Loch Ness Monster: Nessie's back, just in time for Scotland's big year

Businesses told how to cash in on legend as Games and referendum vote approach

It is a story that has been around since the sixth century, but businesses in the Highlands will look at the Loch Ness Monster with extra interest next month as they learn how to exploit the economic potential of the legend.

Nessie is estimated to attract around 300,000 visitors a year to the banks of the freshwater loch, swelling the coffers of local businesses to the tune of £30m annually.

Only last week there was feverish excitement after a satellite image appeared on Apple Maps, apparently showing the creature in the first major sighting for more than a year – the longest gap between confirmed reports since 1925.

In a year in which Scotland will be welcoming visitors from across the world for the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup – as well as being at the centre of international attention with the independence referendum – attempts to promote the association make compelling financial sense.

Gary Campbell of the University of the Highlands and Islands Management School, who along with VisitScotland will be hosting the Monster Marketing seminar, denied that official efforts to exploit the legend detracted from the magic.

Mr Campbell, who is also president of the Loch Ness Fan Club, which was at the centre of verification attempts with the Apple Maps image, said: “I think the marketing man moved in a long time ago. The Loch Ness Monster phenomenon is a product of some very slick marketing in the 1930s.” He wants to get local attractions thinking about ways of linking up.

One of the speakers will talk about how he was asked by the American actor Charlie Sheen for help in finding Nessie. While modern interest in the phenomenon of giant inland marine creatures dates back to the inter-war years – sparked in part by the success of the 1933 film King Kong – the first alleged sighting was recorded, about 100 years after the event, in The Life of Saint Columba, written in the seventh century. The Apple Maps satellite image of the ‘creature’ The Apple Maps satellite image of the ‘creature’

But it was the famous pictures from 1933 and 1934, including the so-called Surgeon’s Photograph that was revealed as a hoax in the 1970s, which kick-started decades of serious international scientific investigation into the existence or otherwise of Nessie.

Belief in water beasts or kelpies is not confined to Scotland and they continue to exert a powerful influence on the human imagination around the world. Yet amid the pranks, the fame-seekers and the merely drunk, there have been more than 1,000 unexplained sightings.

Mr Campbell, a chartered accountant whose interest began in 1996 when he saw a “black hump coming out of the water twice in quick succession”, said the evidence was real.  “Even the most hardened cynic who comes to the area will have a quick look just in case,” he said.

Adrian Shine, a naturalist who has been involved in the underwater search for the monster since the 1970s as well as running an award-winning exhibition, described official attempts to exploit the legend as “manifestly cynical”.

“The whole point about the Loch Ness Monster is that it has not been promoted in this official manner. It has arisen through ordinary people’s experience and what they see and report. It has flourished in spite of official promotion and therein rests in its authenticity,” he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Voices
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
News
people
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
News
people... and stop them from attacking people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?