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1000 2001's prize

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Recent photographic evidence is proving that Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, is alive and well.

Two spectacular photos of the elusive creature scooped a Canadian and an English couple top prizes in the annual William Hill award for the best sighting of Nessie.

The prize in 2001, set at 1,000, was shared by Gavin Joth, 32, of Victoria BC in Canada and Chris Rivett and girlfriend Melissa Bavister of Northampton in England.

Gavin in his canoe The young English couple were taking snaps of the loch whilst on holiday last July. Melissa, 21 a veterinary nurse, took the picture that turned out to have Nessie surfacing right in the middle of the loch.

"We had stopped at a lay-by and I snapped a picture using my little 30 Kodak camera. When Chris had the photos developed, I couldn't believe what I had captured on film".

Boyfriend Chris, 21, a management trainee, had the amazing image examined by Jim Cordiner,58, senior lecturer in photography at Glasgow's School of building and Printing.

The photoMr Cordiner commented "this was certainly one of the more interesting monster photographs I have seen".

After a detailed study, the photographic expert discounted the possibility of the photo being a hoax: "objects planted to look like monster humps are almost impossible to fake in deep water"

  • "a boat would not appear so dense in the photo";
  • "the outline of the object is too defined for it to be a wave
  • or wake" or;
  • "there is no shadow or reflection that could result in it being a trick of the light in the water".
  • The photo was then passed to Gary Campbell, President of the Inverness Based Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club who ran the annual award on behalf of Bookmakers William Hill.

    nessie01blowup.jpg - 6708 BytesHe said "The only real possibility was that Melissa and Chris had snapped a boat and not Nessie. However, we contacted the most likely boat operators on the loch and none could confirm that their boat was at that point in loch on that day. It would therefore appear that they had actually caught Nessie popping up for a bit of sunshine".

    The other winning series of photos was snapped on the Loch Ness live cam on the internet by Gavin Joth, a monster enthusiast from British Columbia in Canada.

    Gavin's images have now been credited as being the first officially recognised internet photos of the elusive monster.

    "I was carrying out my usual watch on the Nessie cam" Gavin explained "when I saw dark oval head moving across the water away from the camera".

    "It was larger than a human head but much smaller than a boat and at one point raised out of the water to reveal what I think was a stocky neck. The object then completely vanished".

    The photos were taken by Gavin on June 20 last year whilst he was on his lunch break on the west coast of Canada. The local time at Loch Ness was 8.30 in the evening.

    The photos were first submitted for examination to the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, a well-established North American group of scientists who search for elusive creatures world-wide.

    John Kirk III, President of the BCSCC, had the pictures enlarged and analysed and concluded that they could only be of Nessie "We have been studying Loch Ness pictures for nearly 20 years now and these are best in a long time. All the usual explanations such as seals and boats were discounted".

    Gary Campbell of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club said of Gavin's pictures " We were really excited when we received these images. We have had many Internet snaps submitted to us but these were the first that had no obvious cause".

    He went on " the only possible explanation was that it was someone in a canoe. However, when we discovered that the object disappeared below the surface of the water, this was ruled out.

    "Also, given the work that was carried out in North America and the spooky image that the enhancement gives us, I think Gavin has truly put Nessie on the World Wide Web."

    Graham Sharpe of William Hill, sponsors of the award, said yesterday "we have been running this for almost ten years now and this year had the highest number of entries ever. All the rest could be explained away by natural phenomena but we couldn't decide between the two winning entries so we split the 1,000 millennium prize between them."

    All the prize winners, who also get a free 100 bet each, were delighted to have won .

    "I'll be using the money to buy some serioes monster spotting gear" said Gavin Joth in Canada yesterday.

    "We'll be using the cash to visit the loch again" said Chris and Melissa "after all, we want to join the very few who have seen Nessie more than once".

    Nessie was spotted 11 in 2000 but remained below the surface in 2001. See this page for information about previous winners.

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