A “photograph” of a mystery creature taken by a tourist has sparked a debate over whether it’s the Loch Ness Monster.
Steve Challice, from Southampton, claims he took the picture of what he describes as a “big fish” while on holiday in Scotland.
He estimated that it was 30 feet away and about 8 feet long.
After sharing the image of the large creature emerging from the water online, people began commenting that it might be Nessie while others speculated whether the picture was real.
But even Steve is sceptical, the Daily Record reports.
He says he believes it to be something more mundane like a big fish or a seal.
“Personally I know there has been some interest and some people are saying it’s the monster but I don’t believe that,” he admitted.
Steve was on holiday with his brother in September when they decided to visit Urquhart Castle on the banks of the famous loch.
Spotting the chance to get away from the majority of the other tourists who had just arrived in a couple of coaches, Steve explained that he was initially photographing the opposite shore when he saw a “sort of ripple in the water”.
He said: “I started taking a couple of shots and then this big fish came to the surface and then went back down again.
“It only appeared in one shot and to be honest that was something of a fluke. I watched for a while as you can see from the last picture but didn’t see it again.”
He said it was only during lockdown that he has had time to look through the photos he had taken from his two week trip, stating that he had “hundreds” to go through as he’s a keen photographer.
Steve added he initially thought it was a catfish and only posted it online so people could try and identify it for him.
Loch Ness Monster watcher films mysterious shape emerging from the water
He said: “I have to say I don’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster and frankly I think if anything is there then there is a logical explanation for most of the sightings.
“My guess would be that what I captured was a catfish or something like that.
“As seals get in from the sea then I expect thats what it is and that would explain why these sightings are so few and far between.”
Author Roland Watson, who runs the Loch Ness Mystery blog, has been in discussion with Steve since finding the pictures on Facebook.
The writer and Loch Ness monster expert is dubious about the authenticity of the photos, he said: “Up until now this year we only had distant webcam blobs due to the lockdown at Loch Ness, then this image turned up.
“If this is a genuine picture of a creature in Loch Ness, it would easily rank in the top three of all time.
“At this point, I am in an ongoing conversation with Steve as to the objections and concerns I have about this being a photoshop picture. So we will see where that takes us.”
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A digital photography expert has also cast doubts on the picture, stating that it is likely photoshop may have been used due to the colour saturation and indistinct lining of the supposed animal in the main picture.
Steve has defended the images though stating that they are genuine.
He said: “There are pics on Google showing large monsters with lots of loops like a snake or something and my image is nothing like that.
“I genuinely think, to this day, it’s just a big fish.”