'Nessie' hunter George Edwards waited 26 years for this moment – and he now believes he has the best picture ever taken of the Loch Ness monster.
He spends his life on the loch – around 60 hours a week - taking tourists out on his boat, Nessie Hunter IV, and has led numerous Nessie hunts over the years.
But this image is the one that’s convinced him that there really is a monster or monsters out there. It shows a mysterious dark hump moving in the water towards Urquhart Castle.
“I was just about to return to Temple Pier (in Drumnadrochit) and I went to the back of the boat which was facing the pier and that’s when I saw it,” said 60-year-old Mr Edwards, a lifelong believer in the monster.
“It was slowly moving up the loch towards Urquhart Castle and it was a dark grey colour. It was quite a fair way from the boat, probably about half a mile away but it’s difficult to tell in water.”
After watching the object for five to ten minutes, Mr Edwards said it slowly sank below the surface and never resurfaced.
“I’m convinced I was seeing Nessie as I believe in these creatures. Far too many people have been seeing them for far too long,” he said.
“The first recorded sighting was in 565AD and there have been thousands of eye witness reports since then.
“All these people can’t be telling lies. And the fact the reports stretch over so many years mean there can’t just be one of them. I'm convinced there are several monsters.”
Steve Feltham, who has himself dedicated the past 21 years to hunting for Nessie was also unequivocval. “It is the best photograph I think I have ever seen,” he said.
“I think the images are fantastic — that’s the animal I have been looking for all this time,” he said yesterday. “I would say it doesn’t prove what Nessie is, but it does prove what Nessie isn’t, a sturgeon which is a fish that has been put forward as one of the main explanations as to what Nessie could be, but this hasn’t got a serrated spine like the sturgeon.
Mr Edwards used his vessel’s sonar to make a contact but to no avail.
“I hung around for a good half-an-hour and used the deep scanning sonar to try and pick it up, but I’m afraid I had no luck at all.”
Mr Edwards took the photo at 9am on 2nd November last year on a compact Samsung digital camera that he always keeps on the boat.
Before releasing it publicly he sent it to the USA for analysis, though he can’t reveal further details.
“I did not want to mention my sighting until I was sure that I had not photographed a log or something inanimate in the water in the water,” he said. “I have friends in the USA who have friends in the military.
“They had my photo analysed and they have no doubt that I photographed an animate object in the water. I was really excited as I am sure that some strange creatures are lurking in the depths of Loch Ness.”