A recent spate of Nessie sightings has flummoxed experts and locals alike.
After an unprecedented 18 months without a “confirmed sighting”, several people have come forward in the past few weeks with reports of mysterious beasts emerging from the waters of Loch Ness.
So, more than 80 years after the first modern sighting of Nessie, has the monster made a comeback?
Alas, the truth could be a little more mundane. The Woodland Trust conservation charity has come forward with an infuriatingly humdrum explanation – they’re just logs.
The charity claims that “deadfall” washed out by rivers from nearby Urquhart Bay Wood would explain the recent sightings – and possibly why the monster has been spotted so often in the past.
“Large amounts of wood flows out of the woodland through the two winding rivers that flow into Loch Ness each year, peaking when water is high in late autumn and spring.
The hunt for the Loch Ness Monster
The hunt for the Loch Ness Monster
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This famous photograph of the Loch Ness monster, allegedly taken on 19 April 1934 by Colonel Robert Wilson, was exposed as a hoax only in 1994
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Members of the Mirich Film Company scanning Loch Ness for the monster in 1969. The company were shooting 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes' beside the loch at the time
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The headquarters of the Loch Ness Monster Investigation Team at the side of Loch Ness in 1969
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One of the members of the Loch Ness Monster Investigation Team keeping a watch on the surface of Loch Ness in 1969
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A submarine is lowered into Loch Ness to begin its search for the monster in 1969
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A group of monks from the Fort Augustus Abbey on Loch Ness in 1935. References to a monster in Loch Ness date back to St Columba's biography, 565 AD, where Adamnan describes St Columba preventing a creature in the Loch eating a man. More than 1,000 people claim to have seen 'Nessie' and the area is a popular tourist attraction
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An image from Apple Maps in April 2014, which has been interpreted as the Loch Ness monster in the Scottish Highlands
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A model of the Loch Ness monster stands outside a visitor centre in Scotland
“I think that some of that debris explains the long thin, sometimes stick-like, shapes seen,” said a spokesman for the trust.
Urquhart Bay Wood is effectively a “Nessie spawning ground”, according to the trust, which added that its trees perform a very useful function.
“Urquhart Bay is a really important wet woodland, made up of species such as ash, alder, rowan and willow. It’s one of very few intact floodplain woodlands remaining in the UK and has European importance. Challenges such as flooding, movement of the rivers and accumulation of woody debris make it an interesting place to manage,” the Woodland Trust spokesman said.
Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster date back to the 6th century and have often been explained away as being boats, waves made by boats, or other animals. The first modern sighting was in 1933, when a man called George Spicer and his wife saw “a most extraordinary form of animal” cross the road in front of their car.
One of the more intriguing explanations came in 2006, when Neil Clark, the curator of palaeontology at Glasgow University’s Hunterian Museum, concluded two years of research by linking Nessie sightings to elephants.
He said the theory made sense because the circuses that frequently visited Inverness in the past century would often stop on the banks of Loch Ness to give the animals a rest. The trunk and humps in the water would bear similarities to some of the most famous Nessie photographs.
“The circuses used to take the road up to Inverness and allow their animals to have a rest, swim about in the Loch and refresh themselves,” Dr Clark said at the time.Reuse content