Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Nessie Review of 2021

It is time to look back on the year past and so let us get straight into the recorded sightings via Gary Campbell's sightings register. This records six sightings for the year which compares to eight in 2020 and thirteen in 2019. Now not every account will turn out to be the monster, let everyone judge and be persuaded in their own mind. In fact, to this day, there is no such thing as a "confirmed" sighting as there is no agreed benchmark by which to measure such accounts and who would be the judge that chooses the ruler to perform the measurement? In my mind there are sightings that are beyond my reasonable doubt, but that will not be the case for others.

I would categorize four as single humps, one as a water disturbance and the last was detected underwater on sonar. Three had photographs and one included a sketch. The quality of the photographs are not good and again exemplify the problem of photography at the loch with mobile phone cameras - assuming these were the devices in use. The image below taken by Thomas Dobinson on the 30th July drives home the point.

The witness states that the dark coloured object below the castle was about two hundred yards away and the size of a dog. One may churlishly ask what kind of dog - a great dane or a chihuahua? If we assume a typical mutt then we are talking about two to three feet across. If we triple this to represent the six to nine feet of hump that would break the surface for an eighteen to twenty seven foot monster, even that would not look great on such a photograph - and this is a distance one may expect some clarity. But, no, assuming these estimates are correct, even a close up of a large creature may not cut the mustard due to the poor lens and aperture involved.

Remember, mobile phones are for close up friends and family or huge buildings, mountains and so on. I do not think I have seen a decent defensible picture of the monster since 2016 and the Kate Powell fin-like object. Before that we may go back to Bill Jobes and Jonathan Bright around ten years ago. Have mobile phones made the situation worse as people ditch decent cameras for them? I don't know, but it is a subject for discussion.

One report that I rank higher was by Colin Veacock on the 30th July. I have read the reports in the media, but I know Colin from his previous postings as a Nessie fan on Steve Feltham's Facebook group. Colin said the newspaper reports got various things wrong, so I lifted his own account given in fragments and reproduce it here.

I was scanning up and down the loch north of the castle when on my third pass I noticed this object about two thirds of the way across the loch. It was suddenly just there. I didn't, as one site put it, see a prehistoric monster surge out of the water! At first I thought it was small but later when the Jacobite Warrior passed I got a better idea of scale. It was two feet high, ten to twelve foot long and tapered away into the water. I came to that estimate by judging it was the same size as the handrail at the rear of the Warrior. A black dinghy speedboat passed close but it never moved. An Indian couple parked on my right followed my directions and gave me a thumbs up indicating he could see it. Then the clouds broke bathing the opposite shore and hills in bright sunlight and I lost sight of it in the reflections in the water. I didn't, as one site said, see it plunge into the peaty depths, I just lost sight of it.

... I think it was an animal but not prehistoric. Got to admit though, while watching it I was hoping the classic neck and head would pop up.

... I've always thought that 'Nessie' is something completely knew. Something we haven't come across before due to it spending most of its time in the deep water. I also think its the same species of animal spotted in other bodies of water at that latitude.

... It was just too far away. It was the same size as the handrail at the rear of the Jacobite Warrior. Besides which, every time I looked away it took me a while to relocate it. I should say as well, I thought it was much smaller until the boat came along and gave me a better understanding of the scale and distance involved.

Colin provided a sketch shown here. When I saw this, I thought to myself, where have I seen this before? The high end and the tapering hump evoked a memory of another sighting separated by decades but connected by similarity. The answer came from Rupert T. Gould a mere eighty eight years before and the witness was a Mr. W. D. H. Moir near Inchnacardoch Bay on the 26th August 1933 about 9:15pm. The text from Gould is below.

Mr. Moir was walking from Fort Augustus along the road running towards Port Clair, which skirts Inchnacardoch Bay. Just after he had passed Cherry Island, he noticed a " powerful wash" in the Loch, and observed an object heading to pass close to the far side of the island. He took it at first to be a boat hurrying for the Canal lock - whose gates, at that time, were closed at 9 p.m. As to the visibility, he remarks : "At the time . . . the sun was setting behind the hills, casting bright reflecting lights high over the Loch and the tree-tops, while the water was dead calm."

The object passed "dangerously close" to the far side of Cherry Island, and headed into Inchnacardoch Bay. By this time Mr. Moir - who, having heard no sound of oars or engine, had concluded that it was not a boat - had turned round and was walking back towards the bay. When within the bay it slowed down and appeared to roll from side to side, causing a "rolling wash" which spread until it reached the shore. Suspecting that he was looking at X, he left the road and went down towards the shore for a closer view - managing to get within, as he estimates, 200 yards of it. ...

Two points chiefly surprised him - X's colour, and its size. He had gathered, from previous accounts, that X was black, or almost so - whereas it appeared to him to be brown, "with a tendency to changing colours of a lighter nature, nearer the surface of the water." And he estimated the length of the portion visible to him at 40 feet. Somewhat resembling an upturned boat, it rose moderately sharply to a height of some 5 feet above water at about the same distance from the rear end, and then sloped gently down towards the front ... As he saw neither head nor tail, he concluded that the total length could scarcely be less than 50 feet. [He had X in view for four to five minutes.] He started to walk back towards Fort Augustus; hoping to get a lift on the way, collect his camera, and return to photograph X. After he had gone some distance, he noticed that the time was 9:30, and decided that the chance of getting a photograph was remote. He therefore returned  - but discovered, on coming in sight of the bay, that X had disappeared. 

Two differences between 1933 and 2021 was that Moir's creature was more than three times longer. The other was that the Moir creature was moving whereas Colin's did not seem to budge an inch. Note that the Monster continues to surprise. If one had been asked to guess what direction the creature would move, you may have said right to left as you assumed the raised portion was the shoulders and the back receded down to the submerged tail. But, no, it heads off tapered end first. Would Colin's object have moved in a similar fashion? 

The length to height ratio of the Moir monster was 8:1. Colin estimated his as between 10:1 and 6.7:1 which averages to 8.3:1  - very close to the Moir account. As stated above, Colin was less in accord with the journalists who typed up his account:

Since this sighting the reporters have driven me to the point of madness. Only one swapped an email with me. The rest just exaggerated and right out lied about what I saw. Seems if you're a reporter and you're going to write up a piece on Loch Ness, you either exaggerate and blow it out of all proportion, or you ridicule it and belittle the sighting - but what they don't do is just honestly report the facts.

One argument of the sceptics is that journalists take mundane accounts and spice them up to monstrous levels. In other words, the original account would have been easily explicable if known. It is an attempt to tar and brush many an eyewitness story in one sweeping generalization. As we can see here, they do exaggerate, but the original account is good enough to avoid simplistic dismissal.

Indeed, Gould himself re-interviewed many a witness who were previously published and found them still to be noteable accounts. One final observation is that the Veacock and Dobinson accounts happened on the same day separated by three and a half hours and perhaps less than a mile apart (perhaps Colin could verify that). Maybe that is just coincidence or perhaps it lends mutual credibility. 

The sonar image was discussed in this blog only a few weeks ago at this link. It is a good account by Benjamin Scanlon allied with the boat captain, Mike Bell. I discussed the matter with Mike and felt it was an object of some considerable dimensions, though what exactly those were and what the actual morphology of the object was were beyond the capability of the sonar device. I assume that we will be getting a few more of these images in the year ahead of us.

The third class of account now merits its own section on Gary's sightings website and that is the genre of webcam video images. Gary numbers them at ten for the year compared to five local sightings and one sonar scan. Five were by regular webcam watcher Eoin Fagan, two by Kalynn Wangle, and one by Weiming Jiang, Matt Reddick and Roslyn Casey. Now the regular charge is that these images are just specks of not real use. I wouldn't disagree much with that, but when I checked the three photos we have of the local surface sightings, they were no better, perhaps worse!

That's not the fault of any person, they can only work with the tools they have. But perhaps some hope is at hand as Steve Feltham is looking into installing a webcam from his home on Dores Bay or perhaps somewhere close by. Obviously as close to the loch as possible is high on the list, but I would also suggest a bit of elevation as well and a good HD resolution. Other higher cost questions may be infra red night vision, slow panning to cover more loch and zoom. I have no idea how feasible all of that is.

So much for the sightings log, what about research on this blog? The main breakthrough was finding the Sidney Wignall aerial film of something in Loch Morar. It took a bit of digging and luck but I got some images out there and the object itself (below). However, I concluded I was as ambiguous as Sidney was as to the object's identity. For now, I will say tree log, and hope to investigate it on site in the year ahead.

The other area of investigation this year was the location of the famous 1934 Surgeon's Photograph. I take the view it is a fake, but where from? In my article, I hesitated an educated guess that clues in the story and picture suggest it may have been taken at a quiet spot in Foyers Bay. That opened a slight possibility that something of the model may still be recoverable under ideal circumstances. To that end, I headed there in July with my metal detector. You can see me in action below trawling the shallows.

The trouble was I picked up so much metal thrown in over the decades, any trace of the Christian Spurling submarine may be lost in the noise - if there at all! It was a speculative punt and a bit of fun to boot. At the loch in general, I published two trip reports which are here and here. I also did a couple of interviews for crypto-oriented podcasts and you can see what else I wrote by clicking through the 2021 article history to the bottom right of the blog. The other event of note was an unwanted one in the death of water cryptid researcher, Scott Mardis, who died too young this year and all I can say again is rest in peace, mate. You will be missed.

In summary, I wrote 34 articles this year which is actually an all time low of one every 11 days. The best was 104 posts in 2012 or twice every week. You may well ask if I am getting bored with the subject or am finding less to write about. Well, I am actually concentrating more on other subjects non-Nessie related which has had an effect. But there is a bit of truth in the less to write about category. As I enter the thirteen year of this blog and 787 articles on, the majority of the major photos, films, sightings and hoaxes have been covered.

But some have been revisited this year, as mentioned above for the Surgeon's Photograph and also the AAA sighting by John McLean from 1938 as new information bolstered that account. In fact, I hope to start 2022 with an article on one of the classic sightings yet to be covered here. New sightings will obviously continue to come in and personal research will continue as it looks into things old and new.

With that I will wish all readers  prosperous 2022.

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

Sunday, 19 December 2021

Good Old Fashioned Research

Time to talk about Loch Ness Monster research the good old fashioned way. I don't mean dragging huge ham joints by hook in a boat or sweeping wartime searchlights across the loch, but rather the mundane trawling of the archives for information. One of my favourite venues for this has been the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. It is one of Britain's largest libraries, housing over 24 million items such as books, newspapers, photographs, films and manuscripts going back centuries and with the emphasis on Scottish culture. A perfect place for Loch Ness Monster research.

When I started researching my first book, "The Water Horses of Loch Ness", ten years ago, it was not all about online or digitized resources. Since the book was concerned with Scottish monster folklore, I was busy reserving and consulting books from the 18th and 19th century right up to but before the Nessie era of 1933. Sometimes white cotton gloves were required to handle the rarer and more delicate books. A lot of fact checking went on, such as verifying a claim made to the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau decades ago that Daniel Defoe mentioned two "leviathans" seen in Loch Ness by General Wade's road builders in a certain edition of his book "A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain" undertaken in 1724. It was fun handling those ancient books with their weird fonts and ye olde English.

Part of that research was scanning through old Scottish and Highland newspapers. Now newspapers over a hundred years old are generally not available due to their fragile nature. After all, they were originally intended to be read and discarded after a few days. To preserve the originals, they were photographed page by page and transferred to rolls of microfilm. Many were the days I plugged a roll of film into the microfilm reader and flick through the image of the pages projected onto the screen, not just for that book research, but for retrieving information on old sightings, expeditions and personalities. 

Now you might think online websites such as the British Newspaper Archive has made those microfilm readers obsolete, but this is not the case. For example, its online archive does not hold any Inverness Courier copies after 1909, twenty four years before Nessie reports began to flood in. Likewise, nothing from the Northern Chronicle after 1914. Such local newspapers carry monster reports not seen anywhere else. Having said that, titles and years are being added all the time and it has to be admitted that finding keywords such as "Loch Ness Monster" is much harder with microfilm than typing a search term into a website. 

But a day is coming when the local researcher will have little advantage over the global researcher as Google continues to digitises millions of books and all old newspapers go online. Until that day comes, I will continue to visit the vast collection that is the National Library of Scotland, and so it was as I was there last Thursday. I had reserved some items (not all Loch Ness related) and took my seat here. One book was reserved because it cost about £170 to buy and I wasn't going to shell out that much! The other was a book from 1642 that I wished to peruse as well.

Then it was onto the microfilm rolls, one for a bit of family research and the other Loch Ness related. That was the Inverness Courier for the last half of 1973 as I was researching a new article. Even though I had one item in mind, I like to scan on and see what else was going on at that time. I found a couple of references to the upcoming Japanese Expedition of that time, which were of slight interest as they did not cover the actual event. In fact, I only found one sighting recorded for that time period which is shown at the top. In terms of microfilm to blog, this involves printing the article, scanning it onto my laptop when I get home and then running this image through an OCR application and finally correcting any mistakes in that process to give you the text below.

I must also add that since my last visit, the library had replaced the old microfilm readers with new digitised ones. You set up the film roll in the spindles as usual but the current page is now scanned digitally and then displayed on a computer monitor. Did this make microfilm research easier? No, it made it worse! If you know exactly what you are looking for then it is probably great, but if you do not it is a royal pain.

I say that because when I search chronologically through the newspaper pages, I can quickly scroll past unwanted pages (such as adverts or sports pages). In a straight forward bulb projection, the pages scroll past you on the screen. With the new fangled version, you have to click the "forward" button with your mouse and the longer you press the button, the more it advances. However, you do not see the film scroll past you, the monitor goes black until you let go of the mouse button which means you have no idea how far you have advanced until the program spends 4 to 5 seconds scanning in the film below and then displaying it.

I eventually gave up on the mouse and just rotated the spindle with my fingers using the actual microfilm transparencies as a guide.This made scroll through take two to three times longer. I hope they put back at least one old analogue device for good old fashioned researchers like myself. But back to the monster report.


Hotel Guests' Thrill

Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster this Summer have been few and far between, but news has just come that it was watched by a number of guests at Foyers Hotel two weeks ago. It was after 9 o'clock in the evening that the sighting occurred when several guests were walking. in the hotel grounds which, like the hotel itself, occupy a commanding stance overlooking the loch. There were two humps, each separated by a space of water several feet apart, and the guests thought the total length of the two humps was 20 feet, and of a dark colour.

The humps appeared fairly close inshore and not far from the spot where work is going on at the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board's pump-storage "rig" is situated at the Loch-side. The humps then moved away towards the opposite side of the loch in a diagonal line, and the crossing to the far side took the best part of seven minutes. The guests were astounded, and later spoke of their experience to the hotel manager.

Unfortunately, a party of senior pupils from a well-known school at Leamington Spa, who were in the hotel at the time for coffee, were unaware of what was happening on the loch's surface, for it is the third year in succession that a party from the school has spent part of  the vacation at Loch Ness-side, in the hope of seeing the Monster. 

Some more good old fashioned research followed as I looked at the sightings database I consult which showed three sightings for 1973. The more extensive list compiled by Ulrich Magin which is less fastidious and precise gives twelve sightings. This reduces to ten if we discount the two reported sightings by Frank Searle. By cross referencing with Nicholas Witchell's "The Loch Ness Story" (1975 edition p.71), our unnamed witnesses turn out to be a party of five including a Mr. J. Shaw and a Mr. E. Moran from Yorkshire. 

As the article states, I can concur that the location offers a commanding view of the loch as this picture I took below in 2017 shows. I suspect many a monster hunter has scanned the loch for hints of the monster from here. However, the counter to commanding views is the longer distances and so any normal photo taken from this location will likely produce an interesting image but no game changer.

It is a two humper and its diagonal progress across the loch clearly excludes such phenomena as wakes and waves. Also, boats do not tend to follow each other less than twenty feet apart. Since the object was seen close inshore and the loch is about a mile wide, if we assume a 45 degree diagonal swim to the opposite side in seven minutes, this gives us a rough speed of twelve miles per hour which is faster than the usual outboard motor boats.

Interestingly, there was another sighting about eight hours before by the Pugh family up the top of the loch opposite Tor Point on the A82 detailed in Rip Hepple's Nessletter No.2. They observed what they thought was a smooth, blackish-brown sandbank 100 yards out and 4-6 foot long which later disappeared. Later they realised Loch Ness has no tides and it was likely they had been watching a low lying hump. Could these have been the same creature? Of course, one may say no because one is two humps and the other is a single hump. But as we know, our cryptid is a bit of a shape shifter when it comes to back contours. Ultimately, we shall never know and at this point.

One final word is for those senior pupils from the Leamington Spa High School who missed out on the sighting. As it turns out, we have met this group before in a previous article. They had been to the loch previously in 1971 and 1972 and produced a booklet on those trips (below). I did not know that they had returned in 1973 and as to what they may or may have not seen, I have no idea.

And with that I will wish readers a Merry Christmas.

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

Thursday, 9 December 2021

New Book on the Loch Ness Monster


I am pleased to say that Joe Zarzynski, as one of the monster hunters active from the 1970s, has decided to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write down his memories and thoughts on his life searching for Nessie back in the day when all the famous monster hunters such as Dinsdale, Rines, Mackal, Holiday and so on were still active at the loch pursuing their common quarry. His personal timeline began 1974 to 1991 and it should be an interesting read from an interesting period which Joe Zarzynski called the "Golden Age of Monster Hunting". I wouldn't especially argue with that statement (though others may think the 1960s edge it).

Joe was not as well known as the Dinsdales and Rines of the Nessie world, but he has a story to tell and was a seasoned cryptozoologist in his own right having focused his main attention on the monster of Lake Champlain or Champ and written on that subject extensively in "Champ - Beyond the Legend". I had written some years back on Joe's other Loch Ness related book on underwater wrecks. This combined his love of aquatic cryptids and searching for sunken ships. The promotion for this new book reads thus:

Cryptozoologist-turned-maritime-archaeologist Joseph W. Zarzynski's new book LOCHEND -- MONSTER HUNTING ON THE RUN is about the golden age of monster hunting at Loch Ness, Scotland. The Saratoga County, New York author chronicles the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, when sophisticated technology was first employed trying to solve the Nessie enigma. That specialized equipment was developed because Cold War tensions necessitated advanced remote sensing to probe the deepest oceans.

Since April 1933, when Aldie and John Mackay, Drumnadrochit, Scotland residents, sighted a strange creature splashing about on the surface of the 22 ½ mile-long Loch Ness, the world has been fascinated that the waterway might be the habitat of a colony of large unidentified animals. Soon afterwards, expeditions were organized to the Scottish Highlands trying to solve the world's most challenging zoological puzzle.

Beginning in the 1960s, more advanced scientific equipment was brought to the deep waterway hoping that state-of-the-art electronics and optics might decipher the scientific mystery. In the 1970s, some of the best scientists in the world traveled to the legendary loch with teams of scuba divers, side scan sonar, customized underwater cameras, and other remote sensing apparatus. In a sense, well-publicized Loch Ness became a testing ground for some of this cutting-edge underwater technology.

The 200-page book, with over 90 photographs and illustrations, likewise tells the story of a little-known athletic accomplishment at Loch Ness. In 1984, Joseph W. Zarzynski, a self-described "average" marathoner and ultramarathoner, completed a 28.5-mile solo run along the loch. He may have been the first person to have run the full length of fabled Loch Ness. The author uses his overland jaunt to tell anecdotes about the heyday of pursuing the elusive Nessie animals.

Included in the book are also stories about other Loch Ness mysteries. These include: an ancient artificial island called a crannog, a hill where local lore has it that a dragon is buried there, possible monster hoaxes perpetrated at the waterway, a reputed 1934 sighting of a Nessie monster crossing a shoreside road, strange stone circles found on the waterway's bottomlands, a full-scale movie monster prop that sank in the loch, a giant fiberglass net sunk in the loch to snare a beastie, and a rare World War II bomber discovered during a Loch Ness monster search. Moreover, Zarzynski provides a primer into other denizens of the deep known by these nicknames―Morag (Loch Morar, Scotland), Seileag (Loch Shiel, Scotland), and Champ (Lake Champlain, New York, Vermont, and Quebec).

From 1974–1991, Joseph W. Zarzynski conducted numerous cryptozoological expeditions at Loch Ness, Scotland and at "North America's Loch Ness"―Lake Champlain. Readers will enjoy this real-life adventure set during the high watermark of seeking Nessie.

I have one photo of Joe from that period (courtesy of Tony Healey) pictured on the right with the man himself, Tim Dinsdale. Doubtless we will see more photos of interest in Joe's book. 

Joe's "Lochend - Monster Hunting on the Run" will be published on December 13th just in time to end up in your Christmas stockings. I will bypass Santa and pre-order it now. It is available to order at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Comments on a Summer Sighting

I note I had not posted on the Loch Ness Monster since October, having posted twice on her "sister" in Loch Morar. So, I wanted to remark on a sighting report made in the Summer at the loch. Gary Campbell, over at his Loch Ness sightings register website, had (last time I looked) registered a total of 13 sightings thus far for 2021. Helpfully, he has split them into two sections, those at the loch and those via the webcam run by Mikko Takala.

The total was eight webcam and five at the loch. I have already made my views on the webcam reports known before and await better equipment for webcam enthusiasts to use. It is one of the in situ sightings I move onto. This was a sonar contact from one of the tourist cruise boats that ply their trade on the loch. The description from Gary's site is brief:

26 August - Benjamin Scanlon was on holiday with his family and took a trip on the 'Nessie Hunter' of Loch Ness Cruises. He spotted something on the sonar on the boat and caught the image below. Captain Mike of the boat estimated it to be 3-4 metres in length, at a depth of about 20 metres, while the boat was in water about 40 metres deep. 

The image captured by Benjamin is shown at the top. Naturally, sonar images have come more into vogue since the fascinating image captured by Cruise Loch Ness a year ago. The skipper of the boat is Mike Bell who posted a better image on Facebook (below) which we can try and make some estimates from. The first thing to note is that a length of three to four metres is estimated to which we address some comments.

I reached out to Mike on Facebook and he answered some questions I posed to him. 

We were maybe around 200m away from the grant tower of Urquhart Castle, heading out to the deeper water. This was around 10 minutes into the cruise and after giving the young gentleman a demonstration of how the sonar works. We were moving at the time doing our usual tour speed and because of this and knowing how fast we go every second, we then use this to give a rough estimate of what size the object is.  I don’t know [how] familiar you are with sonar as well but we also had our gain turned down at the time, which is why the contact looks a little “broken”

As stated before, the horizontal display is a time axis, so no length dimension can be calculated directly without some further information, which is basically how much the boat has moved and how much the sonar contact has moved relative to each other. This is not a snapshot of the entire object, rather it is a continuous sequence of snapshots merging into a single drawn out streak. The best photo analogy would be someone with a long exposure camera snapping a car driving by. The resulting image would be a streak as successive images of the car merge into one long blur. Or, in this case, it may be more like the camera moving quickly past a stationary car resulting in a similar image.

This is quite frustrating and makes me ask if these sophisticated sonar devices have a snapshot option which would send out one or more quick pings to construct one single image and freeze frame display that to give us a better idea of the dimensions of the object. A continuous time display is actually a hindrance. Again I asked Mike Bell if such an option existed, he said he was not aware of it.

I asked Mike for his speed estimate and it was 6.5 knots per hour or 7.5 mph, but actually it is displayed on the sonar display screen anyway. The heading can also be seen on the display as roughly bearing 155 degrees or about south by south east.  However, the same cannot be quite said for the vertical axis which is the depth measurement in metres. Using the gradations to the right (0, 20, 40 and 60m), the maximum vertical extent of the object comes out at three metres or nine feet. Now granted this is not a rock solid calculation either as an object could move vertically up or down during the period of the scanning, causing it to appear thicker than it is.

To add to the uncertainty, the sonar is highlighting the biggest discontinuity between the object and the surrounding water, which is usually from water to gas to water here and usually indicates the lungs or swim bladder of an animal, if indeed it is an animal in view here. Note that animal flesh is largely composed of water and so is not so easily distinguished from the surrounding waters. I say that lungs or swim bladder as the interface between different temperature layers of water is usually blamed for these readings by more sceptical researchers. There is no denying that the thermocline exists and is detectable, my only objection is that it should appear practically all the time to which I asked Mike if the phenomenon was still visible on the return journey to the pier.

His answer was it was not, but neither was the thermocline as they had turned down the gain to filter it out as much as possible. This naturally leads to the question as to how the object would look if the gain was raised? In other words, what is the "true" nature of the image? Gain is defined as the sensitivity of the sonar receiver to compensate for water depth and water clarity. Increasing the gain shows more detail, and decreasing the gain reduces screen clutter. In terms of the photographic analogy, it is a bit like reducing the aperture size, producing a dimmer image and the effect that has on objects in the picture.

That may well affect the vertical estimate of three metres given above which introduces the need to find a suitable frame of reference against which to measure these sonar contacts when certain parameters can be varied via buttons and dials. This procedure is called calibration and it can involve tests such as dropping an object of known size and density to predetermined depths and note its sonar image for a variety of configurable parameters - or a default set. This is a natural question to ask because a three metre deep contact which is assumed to be just the lungs or swim bladder would imply an awfully big cross section for the whole creature.

But what about a skeleton, are not bones denser than water too? They would be but remember it is the discontinuity in density differences that registers on sonar and the transition from gas to water is bigger than from bone to water. But I suspect a skeletal echo return could add to the "fuzziness" of the image. In the absence of calibration, Mike's own size estimate is one based on experience and how the sonar contacts from known objects such as fish compare to this curious and large contact.

So expect more sonar images to appear in the media as we move into 2022. These are to be welcomed and analysed on their own individual merits. However, a form of sonar "fatigue" may well set in at some point as readers get used to this kind of image and then the questions will be asked as to what do we do with these images and what is the next step after that? That is probably an evolving debate.

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Analysis of the 1981 Loch Morar Film


The last article gave readers an update on where I had got with finding the alleged film of a creature taken by the Sidney Wignall expedition to Loch Morar in 1981. However, after a few roadblocks, I managed to get a sight of the film that has aroused curiosity amongst cryptozoologists for some time. The clip I had access to lasts about two minutes and it does show the flyover of the object of interest.

Due to the ongoing issues of copyright and cost, it is not possible to show the clip in public, but I have some screenshots which I grabbed which can convey what is on the film. The first frame above gives us the context of the film, namely Sidney Wignall in his microlite spotting something in the water and homing in on it to get a closer view. We shall first discuss the actual location of the object as the next frame shows us the bay of interest with shallow sandbanks, a white sandy beach bordering it, a tree just right of centre and two streams feeding into the loch.

A perusal of the various search engine satellite maps homes us into the beach as it was photographed recently. The tree, streams, sandbanks are all pretty much there as they were back in 1981. The bay is called Camas Luinge and is located in the central southern coastline of the loch. This is circled in the map of the loch below. One of the rivers feeding in is the largest one of the loch, the River Meoble. One therefore wonders how good the trout and salmon are there. There is also another beast of legend here, the Grey Dog of Meoble as discussed by Mike Dash here.

The area is not totally remote as it is accessed regularly by canoeists, bikers and hillwalkers as this photo of the bay below by one hiker suggests. Nevertheless, Loch Morar is a wilderness loch compared to Loch Ness and no major roads serve the south side of the loch. To get there you will have to expend some energy

Credit: https://niksbikingblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/highland-summertime-bikepacking-and.html

But back to Sidney Wignall. In the clip he takes us through the film, which starts with a scene of the microlite taking off from the surface of the loch, controlled by one of his expedition colleagues. The scene then switches to an odd looking thousand yard wake which Sidney speculated was created by one of the creatures. There is no boat in sight, but the sequence is a bit indistinct. We then came to the important part of the film. As his craft descended, our object of interest came faintly into view. Below, we show first the original image and then we circle the faint image of the object.

Then from a height of about 200 feet, the object comes into view and is shown below. Now when I saw this on the video clip, I immediately understood why one monster expert, Rip Hepple, said it looked like a plesiosaur but another one, Adrian Shine, said it looked like a log. This object, like many images of the Loch Ness Monster effortlessly lives in both worlds simultaneously.

Actually, I was a bit disappointed when I saw the image. Having read Rip's words, I was half expecting a bulbous body, a long neck, long tail and flippers, or as he said "It was as close as anyone could wish, to being a silhouette of a plesiosaur.". One can see a creature of sorts under the water, perhaps a plesiosaur side on, but this is shallow water and one wonders if the object is in mid-water or merely lying on the sandbank and is partially buried in the sand?

The above image pretty much encapsulates the whole clip as I could not see the object move though the aspect of it changed as the microlite circled around it. Sidney pointed out what could be a flipper, long snout and a forked tail, though he would not explicitly state that this was the Loch Morar Monster and marked it as "unexplained". He did say that they had not seen anything unusual in the area on previous aerial surveys. He also estimated the length of the object to be about twenty five feet long.

Now I was under a bit of a misapprehension as I thought the film sequence would show two creatures. I based this on Sidney's own words from an article he wrote for the Pursuit magazine dated April-June 1982:

In late September, overflying Morar, we saw something very strange lying on the loch bed in about three meters of water in an area we had covered a few days before and which on the earlier occasion showed nothing unusual. The "thing" appeared to be about six meters in length and had what could be fins or paddles, but not the four I expected to see. (I was being subjective and not objective, hoping to see a plesiosaur.) A cine-record was made from heights of between 500 and 200 feet.

A low pass at 50 feet nearly put us into the water when we hit a "sink" area. Climbing away, I took several still monochrome photographs. Then I saw about 30 meters away from the "thing," another "thing." Only this time, Thing No. 2 was most definitely moving slowly, about a meter under the surface. I managed one 35mm still frame of it, then it descended into deeper water, out of sight. A polarizing filter had almost completely eliminated surface glare.

It could not counteract the small surface chop that distorted the resulting photographic image, which appeared to be of an object 7 to 8 meters long, moving to the northwest at possibly one or two knots. It appeared to have a neck and a tail but only two fins could be seen, and these were on either side just forward of amidships. I managed only one dive in the area after that, and in one bay I came across a log which did not appear to relate either to Thing No.1 or Thing No.2. What had I seen? I very much doubt if No.1 was an animate object. Its shape wasn't quite right. No.2 was the real thing, but what it is I cannot say, if a plesiosaur, why not four fins? If a zeuglodon, wasn't the neck too long?

So it appears that "Thing No.1" is our object in the still frame, but "Thing No.2" did not appear on the film. I did look close at the film for anything within 30 metres of "Thing No.1", but nothing is obvious to me. Perhaps it was in the deeper darker waters away from the highly reflective sand. So what exactly are we looking at here? Is it just a log or something else? The fact that Sidney himself is ambivalent and very much doubts it was an animate object perhaps sums up the matter. He says above that he did discover a log but thought it unrelated to the film. Does that imply he found nothing at the spot when he went there to investigate?

To complete the analysis, I zoomed into the bay today using the best satellite images I could find and noticed something perhaps worthy of further investigation. At roughly the same spot as the Wignall film in the sandbank I noted a sliver of darkness perhaps indicative of an object. The same image is reproduced circling the area of interest and then a different satellite image showing this blob. 

If it was a log, then could we expect it to still be there 40 years later? Only a visit to that spot with a drone camera or going in with waders could determine whether it is at all related to the object filmed back in 1981. In the meantime, I think we can close the case on this film and readers' opinions are invited. What now remains is to find this missing photograph of the mysterious second object. That may seem a daunting task, but I think I know where to begin looking. It will not be available online and I suspect it is held in the form of an old 35mm transparent colour slide. Wish me luck!

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Update on the 1981 Loch Morar Film


I will discuss the above image further down, but I just thought I would bring you up to date on the search for the footage taken of possibly one or more large, unknown animals at Loch Morar in the 1980s. The explorer, Sidney Wignall, led the expedition and a portion of the footage appeared on national UK TV before it disappeared from view for four decades. I wrote a blog on what we know of this film three years ago in this article.

After that, things went quiet before two events happened last year which convince me all or part of the footage is within reach, albeit with the usual obstacles. The first was a comment submitted to the aforementioned article from someone who claimed to be in possession of the original film. Naturally, this raised expectations and I got into an email conversation with them. The person said they had not looked at the film for a very long time and it was in a film canister somewhere in their house,. They would undertake a search, but they suspected it was hidden in a pile of canisters and identifying labels would have likely fallen off.

That initial communication came just days into the national coronavirus lockdown. I lost my job within a few months and I suspected my contact was not in a great place either. We all got rather distracted by more important events. I contacted them again in October 2020 but no success in finding it. Yes, I know, it is frustrating. I phoned the person again last week and they had found a box of VHS tapes and were hopeful of finding a taped copy. I await further developments.

Now, I know seasoned readers will sigh and suspect I am being led up the garden path. But I have checked the person's background and I am satisfied that their story is true. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that something will just turn up after forty years of being forgotten about. If they finally find the film, the next issue is copy it to a digital medium. I am prepared to keep on waiting as that does not cost anything and the reward at the end may well be a fantastic piece of cryptid footage. But I can't even say that until I actually see it and assess it. After all, one Nessie expert described it as looking like the silhouette of a plesiosaur and another as looking like a log!

However, in one of those strange coincidences, I was contacted within days of that by another Nessie researcher who had located the news clip of the event. That person wishes to remain anonymous, but I want to thank him for his research in this matter. As it turns out, the Morar film was transmitted on the ITN national news on the 11th November 1981. The collection of ITN News programmes has been catalogued and made available for licensed use through the Getty Images corporation. 

The entry for that news clip is clear enough as it describes the news report as opening with Sidney Wignall standing by his plane, then they're looking at a map, the item then changes to them flying over the loch and then the big moment as the "monster" is shown below in the water. This is then still framed followed by an artist's impression of what it might be. The whole sequence lasts perhaps three minutes, I do not know how much of that is "monster" footage.

Okay, great. I contacted Getty Images asking how I access this video. Firstly, I was told it was still in analogue format and had not been digitized. I guess they do these things on demand. I was then asked for what purposes I wanted it and how much of the news clip I wanted to license. This is where the journey began to go uphill. It was not a free item and there was money to be paid to allow its use. To be precise, £150 per second with a minimum of 10 seconds.

I swallowed hard and realised these people tend to deal with richer film and documentary makers who buy the rights to "rent" these clips for their own productions. However, I was advised that one could purchase a private preview of the item to determine whether I wished to proceed. That only cost £150, so I agreed to that. 

The reply then came back that they could not even release the preview as part of the news item had third party copyright issues. In other words, the portion of the news report that contained Loch Morar film was third party and could not be release without their consent. Monster hunting was proving to be as elusive online as it was by the lochside. Sidney Wignall died some years back, so what does one do next?

After some consideration and communication, it may be the case that the person who has the original film is the copyright holder. So I went back to Getty Images and told them I had found the copyright holder, how do we proceed? To my surprise, they said they were still unable to provide the clip! That is a continuing conversation.

Anyway, the ITN news report would be great, but the real deal is the original film which has the complete sequence. A few seconds on ITN may not provide all the answers. We live in hope, but I move onto the image at the top of the article as I was informed that this may be another aerial image of Mhorag, the Loch Morar Monster. Another researcher, going by the pseudonym of Nunzio Byznez, contacted me some months back saying he had spotted Mhorag in satellite image of the loch. I zoom into the area of interest in the image.

This was the comment Nunzio passed to me:

Well I think I may have accidentally solved the Wignall situation. I recently was searching satellite map from Apple maps of the same area where Wignall was over-flying. When I looked inside of a lagoon of the east coast of Ban Island (an island in north west Morar with other islands), a brownish silhouette appeared. It was in 16 feet of water (4.87m).Shallow water adjacent to deeper water. Its shape was odd. it had a long neck fat body but NO TAIL.

I could see no fins as it was a top down view and the creature may have been using them to stabilize itself in hover motionless stance to ambush passing salmon. The browser allowed me to measure it at 53 feet (16.1 m). Its neck was turned to the left as if it was looking astern.

The missing tail is assumed to be a case of "autotomy" which lizards go through when startled by an attacker. I can only think this may have happened in August 1969 when Duncan McDonell and William Simpson blasted it with their illegal shotgun. They where lory drivers on holiday supposedly fishing at 9PM and not poaching deer with that shotgun. Plesiosaur means "almost lizard". So I guess it dropped its tail when Simpson blasted it in its stern.

I have the photo but you can get it yourself from Apple maps. Roland or GB (I think) has another which is another shot of it from MapQuest. Its a little dark but you can see where it has small humps too. Adrian Shine says he has the 1969 article about Duncan McDonell and William Simpson incident and it says the creature was 60 feet long not 30 feet as some say today. So that makes my 53 feet sans tail believable. Adrian was in a Shiver video with Morar's Superintendent who has his own cellphone video of two of them just like Wignall said.

I admit it has that 1975 Rines/AAS picture look to it with that long neck and bulbous body so what do we make of this intriguing image? It is no photoshop job as you can go and view it yourself on the satellite images provided by the map facilities of Apple and DuckDuckGo. It is located on the southern part of the Eilean Ban island as circled below.

Well, the first thing to do was check other images from map providers. These images do get updated over time, but here is the one I took from google maps. It is a poorer quality image that the other one and there does not appear to be anything occupying the same stretch of water. Is that due to poor resolution of what?

The next image comes from Microsoft Bing and is shown below. Now here we see that there is something similar looking in the same area. A zoom in of that area is included.

This crater-like image with raised edges would look to confirm that the object in view is part of the shallow loch bed between the small islands. I would guess that it is a sandbank and explains why there is no tail. The other argument is that if it was a living creature, one would not expect it to be in the same location taken by another satellite some time later, perhaps months or years. I am not sure how one would check that the two images are definitely separated in time.

Nunzio has the right of reply here if he has something more to say on the matter. But this image does make one think about the Wignall film which was also taken from above. If it was like this image, then some heated debates may ensue. However, I am persuaded better things of it, but the acid test will be the actual viewing of it, something which is proving to be a waiting game.

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

An Interesting Video from 1992


It was back in August 1992, that the British ITN news network channel ran an item on their late news program. It was the latest piece of video taken of a strange looking object in Loch Ness. To be more precise, in Urquhart Bay. The item caused a bit of a flurry at the time, but as with most pieces of monster evidence, it soon faded from view. 

Unfortunately, back in those days, if you didn't see it at the time, you were not likely to see it at all. At the time, I was working for a software company just outside London. My preferred channel for getting the news was the BBC, so I missed it. There was no Internet of any substance to publicize the event, no YouTube to rerun the video, and were there any discussion groups to tell others about it? There was email, but how many had email addresses in 1992?

Furthermore, my own interest in the Loch Ness Monster was at a low ebb as I concentrated on my career and had not been at the loch for about eight years, Also, the 1990s was generally not a great decade for positive discussions about large creatures in the loch (the top book of that decade was the expose of the Surgeon's Photograph). If I had been still subscribing to Rip Hepple's Nessletter, I would have eventually learnt of it in his January 1993 edition (No.111).

Finding sources 29 years on will always prove difficult without specific details. Internet archives tend to have a blind spot around the 1990s in my experience. It is just before media began to go online and the paper to digital archiving services seem to be busier with earlier decades. Thankfully, we have another contemporary source and that is Malcolm Robinson's Enigmas newsletter which was published under the banner of his Strange Phenomena Investigations organisation or SPI. The Nov-Dec 1992 issue ran an article on the video which we shall refer to later. Malcolm is known in Nessie circles for his 2016 book, The Monsters of Loch Ness.

As to the actual footage, it has been preserved for us via Nessie documentaries of the time with one preserved in YouTube at this link about 14:40 minutes in. It was fellow Nessie enthusiast, Alan McKenna, who contacted me about this old camcorder footage, and I thank him for also creating the clip of the video below. As you can see, the footage begins with part of the ruins of Castle Urquhart, but the eyewitness' attention is soon drawn to something out in the waters of the bay. 

Alan also improved the video clip to introduce a degree of stabilization to help us analyse the sequence more readily. This is shown below.

But, having initially thought any newspaper story on this was beyond reach, Steve Feltham came to the rescue with a clipping from the Sun newspaper dated August 17th, which he had kept since that day and which he sent to me. The story is reproduced below.

Amateur snapper may have filmed monster


AN amateur cameraman may have filmed the Loch Ness Monster by mistake - while telly newsman Nicholas Witchell splashed out a fortune trying to find it.

Nessie experts - who admit the film shows a large water-living animal — have used hi-tech gear to enhance the pictures. You can see the result for yourself when the clip is shown on all of today's ITN's news programmes and STV and Grampian bulletins. The cameraman - who doesn't want to be named - thought he was filming a diver splashing about in the water. He trained his £400 camera on it for a few seconds before getting on with the rest of his summer holiday. But when he played the tape back at home in Balornock, Glasgow, he realised it was something much more exciting. He said: "At first I thought it was a man pushing something in front of him but then realised it was too big to be a diver. I don't believe in monsters myself and want to remain nameless so I don't become the butt of jokes in the pub."

But two mates who were on holiday with him have backed up the Nessie claims. Ian Hay and Arthur Alcorn are convinced their pictures prove the monster does exist. The startling piece of film shows a dark-coloured object thrashing about in the loch around 300 yards from shore. It has now been passed on to a team of university boffins in Glasgow. They used the latest electronic gear to try and solve the riddle and say it's definitely a living creature.

Team chief Peter Meadows - Glasgow University's senior zoology lecturer - said; "I was extremely sceptical when I first looked at the film. But I have now studied it and I'm amazed. There is definitely some form of water-living creature there." Two weeks ago we revealed a huge object tracked by newsreader Witchell may have been a 20 year-old model. The fake Nessie was made as an April Fool Joke by prankster students. It sank as soon as it with launched. 

Ian Hay and Arthur Alcorn

As to the question of how the video ends, it looks like the video simply ended when the owner concluded it was a diver and stopped or panned away. That was not an explanation proffered by anyone, but the owner discounted it himself later. I would agree it does not look like a person swimming. The phrase "a few seconds" also suggests there is little in the way of unseen footage. 

However, there are a couple of unknowns. There is a statement that "Nessie experts" used technology to enhance the pictures. Of this, we know next to nothing. Was the video seen on ITN enhanced or was it the original? I suspect they are just referring to video player equipment which can host a camcorder tape and has slow motion play, etc. The second unknown are pictures taken by his friends, Ian Hay and Arthur Alcorn. These may prove valuable in analyzing the object as a camera image will be more stable and of better resolution.

Getting to see such pictures is usually a difficult endeavor after such a long time. A look at the statutory records shows an Arthur Alcorn died at the age of 61 in Glasgow in 2009. This would appear to be one of our photographers and so the task becomes finding his next of kin. Ian Hay is a more common name and so more difficult to find him on the Internet. A resolution of this problem will have to be left to another day.

The quoted expert is Professor Peter Meadows who seems convinced of the film, but no other expert is quoted despite them being mentioned in the plural, it seems he was the "team chief" of the experts. So having perhaps viewed the video yourself, we will go onto those opinions as Malcolm Robinson hit the phones for his article.

First was the previously mentioned Professor Peter Meadows of Glasgow University stated as the senior lecturer in marine biology there.Again, he said he was initially sceptical of the film, but the more he watched it, the more it did not match anything he had ever seen before. He suggested the monster could be a warm blooded fresh water animal in the range of four and twelve feet in length. He ruled out seals, logs or waves and was very impressed by the video. I note that Professor Meadows was involved in the 1960s sonar work at Loch Ness.

Next up in the telephone directory was Professor Archie Roy of the Astronomy Department of the same university. He had seen the video on the news and was also of the opinion it was no wave but was not prepared to speculate further. This led to phone calls to two people who took a different view of affairs and are well known to Nessie researchers.

First was Steuart Campbell, who had published his sceptical book on the monster a few years before. Steuart was convinced that what we had here was "a rare interference effect between wakes". Since the video shows the wakes of previously passing boats, a scenario arises where these waves meet and constructively interfere results in a bulge of travelling water where the white portion is breaking waters. Steuart also stated a steep sided loch helps in these matters and he believes this is the first time such an effect has been filmed at the loch.

To complete the roster came Adrian Shine. He agreed with Steuart that a wave effect had been seen. However, unlike Steuart's observation that such effects were rare, Adrian said he saw such a thing a few weeks before. He also thought the poor contrast of the film added to the illusion of a solid object. Interestingly, Adrian said he was told by ITN that the original video had been mistakenly destroyed when being analysed! At this point in time, perhaps Adrian could be described as sceptically undecided on what the monster may be. 

So, we had two for and two against. Malcolm cast the deciding vote and went with Campbell and Shine. The other source mentioned before was Rip Hepple's Nessletter. Rip confessed he had not seen the ITN piece but subscribers wrote to him with the unanimous opinion it was yet again a wave effect and nothing more was said about it.

So now let us take a look at this video nearly three decades on. I will confess first that I have seen the video before Alan contacted me. I don't know where and when, but at the time I also put it down as a wave effect and moved swiftly on. Now I am not so dismissive of this clip. However, we do lack some context here. There may be some missing video, so some vital piece of information may be missing, but the quality of the video is likely inferior to the original.

So all we really have are the clips above which I played over a number of times with certain things in my mind. The idea of constructively interfering boat wakes to produce unexpectedly large waves is a perfectly valid theory. However, my thinking is that something is missing. In the video we can see two wakes above and below the water disturbance. Steuart's explanation of wakes interacting and interfering obviously begs the question of where are these interacting waves?

If you look closer, you can see typical boat wakes around but well beyond this object. This water disturbance has a very solitary look to it with nothing around it to suggest waves coming together. In fact, I cannot see anything indicating this is the product of constructively interfering wakes. Therefore, in my opinion, this interpretation of what is in the video should be dropped.

Where does this leave us? Actually, still stuck in the domain of general wave effects, as Adrian Shine more cautiously put it. One could add windrows, cats paws and wind devils, but I do not think anyone is suggesting these. That leaves one more proposed theory and that is soliton waves. These are an unusual phenomenon where the bow of a vessel can under certain circumstances generate a standing wave which can travel for long distances without deformation or diminution. 

They are generated when a boat reaches what is called the Froude Height, which can be calculated for certain bodies of water. This basically equates to the speed of the bow waves in that water. That speed is given by the equation below where V is the speed of the wave, g is the acceleration due to gravity and h is the depth of the water below.

If this water disturbance in the loch is a soliton wave and since it is very deep at that point out in the loch, I estimate about 100m deep, then the speed comes out at about 31 metres per second or about 70mph or 60 knots. It is fair to say that the object in this video is not going at anywhere like that speed. Though I suppose one may argue that it is a soliton in its death throes.

The next equation is the Froude Depth and when this number reaches 1, a soliton wave is produced. Or to put is more simply, when the boat catches up with its own bow wave, the soliton takes shape. That will happen when the boat speed equals the wave speed. As we saw, this was about 70mph on that part of the loch. Needless to say, no regular boats do that kind of speed on the loch. The usual cruisers don't go much above 11 knots and even the fast RIB boats only go up to the 40 knots. Even if they did reach such speeds, it is doubtful that the loch is narrow enough to allow solitons.

That does not mean soliton waves are impossible at the loch but they are more likely to occur at shallower depths around the narrower rivers and canals. Assuming a depth of about 3-4 metres in those parts, soliton waves could theoretically be produced. In fact, the first soliton wave was observed in the Union Canal in Edinburgh by John Scott Russell in 1834.

If a boat was at its Froude Depth as it entered the loch from the north or south waterways, it is conceivable that in some circumstances, a soliton wave could enter the loch. But how it would look and behave as it entered deeper waters is a matter of speculation. One would also expect it to be quite close to the originating boat unless the boat stopped or dropped speed when docking. I am no expert in wave dynamics, but that is the way I see it.

Of course, some other wave theory could be brought to the fore, I invite comments to that effect. Meantime, what is to be made of what we see minus the water effects? If I could describe some abstract object to explain what I was looking at, it was like one of those dumbbells you see in old strongmen pictures - except they are buoyant and bobbing along but also rotating about each other, one sphere submerging while other bobs up. A bit strange, but the best I could sum it up.

Alan thinks he can see a long dark neck at about 40 seconds in the second enhanced video but I am not sure if it is shadow or solid. Could these two "dumbbells" be construed as humps? Perhaps, though I am trying to think of another eyewitness report which describes two humps moving in this mutually "orbital" fashion. I do recall some reports from the 1930s where one hump would go round in circles, but not two. If it was alive, one would think two creatures were involved. It is a hard image to interpret in biological terms, though just defaulting to our wonderful shape shifting water seems too simplistic and lazy to me.

Double hump sightings form a good proportion of the total reports, indeed, the Aldie Mackay report which began the modern trend was such a sighting (below). It is not always clear whether one or two creatures are involved, it partly depends on how far apart they are. The video "humps" seem too far apart to be connected, but this is something one cannot be sure about.

As to size, there is a lack of frame of reference to make an estimate, though if it is as far out in the bay as it looks, it is likely as big as one of the boats that regularly traverse the loch. The white water breakers can be as much at home breaking against a solid object as they are part of a bigger water formation. Perhaps there is more to this footage than meets the eye, but whether we can take this further forward may be down to an erudite comment from a reader or two.

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com