Sunday, 11 December 2011


Just about everyone has heard of the infamous Loch Ness monster, and the many reported sightings and frauds claiming to be fresh captures.
However, how many people have heard of an alleged `monster` living in the waters of Lake Windermere in Cumbria, England?

Bownessie - Or a string of old car tyres being towed across the lake?
 "BowNessie" as the press dubbed this new manifestation, has been seen and allegedly filmed and photographed.

The legends attached to this creature have been running for years, partly one suspects, to cash in on the  extra tourism generated by it`s Loch Ness cousin, but tourist agencies deny this, although any appearances would certainly benefit local businesses - and particularly off-season.

Matters really came to a head in July 2007 when an incident occurred when the six-tonne yacht moored at the north end of the lake was apparently attacked by a loud banging noise which sent shudders through the vessel and awoke the crew. Nothing was seen or captured on camera, although the media had a field day with this story.

The most significant event which was recorded to camera occured in February 2011 when two kayakers claim to have spotted and captured on still,  "Bownessie"  Tom Pickles and Sarah Harrington both witnessed what they believed to be the beast. "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," says Harrington.

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Critics have pointed out that the `monster` was nothing more than a string of car tyres lying in the water and being towed, and academics claim that the lake is incapable of supporting animal life of that size, although everyone concedes the lake (like Loch Ness) is very deep indeed.

The controversy didn`t end there, for earlier in September 2009, another capture on video showed what appeared to be large creatures creating a `wake` in the water, and initially people suspected it was the lake ferry boat which is towed across the lake by a system of cables.
This was ruled out as the ferry is over a mile and a half away to the north end of the lake.
Cynical locals claim that the wash created by the `monster` is actually the fast movement of lake Otters, although as can be seen from this report, there is no indication of the presence of this, or indeed any creature. I personally would discount that theory owing to the sheer size of the wash.

To date, there have been further reports of this creature, but as yet one suspects it will become another  unverified "Nessie" legend, and the pay-off will be that tourism will continue to rise.

What rules firmly against another "Nessie" is that thousands of tourists flock to this area of outstanding natural beauty every year. And despite so many visitors, little if anything has been observed or captured to camera. The only witnesses being people that live locally.

I for one will watch with intrigue should "Bownessie" rise once more to the surface.
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