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Bow-Nessie Upstages Loch Ness Monster

Latest sighting raises hopes – and eyebrows

The photo of Bow-Nessie by Tom Pickles

As the morning mist swirled over Lake Windermere, in England’s Lake District, two tourists set off from the shore in a kayak. Minutes later, and less than a quarter of a mile out, they captured this photo of something in the water that they say was swimming past them at about 10 miles an hour.

This is not the first sighting of “Bow-Nessie,” named after the small local town of Bowness, and now England’s much-touted challenger to the Loch Ness Monster.

“I thought it was a dog,” said Tom Pickles, who snapped the photo on his cellphone camera. “Then I realized it was much bigger and moving really quickly. Each hump was moving in a rippling motion and it was swimming fast. I could tell it was much bigger underneath from the huge shadow around it. Its skin was like a seal’s but its shape was abnormal – it’s not like any animal I’ve ever seen before. We saw it for about 20 seconds. It was petrifying. We paddled back to the shore straight away.”

Pickles, an IT specialist, was on a company retreat at the Lake District with his companion, Sarah Harrington. Experts say the photo looks genuine, but add that the file size is too small to be sure that it hasn’t been doctored.

Then again, why would anyone doubt the word of a computer specialist with a camera phone?

Still, there are, indeed, skeptics. Many of them have noted, for example, that the angle of the photo suggests that the camera was about nine feet above the water. And Pickles says he and his companion were in a kayak.

Local people are divided over the existence of Bow-Nessie. Nigel Wilkinson, director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said his boat crew are out on the water in all conditions and have never spotted anything unusual. “We carry 1.3 million passengers, and none of them have ever brought Bow-Nessie to our attention.”

Depending on who you ask, this is the seventh or eighth sighting of the creature in the last few years. Some ecology experts have suggested that catfish are sometimes introduced to lakes by anglers, and that what could be being seen is the Welsh catfish from mainland Europe.

But Dr. Ian Winfield, a lake ecologist at the University of Lancaster, argues that there is no known fish that matches the size of the animal that Pickles, Burnip and others have described.

He adds that it’s highly unlikely that an animal this big could even survive in Lake Windermere. “We run echo sounding surveys every month and have never found anything.”

But a hotel owner said he’s had a personal experience of Bow-Nessie.

“All of a sudden I felt something brush past my legs like a giant fish,” said Thomas Noblett of the Langdale Chase Hotel. “And then I was lifted up by a three-foot wave. I’ve no idea what it was.”

He added that “there is obviously something large in there. You just have to look at the depth, width and length of it to know that.”

Noblett has undertaken a number of expeditions in search of Bow-Nessie with celebrity psychic Dean Maynard, whose website describes him as the country’s top Reality TV & Sports Prediction Expert.

Ellis Butcher, a spokesperson for the local board of tourism said that the lakes are already very popular with visitors and don’t need any gimmicks to attract people.

“Nonetheless,” he added, at the start of the tourism year, it doesn’t do the industry any harm.”

See Michael Mountain’s Commentary: Nessie and Us