The pictures and videos you took on your vacation to Inverness may not be of the real Loch Ness Monster, but for some people they could be worth big bucks in the 2017 edition of the annual ‘Best Nessie Sighting’ contest put on by Inverness Courier. This is the 20th time the contest has been held and past winners, in addition to receiving cash prizes, have gone on to lucrative careers in the fields of log and boat wake photography and videography.
Just kidding about the second part, but the Courier is making this a big deal in honor of both the contest reaching the two-decade mark and the newspaper reaching its bicentennial 200th year of publishing. That’s a long time to be the local paper of record for all of the sightings and playing an important role in them. When George Spicer and his wife claimed in 1933 that they saw something like “a dragon or prehistoric animal” while driving around the loch, it was the Inverness Courier’s part-time journalist Alex Campbell who reported it and first called the creature the Loch Ness ‘monster’.
The Spicers didn’t take any pictures of what they saw but in 1934 Robert Kenneth Wilson, a gynecologist, allegedly took the famous picture that has come to be known as the “surgeon’s photograph.” The photo has since been proven to be a hoax but Wilson would certainly have won the Courier’s prize for 1934 since it was pretty good and there were no other entries. Of course, there was also no contest.
The 2017 prize is £1500 ($2065 US) but it won’t be easy to win since last year was not only one of the biggest in number of official sightings (11, according to the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register), but the ubiquitous smartphone meant that every one of them had a record of the event. The videos and photos are on the Courier’s contest web page and voting ends on March 5.
Unlike the “surgeon’s photograph,” the 2017 entries run the gamut from blurry log-ish to blurry wake of a monsterish fish or seal or boat to sharper-but-still-not-distinguishable pictures and videos of the same. Obviously, the winner should be the most monster-like monster picture.
The contest is limited to sightings in the actual Loch Ness, so Nessie sightings in other bodies of water can’t be considered. That means Jo Wilde can’t enter her really good photograph (seen here) of something that appears to be a sea monster with three humps swimming 630 miles (1013 km) from Loch Ness in The Solent – the strait separating mainland England from the Isle of Wight. There have also been frequent sightings of something swimming in the River Thames that automatically gets called “Nessie on vacation” by Loch Ness monster fanatics who can’t imagine there’s another sea monster besides their own – even though they’ve never seen that one either.
Check out the contest page and vote for your favorite. As of this writing, a blurry blob photographed by Rebecca Stewart and her husband Paul while on their honeymoon is leading by a wide margin. Are these newlyweds getting the sentimental vote?