Monday, 6 February 2017

Loch Ness Monster!

As Linda and I were walking around the antiques fair on Saturday, I came across two little 'Sea Serpent' ornaments, which I bought for next to nothing. I used to have lots of these, but as will happen, they 'disappeared' after I divorced my first wife.

Most of these were collected when I spent several weeks in 1973 and 1972 researching and writing a book about the Loch Ness Monster. My interest in the loch goes right back to the early 1960s, when my brother and I managed to persuade our parents to take several summer holidays in the Great Glen. As an 11 year-old, I found camping by the loch a thrilling experience: the dark, brooding waters, high fringing mountains and rapidly-changing weather imparts to Loch Ness a feeling that almost anything might occur in its thousand foot depths. The first illustration below is of my brother Rob (on the right!) and me by the Loch in, I should imagine, 1963. The curious vehicle we are proudly leaning against was unique: made by the 'Dormobile' company, Martin Walters, it featured a removable dinghy as a roof extension. Believe it or not, my brother and I slept in this 'loft space' in hammocks while our parents were below! Can't really imagine modern teenagers being too impressed! Our father was quite high up in the Ford commercial vehicle section and was allowed to borrow similar campers whenever he wanted.

As a pragmatist, I arrived at the loch in 1972, convinced that a large oligotrophic body with very little fish life other than migratory species could not possibly support a breeding colony of large creatures. Numerous surveys carried out by me and fellow-author Phil (a chemist) lent weight to this idea. During our two expeditions, we interviewed all the surviving famous witnesses and chatted with the major personalities: Tim Dinsdale, Adrian Shine, Robert Rines being the most convincing.

The bizarre thing is that - having convinced ourselves that Nessie must be purely a creature of legend - we saw it (or one of them!) at close range! The image below is one I drew for one of my books.

Some of my many LNM books (and the two little monsters!)

Mobile camera unit in the 1960s. There were several around the loch

LNIB headquarters in - I think - 1966

My sighting in 1972: range 100 metres


Anonymous said...

Great sighting. Amazing what is out there isn't it?
Ignore the neigh sayers. They are just arrogant and unable to see beyond the end of their nose.

Anonymous said...

This is incredible David - what a magical experience it must have been! I am surprised you have not shown this gem before! Pleased to see you feeling better. I know this is a silly question, but did you perhaps hear or smell it? Like when a whale surfaces!


David said...

Well typically there have been a few abusive and insulting comments, which I've removed, since they added nothing to the discussion. All I'd say in reply is: have any of those posters actually been to Loch Ness, never mind spending twelve weeks dawn til dusk watching it?
The world is full of people with opinions with absolutely no experience or research to back them up!

David said...

Oh! No, we didn't notice any smell: but then Phil and I were both totally dumbfounded - remember, neither of us thought there was the remotest possibility of a 'monster' existing in the Loch. We were however, aware of a splashing noise from the creature's paddles...

Mick Saunt said...

Hi Dave

See you have a copy of 'In the Wake of the Sea Serpent' by Bernard Heuvelman who also wrote 'On the Track of Unknown Animals' both of which were great reads. Myself and several friends knew the late Ken Latham (of Potter Heigham fame) who was an avid believer of the Loch Ness Monster and his enthusiasm convinced some of us (including me!) it actually did exist. However, with advancing years and the 'confession' of some of the perpetrators of hoax accounts and photos I can say I'm no firmly in the 'no' camp.......but you never know!


Mick (Saunt)

David said...

Hi Mick!
Thanks for the input about Mr Latham!
The sad fact is that I interviewed most of the famous photographers back in 1973: some admitted straight away their pictures were 'just a bit of fun', some stuck to their stories: I reckon the Dinsdale film is the only credible photographic evidence...

I have a vast collection of cryptozoology books (including some I wrote!) The very first I bought was 'On the Track of Unknown Animals' when I was ten!