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Loch Ness Monster: Hunters flock to Scotland for the biggest Nessie search in half a century

This undated file photo shows a shadowy shape that some people say is a the Loch Ness monster in Scotland, later debunked as a hoax.
This undated file photo shows a shadowy shape that some people say is a the Loch Ness monster in Scotland, later debunked as a hoax. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Scott Reid
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An old tale meets modern advances as the search for the elusive creature uses new underwater drone tech.

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Monster-hunters are converging on Scotland as the biggest search in decades for the elusive Loch Ness Monster gets underway. 

This weekend, The Loch Ness Centre and a volunteer research team called Loch Ness Exploration hope a new generation will get involved in the hunt for Nessie.

It's expected to be the biggest search since the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau studied the Loch in 1972. 

New technology will be at the forefront of the search. Thermal drones will produce images of the water from the air using infrared cameras and a hydrophone will be used to detect any "Nessie-like calls".

Volunteers will take part in a watch of the Loch, keeping an eye out for breaks in the water and unexpected movements. 

“We are guardians of this unique story, and as well as investing in creating an unforgettable experience for visitors, we are committed to helping continue the search and unveil the mysteries that lie underneath the waters of the famous Loch," Paul Nixon, General Manager of the Loch Ness Centre, said.

The weekend gives an opportunity to search the waters in a way that has never been done before, and we can’t wait to see what we find.”

Andy Buchanan / AFP
Light clouds cover the sky above Loch Ness.Andy Buchanan / AFP

The history

The first mention of a strange water monster in Loch Ness appears in an ancient text from the sixth century AD. 

It describes an encounter by the Irish monk Saint Columba who was staying near the mouth of the River Ness. 

A companion was sent out to test the waters and, on seeing the monster, so the story goes, Columba made the sign of the cross and banished it to Loch Ness. 

It attracted more local attention in 1933 when the Inverness Courier carried a reported sighting of a monster. 

In 1934 the photograph most people think of when it comes to Nessie appeared, which supposedly showed the monster's head and neck. Decades later, it was said to be a hoax.

However, the legend of Nessie lived on. And while the hunt continues, Nessie has been an economic boon to the nearby towns surrounding the Loch. 

In 2012, the BBC reported that Nessie was worth around €29 million to the local economy.

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