Nessie - 8 Facts About Loch Ness' Most Elusive Resident

Fact or fiction, monster or myth: is there anything lurking beneath the waters of Loch Ness?

Loch Ness monster
Immanuel Giel / Public domain

Loch Ness in the north of Scotland holds more freshwater than all rivers and lakes in England and Wales put together, reaching insane depths of 800 feet in places. The estimated volume of the lake is 7.4 kilometres cubed - proportions that are hard to properly envisage and somewhat belied by how it looks on the surface.

Any who have driven the Loch-side from Drumnadrochit to Fort Augustus will attest to the fact that while it is long, it never looks wide enough to merit these massive measurements at any point. Aside from water-skiers, wild swimmers and the ever-present tourists, there is another group of people who spend a lot of time on the banks and surface of the Loch.

These people are Nessie Hunters: men and women that dedicate time, resources and energy scouring the Loch for any signs of the elusive Loch Ness Monster, that has been sighted, photographed and filmed (allegedly) for generations.

But what are the origins of the Loch Ness Monster? If it does exist, what sort of form does it take? And what do the sceptics say? Here are eight facts about Nessie. You make your own mind up.

8. A Long History

Loch Ness monster
J. R. Skelton (Joseph Ratcliffe Skelton; 1865–1927) (illustrator), erroneously credited as John R. Skelton / Public domain

As with all good stories that straddle the line between reality and myth, there is a rich background and a long trail of historical references to the mysterious sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.

In the year 565 AD, St Columba was said to have encountered the beast, in what is generally accepted to be the first written reference to something strange living in the Loch. Saint Columba himself is a man who definitely existed according to many varying sources and his work spreading Christianity through Scotland is regarded as highly important in some circles.

The story goes that while a follower of the Saint was swimming across the water, he was approached by a beast that had recently killed another man. When Columba made the sign of the cross and spoke to the beast, it retreated and the local people were understandably impressed and grateful.

While this story sounds extremely fanciful and bears a lot of the common signs of over-egged tales about saintly men, people who believe in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster attach a great deal of worth to it, as it proves that there was something odd known to exist in the area as far back as the 6th century.

Sceptics point out the improbability of the story and the fact that it happened on the River Ness, rather than the Loch itself. It is up to each of us to decide which viewpoint appeals more.

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Matthew is a Marine Engineer to trade who writes sub-standard Scottish crime fiction in his spare time that can be found here:- Originally brought up in the Western Isles of Scotland, he lived in Edinburgh for 18 years but now stay in Aberdeenshire with his partner, sons and dog.