Infrared cameras search for the Loch Ness Monster
Over one hundred volunteers took part in the largest search for 50 years for the mythical Loch Ness Monster. Using the latest infra-red camera technology, the researchers hoped to finally unravel the mysteries concealed within the depths of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.
From carefully chosen vantage points on the shores, volunteers documented both ordinary natural occurrences and any peculiar phenomena occurring on the surface of the vast Loch. At the same time, 300 individuals were enlisted to closely monitor a live-stream feed of the extensive exploration.
Drones outfitted with infrared cameras flew above the Loch’s surface while an underwater hydrophone was deployed to detect anomalous sounds from the depths of the Loch.
The formidable size of Loch Ness, spanning 36 kilometres (23 miles) with depths exceeding 200 meters (650 feet) in certain areas, poses a formidable challenge to exploratory efforts. With a water capacity of 7.452 billion cubic meters, the Loch dwarfs the combined volume of all lakes in England and Wales.
Alan McKenna, a representative of Loch Ness Exploration, said in an interview with BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland that the team is looking for distinctive disruptions on the water’s surface. He cautions, however, that optical illusions and misperceptions can often deceive the observer’s senses, stating, “Not every ripple or wave is a beastie. Some of those can be explained, but there are a handful that cannot.”
The Nessie legend stretches back to medieval times, attributing an encounter with the beast to the Irish monk St. Columba in the river Ness, flowing from the Loch. It was then brought to public attention again in 1933 when a hotel manager reported seeing a huge “water beast” in the Loch. The legend took off and has inspired many stories and movies, becoming a major tourist attraction.
Since then, several photographs taken on the Loch suggest the presence of a large beast, the most famous taken by a surgeon in 1934. However, that photograph has since been proven to be faked using miniature models and a toy submarine.
Previous efforts to unmask the creature include 1987’s Operation Deepscan, deploying 24 watercraft equipped with advanced echo sounders to sweep the entire expanse of the Loch. On several occasions, unusual echoes were detected, defying immediate explanation, although the presence of sizable debris was suggested as a possible explanation.
In 2019, a scientific endeavour led by researchers from New Zealand proposed that the frequent sightings of the mythical Loch Ness Monster might be attributed to the presence of very large eels. Employing innovative DNA analysis techniques on water samples, these scientists negated the likelihood of significant creatures, such as prehistoric plesiosaurs in the Loch.
DIYP asked our Scottish resident John Aldred if he’d ever seen the Loch Ness Monster. “I’ve never seen her personally,” John says, “but I’ve been told by Scottish people that she exists. She feeds on wild haggis.”
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe