An Encounter with Lizzie (sister of the Loch Ness Monster)

I was pretty hesitant about the idea of writing this post, as I suspected It might lead me to become the target of ridicule and disrespect. But then I remembered that being the target of riducule and disrespect was "just another ordinary day at the office", so I went ahead, and here it is (complete with photographic evidence.)

Strictly speaking this page isn't about the Loch Ness Monster (scientific name: Nessietarius-rhombocterix. sensible name: Nessie), but her cousin Lizzie, who supposedly lives in Loch Lochy, which is next door to Loch Ness. It stems from an experience my family had in the mid '70's.

An Encounter with Lizzie

I was four years old and we were driving from Fort William to Inverness in our little blue three-wheeler van (which, incidentally, is more embarrassing than the rest of the story). We were alongside Loch Lochy when my parents suddenly pulled over in a right commotion. Next thing I know, my Mum has dived outof  the van with her camera and my dad is staring agog into the water. I don't remember his exact words, but they would've been something along the lines of "my goodness graciuous me, that appears to be the darned Loch Ness Monster".

Yes indeed: he was staring at a large unidentified grey mass cutting through the water at a fair rate of knots. There were no windows in the back of the van, so by this time I'd unbuckled my seat and pulled myself towards the passenger window. I looked in astonishment as I saw what appeared to be a large trunk-like tail protruding from water. As any four-year would, I yelled "Daddy, It's the Loch Ness Monster!" - making exactly the same geographical mistake as my father had done moments earlier. At this moment, the 'beast', apparently reacting to my shouts, subsided below the surface. (I've been kicking myself ever since. So have my parents.)

Mum had run a good half-mile back down the loch-side so we set off up the road to turn round and collect her. My dad raced to the nearest layby and swung the van round viciously. In the layby was a woman eating sandwiches in her car. As my dad pulled up, he yelled, "We've seen the monster! We've seen the Loch Ness monster!". Not sure what to make of a lunatic in a blue three-wheeled van ranting about other-worldy beings, she rapidly wound up her window, and drove off at speed in the opposite direction.

We drove back and collected Mum, who by this time was somewhat flustered, and indeed traumatized - she had felt distinctly eerie as she stood alongside this strange beast. So... what about the contents of that camera?!

Ahhh... I can see the camera now - it was as much a monster as the object in the water. It was all dials and knobs and buttons, and not a hint of the word automatic. [Oh Kodak disposable or Cybershot Phone - where were you when we needed you?] Amazingly my Mum had kept her wits about her, and instead of firing off shots at random, she'd actually tried to set the picture up with the correct focus and exposure, as you had to do in those days. And this was whilst running along the road. Consequently she was delayed in taking the crucial photo, and my shouting had been badly timed, it transpired.

The photo was taken just as the grey object dipped below the surface, leaving just a huge wake in the water as evidence of its presence. Here is the photo:

Clearly we were disappointed that the picture didn't show the 'monster'. It was such a rare opportunity, to see something at such close quarters, and (quite by chance) to have a camera with us. If it was to happen again today, there is no doubt that with modern equipment we would have a series of photographs, possibly a video, that would have proved quite a talking (or even tweeting) point.

We still feel the photo is strong evidence for the presence of something in the water, as yet, unexplained. The wake is equivalent to something a mid-size power boat would make: not the trace of an otter or seal. It is clearly not a log or a rock - for where did it disappear to? The photo was submitted for analysis by several experts, none of whom have been able to provide a definite explanation. It is documented in a number of books, and we still treat it with an open and intrigued mind.

The tale (tail) still brings a shiver to my spine as I recall it. Although I was four, the image is as vivid as it was the day I saw it. And although it might be tempting to think the story is an elaborate fabrication on the part of my parents, how on earth could they convince a four year old to go along with the story??