Loch Ness 1966
In the Spring of 1966, while working on CANS, The Current Affairs News Service, we were approached by Timothy Dinsdale who was an aficionado on the subject of Loch Ness and the search for “Nessie”. He was an aerodynamicist and we had to take him seriously.
Tim had devoted months of observation to his personal search for Nessie, armed with a Bolex camera. The Bolex was a clockwork-motored camera and therefore limited in its running time before next requiring to be wound up. Clockwork-driven cameras had caused cameramen embarrassment for years having a camera stop in the middle of a shot.
He bought himself an Arriflex camera which was battery driven and would keep running until it ran out of film. Just the job for filming Nessie, if he could find her.
One day, he was at the southern end of the loch when he spotted some movement in the water. He reached for his camera and realised that he had only brought down his Bolex, leaving the Arriflex in his car. He had no choice but to film with the Bolex.
The object, which appeared to be mainly submerged, was moving away from him as he filmed. In the shot one could see the far side of the loch where a car was to be seen going down hill, also a large white gull glided through the top of the picture. Tim was sure that he had filmed something special and he sent the film to an organisation called JARIC, Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre.
The Centre asked Tim to send them the camera as well, to enable them to verify the speed with which the film passed through the camera against the nominal speed of 24 frames per second.
They did a thorough job and sent him a report. Armed with the verified speed of the camera, the local weather report for the time of the shooting, the gliding gull and the car going down hill, they were able to assess the likely speed of the object passing through the water. The bottom line said that it was “an animate object” and stated that it was moving faster than any craft on the loch at that time.
Tim was elated, but it still proved nothing.
His film was shown on ITN and he came to see us Denham to help with the production. He had a theory which I found intriguing. He claimed that John Cobb, who was killed while attempting a new water-speed record on Loch Ness, “was killed by Nessie”.
Tim explained that when a water speed attempt is made on a loch (or lake), it is necessary for all craft, of whatever size, to be stopped. This is because the “line wake” of a craft is sufficient to upset the speed boat. What is required is what is known as a “Jelly calm”.
We knew that Movietonews had a shot of the disaster that befell John Cobb. It had been shot on 35mm film and showed the speed boat taking off just like a seaplane before it somersaulted and crashed back into the water.
I had the film step-printed to enable us to show, in slow motion, the very definite line wake and the bouncing of John Cobb’s boat when it arrived at the line wake.
This matter has never been resolved and it requires an answer. It is all very well to scoff at the Nessie searchers, but when a lot of evidence is put forward, one has to believe that there is something peculiar going on in Loch Ness.
In the rest of the programme, we included references to other “sightings”, even those that were eventually proved to be fake. It started with St. Columba who was said to have seen Nessie in 565 AD. It was followed by the evidence of a “Baillie” who, in the 30s said he had seen it. A Parish priest claimed to have seen Nessie. There were many others. There was one story we did not include. It was that of a mother and son picnicking alongside the lake. The boy was fourteen years of age. Suddenly, a monster reared its head above the surface of the loch only a few yards from the two picnickers. It quickly went back into the water. The boy never spoke another word from that event until the time we were told the story many years later.
I am a sceptic, but I would never rule anything out.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy” Hamlet.
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