Fears grow for Monster Nessie's Caves beneath Loch Ness

Fears are growing that Nessie's caves, which lie beneath Urquhart Castle, may be under threat from giant boulders washed into the Loch Ness during recent flash floods. Sonar scans of the caves have shown over half-blocked with sludge and boulders ranging from about 25 - 225cm in diameter.

Lars Norquist, a spokesman for the local environmental charity, "Earth at Risk", stated that an attempt will be made sometime during early April to dredge the loch bed. "We believe that the last time anything on this scale happened at Loch Ness, was for the recovery of a Lancaster Bomber which crashed into it during WW2."

The weather threatens to complicate matters as waves of 2-3m are common due to a viscious thermo-cline and currents, which are generated deep beneath the surface. Earth at Risk intends to deploy massive airbags, like those used to re-float parts of the ill-fated Titanic.

"Our divers are professionals and well used to dealing with difficult and dangerous situations, but I think most would admit to a touch of fear as they must descend deep into Nessie's lair. The caves have never been navigated and the quantity of peat particles in the water makes it completely black down there".

We will bring you further news of the dredging operation as it takes place.

Update: The dredge has been rescheduled for April 2002. Updates soon. The Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board and the Association of Dredging & Stone Recovery Operators was unavailable for comment at time of going to press.

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