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.
“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.
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