Hundreds gather in Scotland to hunt for the Loch Ness Monster

‘The biggest surface watch of Loch Ness for more than 50 years!’ commences.
Sejal Sharma
A fake image of the fabled Loch Ness Monster
A fake image of the fabled Loch Ness Monster


Apart from its highlands, cold weather, and bagpipes, Scotland is also well-known for something else – the Loch Ness Monster. A mythical creature that slithers about in Drumnadrochit’s freshwater lake called Loch Ness. But obviously, nothing monstrous roams about under the deep waters of the loch, apart from maybe some large, albeit harmless salmon and trout.

Regardless, a search starts August 26 for the fabled monster. Nessie enthusiasts are gearing up for what they are calling ‘ The biggest surface watch of Loch Ness for more than 50 years!’

The search has been organized by The Loch Ness Centre, a tourist destination in Drumnadrochit which holds exhibitions about the geological formation of the large freshwater Loch Ness and the legendary monster that allegedly resides in it.

The search

The Centre’s website posted a request for all ‘monster hunters’ to gather and volunteer from August 26 to 27 for the largest surface watch since the 1970s. The volunteers will be “keeping an eye out for breaks in the water and any inexplicable movements.”

“It’s our hope to inspire a new generation of Loch Ness enthusiasts and by joining this large scale surface watch, you’ll have a real opportunity to personally contribute towards this fascinating mystery that has captivated so many people from around the world,” said Alan McKenna, of Loch Ness Exploration.

According to a report by Live Science, over 200 people have already signed up to partake in the search mission, while over a hundred will take part virtually to keep an eye on the waters. Those who wish to see the search in full swing can watch it live here.

Over 200 volunteers to observe the Loch Ness

It seems that the search team is spending quite a lot of money in what can already be called a futile attempt. The team is employing thermal drones, infrared cameras to identify mysterious anomalies, and a hydrophone to listen to “any Nessie-like calls.”

There is also an option for people to catch a ride on a cruise for $56 (£45) per person for a 90-minute trip out on the waters. The team on board will be using a 60-foot hydrophone to listen for noises in the depths of the loch.

After the search, there will be a talk held at the Loch Ness Centre in which ‘experts’ will discuss the possibilities of the Loch Ness Monster’s existence. To attend, each person will have to pay $38 (£30). 

Giving air to conspiracy theories and theorists?

Of course, this whole exercise should be taken with a grain (if not a bag) of salt as there is no scientific evidence to support that Nessie exists or ever existed. It’s like asking if unicorns or mermaids are real.

The first Loch Ness Monster sighting happened 90 years ago in 1933 at the Drumnadrochit Hotel, where the then-manager Mrs Aldie Mackay reported seeing a ‘water beast’ in Loch Ness. But some reports say that the first mention of the monster was back in 565 AD in a 7th-century biography of St. Columba when he intervened between a swimmer and the beast who was prepared to attack the swimmer.

Many photos of the famous monster have appeared over the years, all categorically branded as inconclusive, but the monster itself remains elusive. No matter if the monster exists, by now, it would have reproduced and multiplied and it’s safe to assume that its thick-skinned line of generations must be swarming in the extremely cold waters. Research says otherwise.

In research sponsored by the New York Times, Dr. Robert H. Rines in 1976 led a search spanning months. His team used underwater cameras and took over 108,000 pictures and sonar systems, searching the bottom of the lake for potential skeletons and carcasses. They did not find Nessie.

In 1987, naturalist Adrian Shine, who has been closely involved with the relaunch of The Loch Ness Centre, led an operation involving 20 boats conducting a sonar sweep of Loch Ness. They did not find Nessie.

In 2019, Professor Neil Gemmell from the University of Otago led an international monster hunt. His team took 250 water samples in search of monster DNA. He found a lot of eel DNA, but they did not find Nessie.

In 2003, the BBC had a team of researchers use 600 sonar beams and satellite navigation technology to look for the monster. When they couldn’t spot anything resembling the monster or its characteristics, they concluded that “people see what they want to see.” To prove this, the team hid a fence post beneath the loch’s surface and raised it slightly in front of tourists who had come to see the loch.

The BBC interviewed them afterward and found that while most said they had observed a square-like object a lot of them also said they had seen a monster-shaped head. They even made a sketch of the head. Wild.

One of the key reasons why the fable of the Loch Ness Monster has been kept alive, even after several successful attempts at disproving its existence, is that it brings a lot of tourism to Scotland.

Let's see what they find. But we don't suggest holding your breath.

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