how big the object was given it was exclusively seen in the narrow field of view of binoculars. If Gary had been on the shore and had time to continue watching, we may have had more information to aid an assessment of this possible Nessie sighting. You can read about more 1998 reports on Gary Campbell's sightings website.
As an aside, I also spoke to a lady who was working on the campsite who had seen something odd some months before as she looked out on the loch from Foyers. At first she thought it was some canoes making their way down the loch, but on a further look, she realised there was no canoes causing the wave patterns. I took note of what she said, but whether she saw something to do with the Loch Ness Monster is hard to say.
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