Revised 15th January 2001
Surprise monsters which appear from nowhere.

Photo reconstruction by Dick Raynor

A look at a new "Nessie" photograph with the Loch Ness Project.

In November 2000 a photograph appeared in newspapers and on a web site purporting to show a "Nessie". It was said to have been taken in July, but the mark on the picture was not noticed until later, and it was not published until late October. There is a second image on the film which quite clearly shows a rear view of a hire cruiser, and it is perhaps significant that this was not noticed either.

Comments by interested parties about "monster pictures" are sometimes dismissed by the photographers on the grounds that "you weren't there - I was, and I know what I saw." In this type of case however the argument does not apply because the photographer did not see anything unusual at the time either. People only remember unusual things, and so commonly fail to recall or even "register" distant boats, birds or flies in the field of view. Most pictures of "surprise monsters" fall into this category.

Requests have been made to examine the original negative but this has not been permitted at the time of writing.

( As at 15th December 2000, a good reason for keeping possession of the negative has been provided, and a photographic print from it has been kindly sent by the photographer.)

"Loch Ness Project" leader Adrian Shine felt there was enough information in the published versions of the photo to permit a reconstruction of the photograph, and the first version of this is now complete.

The first task was to locate the camera position, and this was a straightforward matter of proceeding along the loch side until various objects in the distance were in the same alignment as in the published picture. The background to the picture shows the area known as Wester Erchite.

Photo 1 - alignment of prominent sky-line feature with foreground tree.
(Video still Copyright © 2000 Dick Raynor)

This places the photographer in a lay-by on the A82 opposite Tor Point - the very same lay-by where I took my 1967 film. There is a burn which crosses beneath the road at the north-eastern end of the lay-by. The Grid Reference for this location is NH579359, and it is 1.5 miles or 2.5 kilometres from Lochend beach.  Looking to the left from the above view, one can see Tor Point aligning with a prominent house on the opposite shore.

Photo 2 -  View of Dores village with Tor Point at left, taken from the A82 at G.R. 579359
(Video still Copyright © 2000 Dick Raynor)

Photo 3 - Direction of large object as viewed from camera position.
(Video still Copyright © 2000 Dick Raynor)

The Loch Ness Project research boat "Deepscan" was then guided into a similar position to that occupied by the main object in the original photograph, and comparison photographs taken.

Photo 4 - "Deepscan" near  location of mystery object (shown here as tracing)
Image Copyright © 2000 Loch Ness Project

In the image shown above, the 32 foot ( 9.7 m) hull of "Deepscan" is shown ( it's that little line above the ^) with a tracing of the unknown object in the correct relative position. It can be seen that Deepscan is actually lower in the picture, and so is closer than the unknown object. Even so, calculations show that the unknown object would need to be at least 70 feet (22 m) long and 10 feet (3 m) high out of the water. It is somewhat further away than Deepscan, and also appears to be seen at an oblique angle, both of which will add further to its dimensions.

This leads to the natural and sensible conclusion that it is probably not a living creature on the surface of Loch Ness.

Having outlined what it is not, one is left pondering what it is.  Without  the opportunity to examine the original negative little more can be said about the image itself. It is remarkable that such a huge object - literally the size of a barge - was neither noticed by the photographer nor reported by anyone else in the other parking places, which were described as being "crammed" with people. The image could therefore have been caused by debris within the camera.

The web site describing the incident has contradictory information about the date the photograph was taken, (this is now confirmed as 13th July 2000) but if the time given as between 11 and 12 a.m. is correct then observers at the camera location should have seen the "Jacobite Queen" passing on its morning cruise during that period.

Northern part of Loch Ness, including Lochend, Tor Point, and Urquhart Bay.
Camera location is marked "+",and calculated object position is at "o".

Myths v Maths

One Sunday newspaper which I will refrain from naming covered the story and quoted un-named "experts" as  having calculated the size of the object to be 25 feet long, bang in the middle of the mile wide lake at it's deepest point and near the haunted Boleskin (sic) House. If you follow this link  you will see how I worked out it's true position - marked with an orange "o".

As for Boleskine House, it is about 10 miles away - the distance between Fleet Street and Heathrow. To find it, go to the ruined Urquhart Castle -  "uc" in the picture above, and you will be half way there.
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