Published: 3:13 PM 8/3/2012
By MATT BLAKE
Skipper claims to have finally found proof that Loch Ness Monster exists.
George Edwards has hunted Nessie for 26 years and holds tours of the Loch, he even says the image was verified by team of US military monster experts. A Nessie sighting specialist has backed his claims, adding: 'It proves Nessie is definitely NOT a sturgeon.'
He has dedicated more than two decades of his life to the hunt for the elusive Loch Ness monster, spending 60 hours a week on the water.
And now George Edwards believes he has finally fulfilled his ambition of spotting 'Nessie'; he even photographic evidence to prove it.
Mr Edwards, who has spent 26 years on his quest, managed to capture this image of a dark hump slinking in and out of the lake's waters from the deck of his boat, Nessie Hunter, before it vanished back into the deep.
He claims the picture is the best-ever taken of the Loch Ness Monster and proves once and for all that the elusive leviathan exists - and is definitely not a sturgeon.
Mr Edwards 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.
'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.
The Loch Ness Monster has been the subject of many sightings in the Scottish Highlands. Some experts believe that the beast represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs, a type of carnivorous aquatic reptile from millions of years ago.
Nessie is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next.
There have been hundreds of supposed sightings over the years. Most, however, have been dismissed as hoax or fantasy.
One of the most accepted explanations is that the monster is in fact a giant sturgeon (pictured), which can grow up to 12 feet long.
Others include eels, bird wakes, seals, trees, logs, submarines, dogs with sticks - even an elephant.
'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 being 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 dedicated the past 21 years to hunting for Nessie was 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 attempted to use 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 9 AM 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,' 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.'