As the legend of Nessie haunting the murky depths of Scotland’s most famous Loch continues to endure – could it be possible the monster is not alone?
A new photograph has opened up the intriguing possibility that two such serpentine beasts are at large.
Council worker Ian Campbell, 56, was on a bicycle ride with his son and a family friend when he spotted two big “creatures”apparently swimming across the Loch together.
Campbell, who insists he is not a man “given to flights of fancy” is convinced he saw two animals in the water.
Which raises the question – has Nessie been joined by a mate or could this be a new bouncing baby monster?
Campbell was on the western shores of Loch Ness while on a bike ride between Fort Augustus and Inverness in August with his son Fraser, 13, and family friend Karen MacPhee, 54, when the two shapes appeared in the water.
Campbell’s son also saw the “creatures” but MacPhee was cycling some way behind and did not get a good look.
Campbell says they watched for around 30 seconds before losing sight of the objects but he managed to take a photograph using the camera on his phone.
He said: “At the time we saw it we had stopped for a rest and to admire the view. It seemed to appear suddenly from nowhere.
“I said to my son: ‘What is that in the water?’ He said to me that it looked like a big animal.
“I said ‘I think you’re right’ and grabbed my camera phone to take a picture.
“We watched for around 30 seconds before it disappeared from view and by that time Karen had caught up and she saw it for around five seconds.
“We talked about it afterwards obviously and we just had no idea what it could be. I would estimate they were 10m in length and I took the picture from around 400m away.
“I was saying to my son that we had just seen the Loch Ness monster and he was saying ‘Yes, right.’”
Campbell, of Argyll, who works as an environmental health regulatory officer for Argyll and Bute Council, said he knows the area well and he has never seen anything like it before.
“I am convinced that what I saw was two creatures,” he said.
Despite there being no conclusive evidence of the famed monster, the mystery and interest surrounding Nessie is worth an estimated £60 million to the Scottish economy, with hundreds of thousands of visitors travelling to Loch Ness every year in the hope of catching a glimpse.
According to lore, the serpentine beast has said to have haunted the loch since 1933.
Believed by many to be the last of a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs, (a Jurassic marine reptile) legend has it that the creature appears along with earth tremors and swirling bubbles.
Nessie first hit headlines in 1934 when the Daily Mail published what it claimed was the first picture of the beast.
The photo was later revealed to have been staged, but there has been no shortage of images since.
One possible candidate linked to the sightings is the wels catfish, which is the largest freshwater fish in Europe. It can live for decades, possibly even as long as 80 years, the National Geographic reveals.
In February twin Italian brothers caught a 9ft long wels catfish in the Po River of northern Italy.
The animal was dubbed “the monster of the Po” by the Italian media, the Telegraph reports.