Introduction

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The fearsome monster I encountered in the Eagle comic of 10th January 1959 was attacking space pilot Dan Dare in the swamps of Venus. This fired my imagination.

Here, on Earth, in Britain, in Scotland, in Loch Ness, we had our very own monster

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Here, on Earth, in Britain, in Scotland, in Loch Ness, we had our very own monster. I became absorbed in Nessie's story as a ten year-old.

Over the years I kept a keen eye on newspaper accounts and the various pictures and sighting reports which materialised. During my childhood, holidays in the Highlands always involved a diversion to the huge moody loch in the hope of that elusive sighting or photograph.

Today it is difficult to know whether my father was as interested in the subject as me, or was just humouring his imaginative son. Certainly on one occasion, in 1959, perhaps less than an hour before the photograph below was taken, I clearly recall us stopping the car in the long "Wellington" layby and taking pictures of three humps in the distance. That they were some six miles distant and stretched across a mile of water didn't seem strange to me at the time. Nor did my incredible luck strike me as unexpected. Seeing the monster within minutes of arriving at the lochside.

Of course, as we approached they resolved themselves into three fishing vessels making their way through the loch on their way towards Inverness

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Of course, as we approached they resolved themselves into three fishing vessels making their way through the loch on their way towards Inverness.

Did my father know they were boats and was taking an opportunity to add an element of adventure to the holiday or did he really think there could be a mile-long monster in the loch? He died in 1975 so I can never know the answer to that question, but it was interesting that within minutes of taking my first Loch Ness Monster photograph I had already debunked it. Was this to be the pattern for the future?

My interest was refreshed in the seventies when the underwater photographs of a flipper-like object in Loch Ness were published. Could there really be a lost world in the Highlands of Scotland and did plesiosaurs still swim in the world's oceans?

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