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Hunting the Loch Ness Monster

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

In the Highlands of Scotland is a mystery, one that has captivated locals and world travelers alike. As the story goes, down deep under the black dark waters of Loch Ness dwells a creature unlike anything we have in existence in the world today. The Loch Ness Monster, lovingly called Nessie, has been a part of Scottish folklore for 1,500 years. Yet, despite all those years of stories and sightings, no one has been able to gather credible proof. Although there have been photos and even videos, these bits of evidence are met with overwhelming criticism. One has to ask, is there more evidence out there and are the people who hold it so fearful of ridicule that they don't dare speak of it?

The first noted sighting came from an Irish Missionary, St. Columba, who said he had encountered the beast in the River Ness in 565 AD. St. Columba is credited with spreading Christianity in what is today known as Scotland and also the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. The next note worthy sighting came in more modern times in 1930 when the Inverness Courier published a story about a sighting Aldie Mackay had when she believed she spotted the monster.

In more recent times, extensive studies have been done on Loch Ness, not in a "to discredit stories of eyewitnesses" way, but in an attempt to bring resolution. It is my own personal belief that often times, in these crazy stories, the eye witnesses truly do believe what they saw. I think its more rare that individuals make up absurd stories, but more plausible is that they really did see something and what that something was, is up to debate. What we do know is that scientists have done DNA studies on the water and have picked up no DNA of an ancient shark or a Plesiaoaur, which is what many suspect Nessie is. What they have found is an abundance of European eel DNA. Many folks argue that they are familiar with the eels and can identify them with ease. According to them, this like nothing they have ever seen.

In 2012, I set out on my own mission to discover the truth of Nessie. I could no longer binge watch documentary after documentary on the matter. Truly, I couldn't do that, I had seen them all. It was time to go and find this world famous legend. So with that, we rented a car and we headed out, but first we had to pick up my friend Katie from California at the airport.

Okay, now with Katie picked up and feeling all jet lagged and out of her mind from exhaustion, we threw her a snack to eat in the back seat of the car and on we went. It was a nine hour drive for us, but we planned to break it up over a two day period. As we made our way through the rolling farm lands of England and into Scotland, I was too distracted by the call of Nessie to enjoy much of anything else. All I could think about was the stories of the locals and what I imagined my encounter with Nessie would be. Feeling so inspired by this wave of emotion I did a brief sketch, which is pictured below.

This scene depicts me feeding Nessie a Banana. You can't find quality content like this anywhere else guys.

We stopped in Glasgow for the night after much exploring of Edinburgh. We were so exhausted that even when we discovered our tiny hotel room was not really made to accommodate all of us as it was advertised, we just decided to roll with it.

It's a new dawn, a new day and I'm feeling good. We loaded up the car and off we went stopping only once at a small gas station just before the Highlands. We made sandwiches out of french bread, salami, pepperoni and cheese - at Subway, this is called the Spicy Italian, but in the Highlands, this is called, it's what they had, eat it! We drove on up into the highlands before pulling off to the side to have lunch. Although the food was simple, the location was stunning. I had never before and haven't since seen anything more beautiful than the Highlands.

At one point, I got out of the car and heard first hand how unfamiliar and strange it is to hear nothing. There were no cars, no birds, no sheep, the wind blew but even then the void of sound swallowed it up whole. I felt as if I couldn't even hear myself breath. It was a tremendous experience, which was suddenly interrupted by the sound of my husband nawing and crunching chips/crisps in my ear. "What are you looking at?" he asked.

After lunch, we were ready, with food in our bellies and hunger for adventure in our hearts, we were closing in on Nessie. We knew we were getting close when lawn decor started popping up. I tried to image what I would think and feel if I really did see this come out of the water. I determined my reaction would be based solely on how close he was to me when he popped up. From the shoreline, majestic in awe, wonderful, up next to my boat, consider these underwear and pants ruined.

Photo Credit : Katie Taw-Hark

Finally we made it.

Our first stop was Urquhart Castle, or castle ruins that are perched on the shores of Loch Ness. We toured the ruins, trying to get acquainted with the history of Inverness and the Loch itself.

After a brief period of exploration and no sign of Nessie on land, it was time to head out into her territory. We chartered a boat and as we pushed out into the Loch, my first surprise was how dark the water was. It was black almost like ink. It was unlike any body of water I had ever seen before. It was eerie peering off the edge knowing anything could be inches from the surface and I'd have no way of knowing it. Even in lakes, rivers, and oceans you can see some life - plants waving about in the current, fish swimming, but this was different.

We patrolled the loch and there were no signs of her, no bit of drift wood, or floating debris to even get us momentarily excited. It was empty. Whatever secrets the Loch kept they were bound beneath the layer of dark water that drummed gently on the side of the boat.

With no signs of Nessie, we headed back to shore, and we decided to go back to Urquhart Castle, for one final bit of exploring. We climbed the narrow stairwell to the top and peered out over the loch.

From the top of the castle, looking out over the grounds.

While my adventure companions were enjoying their exploration of a beautiful location in Scotland, I withdrew to a quite place on the hill, reflecting on my Mother who, at that time, had just passed. I thought deeply about the generations of people who once lived and thrived in what is now ruins. How, if Nessie really is out there, she has watched the generations of man come and go. Long after they were gone, the legend has lived on, and it will do the same, when I someday take my leave.

As always, keep it safe, keep it cool, and stay curious.

Have You seen Nessie? Comment below and tell us about it.

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