Rumours of a strange creature living in the waters of Loch Ness have abounded over the decades, yet scant evidence has been found to back up these claims.
One of the first sightings, believed to have fuelled modern Nessie fever, came in May 2, 1933.
On this date the Inverness Courier carried a story about a local couple who claim to have seen ‘an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface’.
Another famous claimed sighting is a photograph taken in 1934 by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson.
It was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged.
Other sightings include James Gray’s picture from 2001 when he and friend Peter Levings were out fishing on the Loch, while namesake Hugh Gray’s blurred photo of what appears to be a large sea creature was published in the Daily Express in 1933.
Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London physician, captured arguably the most famous image of the Loch Ness Monster. The surgeon’s photograph, which turned out to be a hoax, was published in the Daily Mail on April 21, 1934
The first reported sighting of the monster is said to have been made in AD565 by the Irish missionary St Columba when he came across a giant beast in the River Ness.
But no one has ever come up with a satisfactory explanation for the sightings – although in 2019, ‘Nessie expert’ Steve Feltham, who has spent 24 years watching the Loch, said he thought it was actually a giant Wels Catfish, native to waters near the Baltic and Caspian seas in Europe.
An online register lists more than 1,000 total Nessie sightings, created by Mr Campbell, the man behind the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club and is available at www.lochnesssightings.com.
So what could explain these mysterious sightings?
Many Nessie witnesses have mentioned large, crocodile-like scutes sitting atop the spine of the creature, leading some to believe an escaped amphibian may be to blame.
Native fish sturgeons can also weigh several hundred pounds and have ridged backs, which make them look almost reptilian.
Some believe Nessie is a long-necked plesiosaur – like an elasmosaurus – that survived somehow when all the other dinosaurs were wiped out.
Others say the sightings are down to Scottish pines dying and flopping into the loch, before quickly becoming water-logged and sinking.
While submerged, botanical chemicals start trapping tiny bubbles of air.
Eventually, enough of these are gathered to propel the log upward as deep pressures begin altering its shape, giving the appearance of an animal coming up for air.