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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Look at the Loch Lochy Monster

Loch Ness, Scotland is not the only lake there that is said to harbor a mysterious water monster. Many other Lochs throughout Scotland are said to be home to similar creatures, one of which we will be looking at today.

The monster in question today is Lizzie, which supposedly lives in Loch Lochy. This creature (or creatures) is said to resemble the Loch Ness Monster in shape - usually having 3 humps and looking like an extinct plesiosaur.

But, before we get on to sightings of the Loch Lochy Monster, lets take a look at the lake itself.

LOCH LOCHY

Loch Lochy is located in Lochaber, Highland, Scotland. It is located 10 miles southwest of Loch Ness and is about 10 miles long. The lake is also the third deepest in Scotland, with an average depth of about 230 feet.
Loch Lochy

Stories about strange creatures in Loch Lochy are nothing new, as tales of "water horses"  go back many years:

"Folklore tales mention 'a supernatural being' called the River Horse which was said to emerge from the lake and assume a horse's shape before feeding on the loch's banks. The River Horse was also known as the Lord Of The Lake and the Water King and would overturn boats and 'entice mares from their pastures'. Another tradition was that of the River Bull, 'a gentle, harmless creature' which would 'emerge from the lake into the pasture of cows.'"

 The tale above about the "River Horse" and "River Bull" are very, very similar to those that come from Loch Ness and other Scottish lakes about "water horses" and things of that sort. And while lots of it may be only folklore, the tales of these water creatures may have some basis in fact. Like resident cryptid creatures, perhaps.

SIGHTINGS OF THE MONSTER
Does a strange creature live in Loch Lochy?

The first reported sighting of the Loch Lochy Monster comes from 1929, about 5 years before the Loch Ness Monster made headlines around the world. Two local gamekeepers were the witnesses here, when they saw what they at first thought was only a floating log. But, when they looked at it through a telescope, they realized they were not looking at a log, but a living creature! They watched whatever-it-was swim for about a mile before it disappeared under the surface.

The next reported sighting occurred one year later, in 1930. A man who lived near the loch saw something in the water that frightened him so much he told his wife never to wash the laundry in the lake again.

In 1960, Maurice Burton, who looked into the Loch Ness Monster mystery, received a photograph taken on the loch that may show a monster. A "dark mass" could be seen in a patch of foam in the middle of the lake. Whatever it was supposedly disappeared just after the photo was taken. In July of the same year, Eric Robinson and his family spotted a strange creature in the lake. They at first thought it was a standing wave, but then when they looked at it through binoculars, realized it was a living thing. As they watched it, the thing rolled over in the water and they saw a flipper. They estimated the length of its back to be about fifteen to twenty feet, and estimated overall length at about thirty to forty feet. In addition to Robinson and his family, nine other people saw the same spectacle.

1975 saw a sighting by Margaret Sargent and her family as they were driving along the lake. They were near the Corriegour Hotel and saw an odd wake on an otherwise calm lake. They could see a "long black shape" causing the wake. Mrs. Sargent tried to snap a picture, but by the time she did all that could be seen was the wake as the animal had disappeared under the water.

In 1996, people at the Letterfinlay Hotel were witnesses to an unknown animal "moving in a strange fashion" through the lake. The next year, 1997, there was a sighting by Alastair Stevenson, a local gamekeeper. Stevenson said he saw a 15-20 foot long creature that took his rod & tackle while he was fishing on the lake. He said it was "akin to catching a rowing boat."

Also in 1997, the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club organized the first expedition to search for the monster of Loch Lochy, led by Cameron Turner. That July they went in search of the beast and may have encountered it. The first day of the expedition, sonar detected an 18-20 foot long object 160 feet below the surface. It was close to the Letterfinlay Hotel where witnesses had seen Lizzie in 1996. The boat that located the contact turned and found it again 2 minutes later, this time 200 feet below the surface. After this, the contact was lost.

In September 1997, Cameron Turner returned to Loch Lochy. He hired a boat from Alastair Stevenson's family, and just like in July had a sonar contact of something strange. This time the contact was 270 feet below the surface and they followed it for 3 minutes.

WHAT IS LIZZIE?

So, what is the monster of Loch Lochy? From eyewitness reports, its hard to tell, though they do all claim that they saw a living animal, and not a floating log or something of that sort. But, other than that, details are scarce. Really the only descriptions we have are of dark humps and a possible flipper.

As of right now, the jury is still out, and the Loch Lochy monster remains a mystery like its Loch Ness cousin and other lake monsters of the world.

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