The quest to discover a creature living in the deep, dark waters of Loch Ness remains undiminished. Ever since the sighting by Aldie Mackay and the Inverness Courier’s subsequent story, people have gone to great lengths to try to find our elusive Loch Ness Monster.
In the 1930s, we had Sir Edward Mountain who hired unemployed men from the Inverness Labour Exchange. They were deployed around the loch, equipped with a box camera and binoculars. Each gained a few shillings for their troubles but none spotted Nessie.
In the 50s and 60s, there were several other well-document projects, including an imaginative effort by Dan Taylor and his yellow submarine.
Taylor created a huge amount of press and public interest in 1969 when he arrived at Loch Ness with his Viperfish, a 20-foot-long yellow submarine that he had constructed himself using fibreglass.
He was a true adventurer and inventor and had been a submariner since he was 18 years old and served in the USA Navy. A Loch Ness expedition had been set up with Roy Mackal, of the University of Chicago, and Taylor had talked his way into being part of the team.
During one of his runs in the submarine, he said he felt a turn and yaw and saw a large cloud of dust rising. But, with a speed of only eight miles per hour and a seven-horse-power engine, Viperfish was no match for whatever had caused the underwater commotion.
Many years after that expedition, Taylor told the LA Times: “When you sit around thinking and dreaming about something for 30 years, it’s time to fish or cut bait.”
New attempt to find Nessie
In more recent times, Taylor was planning a new attempt to find Nessie and was in the process of building another submarine that he called “Nessa”. He said: “This is the challenge of my life. Gosh what else could I do? What else should I do? This is just something that’s stuck in my craw.”
Nessa was also yellow because Taylor reasoned it was the last colour of the spectrum visible underwater and it would, therefore, be the easiest to see in the dark depths of Loch Ness.
He, no doubt, could also relate to the Beatles’ song lyrics:
In the town where I was born
Lived a man who sailed to sea
And he told us of his life
In the land of submarines
So we sailed up to the sun
Till we found a sea of green
And we lived beneath the waves
In our yellow submarine
Sadly, Taylor died before he was able to make his second attempt to search underwater for the Loch Ness Monster.
Still, his memory lives on, and if you’re interested, Taylor’s yellow Viperfish can be seen at the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre, in Drumnadrochit. You can pop in for a visit and tie it in with a cruise on those mysterious waters of Loch Ness.