Saturday 28 July 2018

Nessieland up for Sale

Do you fancy owning your own Loch Ness Monster exhibition at Loch Ness? Then your chance has finally arrived as the Nessieland exhibition in the village of Drumnadrochit goes up for sale. Details of the sale are available here

I have only visited the exhibition a few times over the years I have been at the loch, but on my last visit there had been a revamp and I posted my thoughts on it in a previous article. Of course, any prospective buyer has to take into account the fact that there is a competing exhibition about 100 yards up the road which has resulted in friction between the two as they both compete for the tourists pounds.

That competing exhibition is the Loch Ness Centre and the friction was evident in the charging of Nessieland's owner, Donald Skinner, over the theft of a Loch Ness Centre sign back in 2013. This followed a lawsuit some years before when the Loch Ness Centre owner, Robbie Bremner, sued over the names of the two centres.

The Loch Ness Centre was called "The Official Loch Ness Monster Exhibition" whilst Nessieland was called "The Original Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre". This proximity in naming led Bremner to claim he was losing over a £1 million in revenues. The outcome was both centres agreeing to change their names to "Nessieland" and "The Loch Ness Centre".

My own thought was that the "Loch Ness Centre" suited sceptics better as it really did not have much for those who believed in the Loch Ness Monster (though an eyewitness testimony section has improved that). The "Nessieland" exhibition would suit monster believers more, though it was more family and kid oriented rather than dedicated to serious researchers.

So, in terms of balance, two exhibition centres would be best, but there is no need for them to be 100 yards apart as the history shows. I did think one in Fort Augustus would be better, though where to site it is is not clear to me and the town did have two exhibitions in decades past which have now closed down. Has the time come for another one?

There was chat about a community buyout of Nessieland, though that seems to imply a total revamp of the building into something more for the benefit of the locals than tourists. The trouble is Donald Skinner will be looking for a price which assumes it continues as a Nessie attraction with the commensurate revenues. Whether a community buyout can bypass that problem, I do not know.

Watch this space, I guess, but I am sure the Loch Ness Centre would want to see the end of the place, the end of a competing exhibition and therefore more tourist pounds coming their way. That is of course no surprise. Business owners are all for competition and free enterprise except when it comes to their own business, whatever the sector!

For me, the idea of a pro-monster exhibition is a must for the area. If Nessieland goes, the space needs to be filled and not left to an exhibition that has no belief in the thing that attracts people to the area in the first place. A pro-monster exhibition, properly done, could attract more visitors, especially if the recent idea of erecting sightings plaques around the loch takes off.

A brief history of exhibitions around the loch can be found here.

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