Monday, 25 September 2017

Loch Ness Trip Report September 2017




The rain had fallen in abundance, thus ensuring a field of mud at the campsite. I was here a month later than usual, so it was a bit colder, a bit wetter and daylight hours were less. Nevertheless, a walk afterwards along the beach at Foyers presented one with a loch after the storm as the waters almost perfectly reflected the hills and skies above. The proverbial mill pond as someone once said 84 years before at the same location. The only initial oddity was the patches of foam which had swept into the loch from the nearby River Foyers (below).

However, it was something I saw that disturbed the calm on this first evening that grabbed my attention. As I scanned the waters, my eyes fell upon a disturbance of water to my right about half way across the loch. It was a splash of water perhaps three feet high which fell back to whence it came from but that was that.

What had caused it was not apparent to the eye as nothing apart from water was visible. If an object had broken the surface and then submerged again, I was none the wiser as to whether this had happened at all because my eyes had seen it too late.

I would say that the whole area was a continuous sequence of concentric ripples appearing all over the surface which indicated the presence of fish taking insects from the surface. Did one of these larger fish breach the surface but disappear below the surface before I could see it? Perhaps, perhaps not, but I will have to call this one inconclusive.




TASKS

As threatened in a previous post, I undertook the task of trying to identify the location of the George Spicer land sighting. There were only three parameters available in determining any answer, but there is enough in that sub plot to merit an article in its own right.

Friday night saw my usual dawn run between Foyers and Dores as I continue to gather data on deer runs and any other information that may be gleaned from this two way excursion. However, I think late September is not as good as late August for such a run. Since sunrise was at about 7am, I headed off about 6am but this was not a great choice as traffic was already present on the road as I passed by three cars and I prefer a zero car run for the dashcam.

The problem is that if I set off earlier to avoid cars, it will be too dark for the dashcam to record anything. So, another argument for visiting the loch in August (despite the huge number of tourists). As it turned out, I did not see a single deer crossing the road in front of me during the 23 mile round trip, just one rabbit. That said, the "huddle of deer" Spicer theory continues to be a busted flush.

One thing that does not require my presence is trap or game cameras. I have spoken on these instruments in the past and they have been part of my research portfolio for five years and counting. I left one over the past four months and returned to it on Saturday and, yes, it was still there untouched by dishonest hands.

I know that because it didn't snap anyone in front of it! It is a higher risk leaving such a device over the bustling summer months as one cannot discount the more energetic visitors clambering around the shore and finding it. However, when I went to retrieve it, I nearly gave up myself trying to get near it, only to be stopped by thick vegetation which had sprung up in the intervening months.

Well, I suppose that is a good thing. I opened the camera casing and removed the SD memory card. There was no point in unstrapping the whole thing since it was my intention for the camera to continue being a sentinel over the autumn and winter months. I would return later with fresh batteries and an erased SD card.

This particular game camera was set to record one single image and a 10 second video clip. That resulted in about 300+ of each being stored on the card. Video clips obviously take up a lot more memory than single images, so the trick is to make sure the camera runs out of battery power before it runs out of memory space!

The camera did its job perfectly. Anything moving within sixty feet of it triggered the still image snap and the short video clip; be it boat, animal, tree or water. The trouble was no Loch Ness Monster ventured in front of the sensor which was no surprise considering the odds of it swimming past the sixty foot radial cone of the camera is very small indeed.

However, the odds shorten the longer the cameras are trained on the loch and so we wait ... and wait. But that is the best way as snapping blobby looking objects half a mile away is not going to cut it with the sceptics. However, something within sixty feet of an HD camera is a different matter.

One picture that repeated often on the still/video image was a set of bow waves but no boat. It was if the object was travelling so fast, the camera failed to trigger in time to snap it. When I went to visit Steve Feltham, we speculated whether it was Langmuir circulations which are characterised by streaky lines upon the surface of the loch.

As it turned out, the mystery was solved when I was back in the area and I heard an approaching roar. It was the fast moving RIB boat from the Cruise Loch Ness company and it was clearly the culprit which could not be captured on SD card. I just hope Nessie doesn't move that fast or these cameras will never get anything!


IN AND ABOUT THE LOCH

People are always posting pictures of Nessie simulacra and why should this blog be any different? I saw this "Nessie" on land looking out across the loch. Like practically all pieces of tree in and about the loch, it was fooling nobody.




If you have been to the village of Dores, you may have noticed the sculpture below commissioned by the owner of the Dores Inn which looks out over the bay. A nice piece of artwork, though very much in the plesiosaur tradition I suspect.




The aforementioned Steve Feltham was sitting outside his immobile mobile home enjoying the sun and crafting his latest Nessie model. He had nothing to report of interest, although he did know about the sighting in Dores Bay recently reported by Gary Campbell. We compared notes as the tourists and locals enjoyed the beach and took in the Dores Community Fair stands nearby.

AND FINALLY

The rain returned on the morning of our final day, which is always a bit of a pain as the tent has to be dried out later back home. But by coincidence, it was also the day of the annual Baxters Loch Ness Marathon.  So, I suspended the usual decamping chores and walked up the hill from Lower Foyers to Upper Foyers to take in the event.




I was standing at the 7 mile marker and after 35 minutes the first runner went past, meaning he was clocking a five minute mile on average. The chap in second place was about 30 meters behind him and I am sure one of them was the winner as the next group turned up five minutes later! I reckon those two were a mile ahead of the other with less than a third of the marathon completed.

Of course, the question is what do these guys do when the monster breaks the surface of the loch as they run past? Do they stop to gaze upon this wonder and potentially lose the race or press on regardless? I know what I would do!

I hope to be back at the loch in April 2018.


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

34 comments:

  1. Wonderful write up. So interesting and heart-warming that the hunt continues. Just thinking about the trail cam. Won't the batteries die long before April, your planned return month?

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    1. The canera I mentioned above was still running after 4 months but Sept-Apr is 6 months and they will be dead, especially the ones recording video clips.

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  2. I bet your like me Roland, you hate leaving the place. I will be back up there myself in march/ april, its going to be a long wait.

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    1. Aye, I will have to content myself with blogging ...

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    2. Love your reports Roland , just couldn't believe the growth in visitor numbers last time i was there especially at Dores where Steve is based .What used to be a relatively quiet beach was absolutely heaving.April-May would probably be the best with length of days v Hoards of visitors but i'll hoprfully make it up there next year .

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  3. On a non Nessie tangent, what's the goss on the Crowley cottage at Boleskin, any sign of a rebuild after the fire ?

    I recently parked at the cemetery to have a look see and a big muckle bus came along and threatened to scrape my bodywork unless I moved.
    A full sized bus on that bloody narrow road ?

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    1. John, have you wondered if you're stirring up a hex by being so vocally against the notion of these elusive animals? Do you live in the area?

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    2. The bus would’ve been the Foyers to Inverness service. Been running several times a day for years without incident.

      As for Boleskine House - no word on what’s going on with it, though it’s getting overrun now with tourists parking up at the cemetery, crossing the road and climbing the fences to have a closer look as they know there’s no-one in the place. Now that is an accident waiting to happen.

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    3. I was never a big fan of Crowley, so still have no inkling to visit the ruins.

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    4. It’s a shame as it’s a nice house. Would be nice to see it restored, though its Crowley baggage will always come with it.

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  4. I omitted to mention I saw a sporty looking car dumped by the roadside just as you head north out of Inverfarigaig. It had its rear window panned in and was cordoned by police tape. Anyone know anything about this?

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    1. The wee Renault?

      No-one seems to know anything about it. It’s been there for weeks.

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    2. nessie aparrently ambushed the car and took one of the passengers-to go!

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  5. Nice to hear a few regular goings on in this weird and wonderful place.

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  6. Roland, just watched your TV appearance on History's Greatest Hoaxes. It's on YouTube. Pretty weird title - yes, there's been a number of hoaxes but I would say there's more to the mystery than that even if there's nothing there. Anyway, I thought you and Dick Raynor came across very well, both serious, two sides of the same coin to my mind. Funny to see u both working together as I know you fight offen. I liked the skeptical guy who had a ginger beard. I think it was very interesting to see Steve Feltham. He thinks it's now a catfish? What the hell? Dude's devoted his life to finding a catfish? If you see him soon give him a cuddle from me please and tell him he's awesome. Loved seeing the Loch. I managed to visit this year and it was astonishingly beautiful as always.

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    1. I agree Roland comes across very well, though i cant say the same
      for Dick Raynor because he talks too much garbage.

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    2. GEZZA, that's a bit harsh. I think Dick Raynor seems nice, but comes across as the sceptical version of the believer in everything. You know the type of Nessie fan who believes every photo video and statement is real? He's just like that but the opposite. Seems incapable of accepting he doesn't have an explanation for everything. It's a weakness, but I think garbage is too strong of a word.

      Roland does come across very well. New Nessie documentaries seem to have died down a bit recently. Perhaps Roland should feature more frequently in future. An articulate and genial man, with the right accent (unlike most sceptics).

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    3. Its not harsh its the truth. I think he talks garbage.

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    4. I’d say ‘the right accent’ comment is a poor one. George Edwards infected similar and let himself down in the process.

      You might not agree with Dick’s views, but you can’t argue that he and Adrian Shine probably have the most Loch time under their belts of any of us. That means their opinions carry weight as far as I’m concerned.

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    5. RP McMurphy, I prefer Scottish lore experts to be and sound Scottish. That's my right. I've always felt the tradition of Loch Ness is only truly understood by Scots, not by Englishmen who migrated to the region in the 60s and 70s.

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    6. Let’s just scrub Dinsdale and Rhines from the story then shall we?

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    7. I dont agree. Just because you have years of loch time doesnt make you an expert.And lets not forget he was the only one that argued that the 'fin' photograph wasnt in loch ness.

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    8. RP, if researchers from elsewhere aren't lazy I agree they are of interest. I was really referring to the lazier type of Englishman who turned up excited, quickly grew frustrated, and instead of disappearing off home decided to hang around for decades trying to prove no monsters. I don't dislike such people, I just don't look to them for answers.

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    9. Gezza im not sure I agree with the concept of ‘experts’ on the loch either, but if there is one then surely Adrian Shine fits that bill? Sceptic or not, I find it hard to believe anyone wouldn’t regard Adrian as a net contributor to the area and the Loch Ness story.

      Dicks on the water just about every day. You don’t think his opinions count for anything? I do.

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    10. No i dont RP, not after some of his explanations like the Hugh Gray Swan. Some of his explanations puzzle me for a man of his experience, so no in my opinion spending years on the water does not make you any better a judge than anyone else. My opionion of course.

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    11. My opinion on Loch Ness experts is simple enough. None of any of them on any side of the debate are free of bias and prejudice and this will infect their thought processes and deductions to varying degrees. I will readily admit of myself, but sceptics never admit it of themselves. This lack of humility suggests to me it is a greater issue for them.

      As for local and non-local knowledge. Again, my own take on this is that knowledge increases asymptotically, i.e. a doubling of knowledge takes an increasingly longer time and that knowledge decreases in quality over time as it becomes more focussed on minutiae.

      So, one could get quite high up this knowlegde curve in a set time, but the next progress over the same set time gains less and less knowledge.

      And we haven't got onto the subject of knowledge vs wisdom. You can hava a lot of knowledge but not much wisdom.

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    12. I'm aware of the swan theory for the Hugh Gray photo. I believe it was dreamed up by Dick Raynor, and then latched onto as a good explanation by Darren Naish. Unsure if others went down that route too. It's a key weakening moment in DR's reputation I would say. For all the sceptics to be suggesting the image shows a blur, then for DR to settle on it being a dead swan (which it looks nothing like) is a bit of a head-scratcher. Some of his other comments on TV and on his website have struck a chord though. Hence I wouldn't personally describe him as talking garbage. Just my opinion. I think he gets a kernel of an idea and it takes hold of him and doesn't let go. No real harm done though.

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  7. Another idea for your book cover. A photo of one of your trail cams looking out over the loch. Showing you're taking the search seriously and using modern tech. Just another thought.

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  8. Will should really keep his politically based anti-English sentiments to himself,they have no place on this board.

    As a Scot I have no more spiritual affinty with Loch Ness than someone from Rhyl, Bury or Vladivostok, nor has he.

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    1. I agree John ..people from diffrent places even across the pond have spent hours at loch ness! Its there for anyone and any type of person! What i like about loch ness is anyone can study the mystery..the man with the hi tec technology or a humble man like me with my little camcorder lol and everyone has the same chance of spotting something. Roy

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    2. John, I'm 100% English. I'm also entitled to my views on the connection between the Loch Ness mystery and the people of the area, their heritage, their lore. It's not in any way anti-English. If I wanted someone to give me detailed insight into London's East End over the last century I wouldn't go asking the people of Inverness.

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  9. I do beg your benevolence in jumping to a conclusion, with a name like Will Soutar I had you down as one of the many bairns of the very potent Jock Tamson.

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    1. John, I'm not sure if that's a semi-apology but if it is I accept it.

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