Mystery of the Loch Ness sonar contacts

Oparation Deepscan Loch Ness

The UK was battered by a great storm 30 years ago this month, causing blackouts in London. This coincided with Black Monday and the global stock market crash. It seems October, 1987, was a month of momentous events.

It was also when three unexplained, moving contacts were discovered within the depths of Loch Ness!

“Operation Deepscan” was launched on 11th October, 1987, and led by Adrian Shine, of the Loch Ness & Morar Project.

The aim of the expedition was to draw a sonar curtain across Loch Ness using a fleet of boats in line from one end to the other.

The boats were hired from Jim Hogan, of Caley Cruisers, based in Inverness. And each was fitted with a Lowrance Echo Sounder to locate and target anything unusual below the surface.

Under the direction of Adrian, the 20-strong flotilla set out to scan the loch. It was an eerie site as they moved across Loch Ness, apparently closing in on their prey.

Operation Deepscan on Loch Ness

Each time an interesting contact was picked up on the sonar, a marker was dropped and the position radioed in. And participants in the expedition were excited by having made several, strong contacts.

The next step was to revisit each position and explore them again by sonar. When this was done, most of the significant sonar readings were unchanged and fixed in their positions.

But … three had gone! Completely disappeared. To this day, these contacts remain unexplained.

Of course, they did not prove the existence of something large and mobile living below the surface of Loch Ness. But the unexplained findings did add to the unanswered mystery.

Operation Deepscan was the largest concentrated expedition since July 1934. Then, Sir Edward Mountain engaged more than 20 unemployed men from Inverness and armed them with cameras to patrol the shoreline of Loch Ness to see if they could photograph the elusive lady of the loch.

Legend of the Loch Ness Monster

Later expeditions in the 90s used remote operated vehicles. For example, there has been “Operation Echo” and the Natural History Museum’s “Project Urquhart”, with journalist and broadcaster Nicholas Witchell.

None has solved the mystery one way or another. In fact, it has actually deepened due to the vast amount of information that continues to be collated using technology to examine below the surface of the loch.

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster dates back to the sixth century and, after a particular sighting in 1933, the myth and legend has absorbed the world’s attention.

You, too, can experience the hunt for Nessie on board one of our vessels fitted with live sonar. And, who knows, you might just spot something as mysterious as found 30 years ago during Operation Deepscan.

*Thanks to Adrian Shine and the Loch Ness Project for use of photographs.

Seventh sighting this year

A honeymoon couple have made the seventh officially accepted sighting of Nessie this year. They photographed and saw a large fin shape for five minutes at Fort Augustus. This has been accepted by the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register.

Words that non-Scots cannae say properly

Can you say Drumnadrochit? The name of this village close to one of our departure points featured last week in a post within the “Being Scottish” Facebook community page (@Being Scottish).

It was one of the words “Non-Scots cannae say properly”, according to the post which gained more than 2000 shares.

Here are some other place names around Loch Ness that could be your Scottish tongue twisters:

  • Where we depart from, Tomnahurich “tom-na-hooor-ichhk”
  • Another departure point, Dochgarroch “dock-gaaa-rocccch”
  • Village on the Black Isle, Avoch Simply pronounced “och”!
  • An area in Inverness, Culcabock “cull-kay-bok”

One that gets everyone, including BBC newscasters, is the upmarket area of Milngavie outside Glasgow. It’s pronounced “mill-guy”.

Oh, and Drumnadrochit is “drum-na-drockit”.

We cannae wait to tell you more!