Thursday, 19 July 2018

Arthur Grant gets his own Plaque

It was with some satisfaction that I read Wednesday's Inverness Courier and a plan by local businessman, Willie Cameron to place plaques around the loch giving information on famous Nessie sightings. First I reproduce the story here from the original link:

Businessman pushes for 'Monster Trail' to show Nessie at her best

Written by Val Sweeney

Willie Cameron hopes a new plaque installed at The Clansman Hotel will set a trend around Loch Ness.

BUSINESSES around Loch Ness are being urged to help create a new monster trail by sponsoring special plaques relating stories and anecdotes about the area’s most famous resident.

Despite countless reported sightings of Nessie – as well as several infamous hoaxes – little information is available at locations around the 23-mile long stretch of water.

Drumnadrochit company Cobbs has now seized the initiative by installing an engraved plaque at its lochside Clansman Hotel, relating the 1934 sighting by motorcyclist Arthur Grant who reported seeing a long-necked creature in the water on a January night.

Company director Willie Cameron is now urging other businesses and organisations to sponsor plaques relating to more tales of Nessie through the years.

"The majority of people who come to Loch Ness come here for one reason – the Loch Ness Monster," he said. "Yet when you go round the loch, there is very little indication relating to the mystery."

He envisages the installation of plaques at 25 different locations, depending on permission from agencies including Highland Council, Bear Scotland and landowners.

The ultimate aim is to develop an app which would contain further details as well as information about any sponsors.

"It is good for business and it is excellent for exceeding customer expectations relative to the sense of place," he said.

"I have driven around the loch and not found anything other than in the Loch Ness Visitor Centre.

"What signs there are tend to be negative – no camping, no litter, no parking, no this, no that. These signs would put out a positive message."

I say all this because back in April, when I was conducting a guided tour of the loch for a client, we began at the Clansman Hotel discussing the Arthur Grant land sighting of 1934. My own research had indicated that Grant more likely saw the creature that moonlit night close to the hotel rather than a mile up the road at Abriachan. That reasoning is laid out in my latest book on land sightings.

However, I noted that the hotel displays a large model of the Loch Ness Monster by one of the streams feeding into the loch and it struck me that this "Nessie" on land was a great reminder of the Nessie on land seen by Grant possibly just yards away from it.

So, after the tour, I emailed Willie Cameron recounting this and suggesting it would be a good idea to erect a plaque by the model to remind visitors of that monstrous event. Good for Nessie, good for the hotel. I am glad to say Willie took me up on the idea and we now have the plaque installed.

However, being the local businessman he is, Willie has seen the opportunity to expand the idea to the whole loch with up to 25 such plaques being placed at sites. I think it is a great idea and gets away from the sceptical idea that we need to concentrate tourism on other aspects of the loch and push the monster as far away as possible from the tourist eye.

If the various tourist enterprises with their Nessie oriented items is anything to go by, they completely disagree with that notion. Sorry. but Loch Ness is all about the Loch Ness Monster and anything that promotes that ancient link is fine by me.

It's early days and we may not see something looking like the proposed Nessie Trail until next summer. It may well have its issues such as famous sites which are hard to get to (e.g. Hugh Gray), some locals may object to plaques being sited near their homes and will sceptics fight it all the way?

My one hope is that these plaques do not include sceptical disavowments as a general rule. A plaque which says "so-and-so saw a six foot neck and ten foot hump here ... but it was actually just a line of ducks" is a pure anti-climax. Adding that so-and-so claimed to have seen this is okay, but we don't want a series of plaques which tries to debunk away the area's most famous resident.

Now don't get me wrong, you are going to get a spectrum of opinions from Nessie believers on what is and is not a true sighting. The point is one group's agenda should not be imposed on this. I don't think the Surgeon's Photo is real but I still think a plaque should be placed at Altsigh to mention it.   However, I assume a map or some form of literature will accompany the trail and that should point out that these sightings, photographs or films generate controversy and some accept them and some don't; let everyone make up their own mind.

Just let the original people tell their story without any revisionism. As Willie says. we want "to put out a positive message"!

The author can be contacted at


  1. I see arch sceptic Dick Raynor is already expressing his displeasure at such a scheme. Time to take Loch Ness back from the sceptics.

    1. Go to

      to behold sceptical grumpiness.

    2. I’m not on Facebook so I can’t see that. But what is wrong with these negative people? What harm would the wonderful plan for plaques cause? I feel the sceptics sometimes want to shut the mystery down simply because they’ve been unable to solve the puzzle of why so many people have had so many great sightings of the beast. Is Dick Raynor ok? The more I read about him the unhappier he seems. He never used to be like this towards the local treasure we call Nessie.

    3. A lot of bad things happen on Facebook...stay away! Just kidding. If you were to see my Facebook page, you'd see nothing, not much of a social animal lol. Oh, and stay away from Liveleak, bad things to see there and the commenters there are evil bad peiople. I just have an account on Facebook because I had to register for something or the other with a required Facebook account

    4. John Alvarado I’ve never heard of Liveleak, what is it? The name would suggest it’s political?

      What are your thoughts on sceptics being resistant to this excellent idea for plaques? I can’t see why anyone would object. Tourists will love them and they can’t do any harm.

    5. Naturewatch Eng: Well OK, it's a little off topic and I was just reacting to your Facebook comment and being a bit flippant. And since you asked, I'll answer your question. LiveLeak is a “Shock/ Gore” everything goes website featuring for the most part videos of human misfortunes and tragedy. Everything from raw war footage, accidents involving human death and carnage, human and animal mutilation, crimes caught on video, shootings, and bizarre human behavior etc, etc. Viewers are allowed to make comments on the content, with most being of a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic in nature and in general mean, hateful, crass comments. In particular the website does have a disclaimer and it's policy explicitly discourages racist comments, but some of the worst of the worst individuals still do. The site also offers some political oriented and human interest videos and I might say some very thought provoking content, but for the most part it panders to the basest of human nature and behavior i.e. violence, human aggression and as I said human tragedy and suffering.

      As for my opinion on plaques about Nessie around the loch, I'm sure that there are many and one more won't hurt anybody, well, except the skeptics. Loch Ness is most famous for it's resident monster and most people's first thought upon hearing the name immediately think about it's renowned cryptid. If it helps the economy by drawing in all the tourist and keeping alive interest in this mystery, that's just grand with me!

      Just as a note of interest, about plaques around the Loch. Back in 1952, a famous car racer by the name of John Cobb was killed while attempting a water speed record at Loch Ness. There is a commemorative plaque on the north shore road A82 in his honor. Now, here is the interesting part of his death: Unofficially, some have suggested that he collided with a Nessie causing his racer to disintegrate. Far fetched?...yeah.

    6. John, I think it has been accepted for some time that Cobb met his fate due to interference patterns generated by his trial run which had not yet dispersed.

      I think I've seen refer2nce to this "it was Nessie" nonsense in some more sensationalist documentaries...

  2. It's taken such a long time but yes, a great idea.

  3. Congratulations on the adoption of your idea. I agree with the proposal to mark the sight of the Surgeon's photo. It's an incredibly iconic, bold image that probably helped create the movement towards solving this mystery. Shame it's a fake, but I liked the 'Water Horse' movie's take on things. It might be a fake, but just around the corner there is something real.

  4. I dare say there will be some doubt re exact locales.

    I've never quite figured out where the McNab snap was taken, I suspect it was from the lofty layby on the downhill A82 a couple miles NE of Drumnadrochit, although it seems closer to Urquart Castle than that location.

    Maybe a future research article for Roland.

  5. This idea has been talked about, and planned here for longer than I can remember, it's great that Willie is finally dusting it off and getting something happening.
    Well done Willie.

    1. Good. I was glad to provide the catalyst (and some of the plaque words) to get the first of hopefully many more done.

    2. Great news all round, well done Roland Watson. I’d love to see them all around the loch as long as they blend well and are in keeping with the beautiful scenery.