A new photo of a mysterious creature ‘the size of a very large seal’ in Loch Ness has been declared a fresh Nessie sighting.
It comes as experts say more eyewitnesses are emerging, despite a drop in visitor numbers due to the Covid pandemic.
Karen Scott, 54, spotted the strange presence swimming in the Scottish loch while visiting from Aberdeen with her partner, and took several photos.
Her images, taken on November 24, have now been recorded as a positive Nessie sighting by the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register.
A new photo of a mysterious creature ‘the size of a very large seal’ in Loch Ness has been declared a fresh Nessie sighting. Karen Scott, 54, spotted the strange presence swimming in the Scottish loch while visiting from Aberdeen with her partner
In Miss Scott’s sequence of photos, the ‘creature’ can just be seen moving (left, bottom) towards the shoreline (right, centre). She is unsure quite what she saw but says if it was a seal, it certainly didn’t move like one
The photos were taken by Miss Scott on November 24 at approximately this location, near Urquhart Castle. Her images have been recorded as a positive Nessie sighting by the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register
Miss Scott said: ‘We were walking around Urquhart Castle sightseeing on a weekend away.
‘I was just looking over the loch from the castle when I spotted something in the water. I initially thought it was a bird sitting on the water but my partner said it definitely wasn’t.
Karen Scott (pictured) said: ‘There is definitely something there that can’t easily be explained’
‘By the time I got my phone camera on, it had slowly dipped under the water and then appeared again a short distance further away.
‘That’s when I took the photos. It then did the same thing again a couple of more times until it was much further away.’
Miss Scott’s partner estimated that the creature was the size of a very large seal.
‘But when we spoke to the guides at the castle, they said it was very rare for a seal to be this far up Loch Ness, so I don’t know what it was,’ she added.
‘I was quite excited, especially when I went onto the sightings website and found that there were similar pictures to mine.’
Gary Campbell, who keeps the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register, said that 2020 had been an unexpectedly strong year for fresh Nessie reports.
He said: ‘As with everyone else across the planet, 2020 has been a very different year at Loch Ness.
‘The primary tourist attraction, Urquhart Castle, would normally welcome in excess of 500,000 visitors but, as you would imagine, numbers have been severely curtailed by the Covid crisis.
‘However, there have still been a significant number of Nessie sightings throughout 2020.’
Mr Campbell added that some sightings had been made by visitors using a live camera online.
Gary Campbell, who keeps the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register, said that 2020 had been an unexpectedly strong year for fresh Nessie reports – despite a drop in visitor numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Above, Urquhart Castle)
He said: ‘We are lucky that many folk can join in the hunt from around the world via the Loch Ness Webcam and a number of the sightings have been reported via that medium.
‘Nessie has, however, been seen in person throughout 2020 by some of the few visitors like Karen that made it to the loch and has also been spotted by local residents who live nearby.
‘It’s great to see that, notwithstanding a global crisis, Nessie still pops up from time to time, allowing us to be sure that when more people come back to visit, she’ll still be there to welcome them.’
Miss Scott is unsure quite what she saw but says if it was a seal, it certainly didn’t move like one.
She said: ‘It didn’t dive under the water but slowly went down under. It didn’t bob about like a seal would do.’
And she believes that, in any case, the Loch Ness Monster is out there somewhere.
‘I do believe it exists but I’m not sure it’s the same “monster” from years ago,’ she said.
‘Still, there is definitely something there that can’t easily be explained.’
What IS the Loch Ness Monster?
Rumours of a strange creature living in the waters of Loch Ness have abounded over the decades, yet scant evidence has been found to back up these claims.
One of the first sightings, believed to have fuelled modern Nessie fever, came in May 2, 1933.
On this date the Inverness Courier carried a story a local couple who claim to have seen ‘an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface.’
Another famous claimed sightings is a photograph taken in 1934 by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson.
It was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged.
Other sightings James Gray’s picture from 2001 when he and friend Peter Levings were out fishing on the Loch, while namesake Hugh Gray’s blurred photo of what appears to be a large sea creature was published in the Daily Express in 1933.
Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London physician, captured arguably the most famous image of the Loch Ness Monster. The surgeon’s photograph was published in the Daily Mail on April 21, 1934
The first reported sighting of the monster is said to have been made in 565AD by the Irish missionary St Columba when he came across a giant beast in the River Ness.
But no one has ever come up with a satisfactory explanation for the sightings – although in 2019, ‘Nessie expert’ Steve Feltham, who has spent 24 years watching the Loch, said he thought it was actually a giant Wels Catfish, native to waters near the Baltic and Caspian seas in Europe.
An online register lists more than 1,000 total Nessie sightings, created by Mr Campbell, the man behind the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club and is available at www.lochnesssightings.com.
So what could explain these mysterious sightings?
Many Nessie witnesses have mentioned large, crocodile-like scutes sitting atop the spine of the creature, leading some to believe an escaped amphibian may be to blame.
Native fish sturgeons can also weigh several hundred pounds and have ridged backs, which make them look almost reptilian.
Some believe Nessie is a long-necked plesiosaur – like an elasmosaur – that survived somehow when all the other dinosaurs were wiped out.
Others say the sightings are down to Scottish pines dying and flopping into the loch, before quickly becoming water-logged and sinking.
While submerged, botanical chemicals start trapping tiny bubbles of air.
Eventually, enough of these are gathered to propel the log upward as deep pressures begin altering its shape, giving the appearance of an animal coming up for air.