A new development reflecting the popularity
of Loch Ness, is the use of webcams, most notably (www.lochness.scotland.net/)
, making the loch accessible in a way that it has never
been before. It may be thought that the combination of
a relatively low resolution tool in the hands of unprecedented
numbers of people with no experience whatever of the loch's
conditions would be a sure recipe for a sightings bonanza.
Interestingly, this has not proved to be the case. Less
than half a dozen have come to our attention. There is
one however, which has come to particular public attention.
On June 20th 2000, Gavin Joth,
a resident of Victoria, British Columbia, was taking a
lunch break when he took a screen-grab from the Scotland
on Line webcam pointing across Urquhart Bay at Loch Ness,
where the local time was 8.30pm. A moving object was captured
in a series of frames, heading out of view towards the
Mr Joth's picture courtesy www.lochness.scotland.net
Mr. Joth felt that the object was larger
than a human head but smaller than a boat and it was therefore
on the basis of size that the object was considered of
After examination by the British Columbia
Scientific Cryptozoological Club, its president, John
Kirk III, was reported to have said that usual explanations
such as seals and boats could be discounted. The pictures
subsequently shared the £1000 prize from the British
bookmakers, William Hill for the best Nessie picture of
One of the advantages of webcams which
partly offsets the resolution problem, is that they are
in place long term in known positions, so it is relatively
easy to reconstruct some of the factors in a given event.
On May 3rd 2001, the Loch Ness Project set
out to test the size of the object empirically.
With the co-operation of Scotland on Line,
the webcam was trained to the same view as during the
incident. Mr. Joth's picture was then superimposed on
the view to give a position for the object of interest.
Mr Gordon Menzies then guided the Project's vessel Deepscan
to the spot by radio while he observed the computer screen.
Project members Adrian
Shine and John Minshull were accompanied by Dick
Raynor as they took GPS position fixes and placed Deepscan
stern-on to the camera. The picture below suggests that
the object certainly has a lesser height than Deepscan
(Length 32ft, Beam 12ft and Height 8ft 6ins) and perhaps
a slightly lesser beam.
Loch Ness rsearch vessel "Deepscan" in position.
However, an Avon inflatable dinghy was then launched,
from which it can be seen that the object is similar or
slightly larger. It is a fact that the nearby Urquhart
Bay Harbour usually contains a number of the Caley Cruisers
hire fleet in the evenings at this time of year and all
of these are equipped with the above dinghies. On calm
evenings they are a frequent sight buzzing around the
harbour mouth and the bay with their 2hp outboard motors.
Avon inflatable in the same position
On the basis of the above experiment,
we conclude that the object was not smaller than a boat
of the type described and may have been slightly larger.
The co-winners of the William Hill prize
provide an interesting case at the other extreme of the
size argument. On July 13th 2000 Melissa Bavister
and Chris Rivett took a photograph from a lay-by on the
A 82 north shore road, a little to the south of Tor Point.
Nothing unusual was seen at the time but upon development
the picture showed a large object with a boat in the foreground.
The couple had no recollection of a boat on the loch at
the time but considered the larger image to be of interest
since it appeared to have two humps. Various authorities
have stated that the negatives are intact and that the
image is not a speck on the film. Jim Cordiner, senior
lecturer in photography at the Glasgow College of Building
and Printing is reported to have said that "its shape
does not lend itself to being a boat or other man made
object. This leaves the only realistic possibility - that
it is a photo of some unknown creature in the loch".
Again the empiric scaling method was
conducted by the Loch Ness Project in November 2000 with
the result that the object could be seen to be over 70ft
long and 10ft high, exceeding even the most unrealistic
estimates of size for Loch Ness Monsters!
"Deepscan" just in front of Bavister object
position. Note the length.
The same picture with Bavister object tracing added.
Note boat tracing to the left.
Deepscan in front of Bavister object position. Note
The same oicture with Bavister object tracing.
A mathematical treatment has been completed
by Dick Raynor (www.lochnessinvestigation.org/)
with similar results. Raynor has also shown that the best
match for the image is one of the barges operating on
the loch seen at an oblique angle. These vessels are over
100ft long and are of the indicated height.
The most common cause of interesting
objects only noted after film processing are passing seagulls
but boats are also too commonplace to be recalled unless
they are the subject of the photograph. Clearly, an unrecognised
object of this scale would hardly have escaped the observer's
attention at the time. It may be concluded therefore,
that it was recognised at the time as commonplace but
was naturally forgotten afterwards.
Copyright: Loch Ness Project 2001
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