Holiday snap reopens Loch Ness monster debate

Holiday snap reopens Loch Ness monster debate
Photo credit: Facebook/Steve Challice

A tourist in Scotland's holiday snaps have reignited claims Nessie is alive and lurking in the loch.

Steve Challice, from Southampton, took the shots from the bank of the Loch Ness while visiting Urquhart Castle on holiday, reports The Daily Record.

While taking photos Challice spotted what he thought was a big fish trailing through the water. 

"I started taking a couple shots and then this big fish came to the surface and then went back down again." he told The Daily Record.

Challice said he only captured the fleeting creature on camera once, but got shots of the trail it left behind. He said it was about 2.5 metres long and he was standing nine metres from the lake when he took the photo.

Challice finally got the chance to trawl through his holiday photos during the UK's coronavirus lockdown. He shared the image online of the large unknown creature in the hopes of identifying it, believing it was something mundane like a catfish or seal.

The divisive holiday snapshot quickly gathered comments from people speculating the creature was indeed the Loch Ness monster. 

Challice said he doesn't believe in the Loch Ness monster and there must be a non-mythical explanation for the sighting.

"My guess would be that what I captured was a catfish or something like that. As seals get in from the sea then I expect that's what it is and that would explain why these sightings are so few and far between."

Author Roland Watson who runs the Loch Ness Mystery Blog told The Daily Record, "If this is a genuine picture of a creature in Loch Ness, it would easily rank in the top three of all-time."

A digital photography expert has expressed doubts over the legitimacy of the image but Challice maintains it is real.

In Scotland many people believe Nessie does exist, even though the myth was debunked in September last year by a team of Kiwi researchers. 

The Otago University group led by Professor Neil Gemmell tried to track down the elusive monster using DNA collection and sequencing. They collected cups of water from three different depths in the loch in order to DNA test for any reptilian, monster like, remnants.

Lloyd Burr told The Project last September the researchers had collected samples from 250 locations within the lake. The team also collected scales, skin, insects and fur from the loch for testing.

After the samples were sent around the world for examination Gemmell confirmed to reporters in Scotland there was "absolutely no evidence" of "any reptilian sequences". 

Gemmell also debunked guesses of giant catfish lurking in the waters.

"There may be giant catfish in Loch Ness, but we didn't detect any of them," he said.

Gemmell explained the most likely explanation for the Loch Ness sightings were eels

"There are large amounts of eel DNA in Loch Ness; eels are very plentiful in the loch system. Is it possible what people are seeing is a giant eel? Well, maybe," he said.