£1000 Prize this year! Nessie goes to NASA

Quick thinking use of a camera in his glove compartment last March has earned a Ross-shire pet food salesman a £500 (about US $800) prize. Richard White, 53, from Muir of Ord, Scotland won the William Hill "Best Nessie Sighting of the Year Award" for 1997 (Please note: William Hill have since discontued the prize).

The award, which was last claimed a number of years ago, has just been re-launched with its presentation to Richard who took the only Nessie photo of last year.

Nessie - winning photo Click on the picture for a blow-up of Nessie

Richard explained the events of 21st March last year ;

"I was travelling to Foyers at around 11-30 in the morning as part of my regular sales run. I noticed an unusual disturbance in the water half way across the loch from Urquhart Castle and immediately stopped to take a closer look. I remebered that I had a small Olympus camera in the glove compartment and scrambled to get it as a creature came out of the water."

He went on to say that he took 10 photos in quick succession as Nessie slowly rose out of the water and then dived back in. Afterwards he noticed a series of humps coming back out of the water but he had by then run out of film. The whole sequence was also witnessed by a couple who had stopped their car behind Richard’s van but in the excitement of the moment he did not get their details.

The sighting was reported to the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club who maintain a register of all Nessie sightings.

Fan Club president Gary Campbell said of Richard’s photos, "they are a remarkable series of snaps, some of the best ‘Nessie’ photos I have ever seen.

We had the negatives examined by a photographic expert and magnified on a powerful PC and we were still no further forward in working out what it was that rose from the loch that day".

He explained that the combination of the use of a small camera and the distances involved made it difficult to get any definition on the object. As a result of this, the negatives were passed to an American scientific documentary team who were filming at the loch last summer.

They have since forwarded them to NASA for further examination in the hope that "X-Files" type enhancement software used by the American space agency can give a clearer picture of what Richard snapped.

Gary went on to say "With so many of the photos taken of ‘something’ in the loch turning out to be a boat wake or some other everyday object, it is great to have a real mystery object on our hands. Notwithstanding that NASA are still examining the evidence, the fact that in the photos the monster appears to be heading directly towards the area of the 826 feet deep "Nessie’s Cave" in Urquhart bay clinches it for me!".

The award is presented in March each year. If you see Nessie email the fanclub: president@lochness.co.uk and you could be in with a chance of winning next year’s prize.

Nessie was spotted 11 times last year.

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