By Lyn Funnell

I’m really gutted. I missed the Loch Ness Monster by two hours!
Nessie hadn’t been seen for 18 months, and a boat spotted him at 11.38. We entered the Loch at 1.30!
Let me explain. I’ve just been on a luxury barge trip through the Caledonian Canal, which goes across Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, passing the most stunning scenery! Lots more about that later!
We moored in Fort Augustus, which has a staircase of five locks in a row, the other side of the swing bridge.
In the morning, I was waiting for the local shop in an old tin church to open and chatted to the lock-keepers.
I asked them what time the shop opened and they replied, ‘When someone turns up with the key!’
Then I told them that I was really disappointed as Nessie had been spotted just before we entered Loch Ness.
Not only had I missed seeing him, I’d also missed out on the £2,000 prize for the Year’s Best Nessie Photo!
scottish-barge-179One of them said that the monster had been seen, two days before, on a cruise boat’s sonar, under the water.
At last the shop opened and I went in to buy some traditional Scottish woollen goods and some other presents to take home.
I told the lady behind the counter that we’d missed Nessie yesterday, and apparently he hadn’t been seen for 18 months.
She smiled and said that he’s inclined to start reappearing at the beginning of the tourist season!
‘So you don’t believe there’s really a creature in the Loch?’ I asked her, and she immediately replied, ‘No, I didn’t say that!’
The next day, we visited Eiliean Donan Castle (more about that later.)
I was talking to one of the guides about Nessie. He doesn’t believe that there’s a monster in Loch Ness. But he made an interesting point.
When the Vikings invaded Scotland in about 800AD, the huge figureheads at the bows of the boats were all carved like the Loch Ness Monster. The guide pointed to two of them in an exhibition in the next room.
scottish-barge-210He reckoned that as they floated along through the mist, they would have looked exactly like the monster!
It’s a good theory, but there’s only one thing wrong with it – the Monster was spotted long before the Vikings arrived.
In 565AD, St Columba and his followers saw some locals burying a man who had apparently been attacked and killed by the ‘Water Beast’ while he was swimming across the river – not the Loch.
(It’s practically impossible to swim across the Loch. It’s freezing cold, and full of peat.)
One of St Columba’s men swam across the river and the monster came after him, but St Columba made the sign of the cross and the beast swam away.
Maybe the Vikings knew the tales about the Monster. Or maybe they had Monsters of their own!
We passed Loch Oich.
It’s been discovered that there’s a long tunnel between Lochs Oich and Ness, and Nessie has often been spotted in Loch Oich. He and his family might live in a cave there, but it has never been investigated.

scottish-barge-217Here are some Loch Ness Facts – Loch Ness is the largest body of fresh water in Britain.
(1) There is more water in Loch Ness than all the other lakes in England, Scotland and Wales put together.
(2) It is around twenty two and a half miles long and between one and one and a half miles wide, a depth of 754 feet with the bottom of the loch being as flat as a bowling green.
(3) It holds 263 thousand million cubic feet of water which is around 16 million 430 thousand million gallons of water with a surface area of 14000 acres and could hold the population of the world 10 times over.
(4) It is fed by 7 major rivers the Oich, Tarff, Enrich, Coiltie, Moriston, Foyers and Farigaig plus numerous burns, with only one outlet the River Ness which flows 7 miles through Inverness into the Moray Firth 52 feet below the loch surface.
(5) During a heavy rainfall the lochs level has been known to rise by as much as 7 feet and a rise of 2 feet is common place.
(6) The rain catchment area for Loch Ness is so large that a rainfall of just quarter of an inch adds 11.000.000 tons of water to the loch.
(7) It is said that the loch never freezes and this is true.
viking-ship-1(8) Because of the great amount of water in the loch a thermocline lies at around 100 feet down in the loch. The top 100 feet of water alters temperature depending on the weather conditions but below the thermocline the temperature never alters from 44 degrees Fahrenheit. So as the surface water cools in winter and nears freezing point it sinks and is replaced by the warmer water from below. This can cause the loch to steam on very cold days, in fact it as been estimated that the heat given off by the loch in a winter is the equivalent to burning 2 million tons of coal!

It’s believed that if the Loch Ness Monster and his family do exist, they could be surviving Plesiosaurs. They have been spotted both in the two Lochs, and also walking down to the lake, when their whole body has been seen.
What do I think? Yes I believe that Monsters live in the Scottish Lochs. They’re survivors of the dinosaur family, and I worry about their future because as modern technology grows, it will become easier to spot them. But Mankind is far more cold-blooded and dangerous than the creatures that they seek.
They will go all-out to trap and dissect one of them ‘in the name of Science.’
If the Scottish authorities don’t strictly control the researchers, in a very short time, poor Nessie and his family will go from reality to extinction.
I hope it doesn’t happen in my lifetime!


Is this Nessie in a High-Viz lifejacket?!

loch_ness1 loch_ness2

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