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The First Nessie Sighting?



  • Writer's pictureElle

The First Nessie Sighting?

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

On a plowetery day like today, Sherlock likes to sit in front of the fire and #coorie up. But actually, such dreich days are perfect for spotting Nessie, just like fishing is on such a day too. So put your feet up, #dreamofscotland and read on while we share the story of the first #nessie sighting with you.

The first record of a water monster in the River Ness goes back as far as 565 AD. The story of this first encounter with the “aquatilis bestia” can be found in the Latin manuscript “The Life of St Columba”, written around 700 AD by Adomnán, the ninth abbot of the famous monastery on the sacred Island of Iona to pay tribute to Columba, the first Abbot of Iona who founded the monastery in 563 AD.

Columba was travelling through Pictish lands. As he reached the River Ness, he witnessed the burial of a local man who had been killed by a water beast when swimming in the river. Despite the obvious danger of the water beast lurking in the water, Columba astonished everyone by ordering Lugneus, one of his companions, to swim across the river to fetch a boat that was tied up on the other side. As you would have thought, the beast, whose appetite had not been entirely sated earlier, realises that another human dared to go for a swim, emerges from the riverbed with a great roar and rushes towards poor Lugneus with its mouth wide open. Thus, Columba raised his hand to make the sign of the cross: “In the name of God, don’t go any further. Do not touch the man. Turn back at once!”. So, the beast fled “so fast one might have thought it was pulled back with ropes' and Lugneus safely brought the boat across to Columba and his companions.

Was this the first sighting of the #lochnessmonster? It took place on the River Ness, not in the Loch, although these are connected and the monster may well have retreated to the Loch. Adomnán’s account of this moment in time seems to be a mixture of fact and fiction. It is definitely not an eyewitness account, more likely to be based on something Adomnán may have read or heard around the abbey. Yet, ever since there have been sightings of the monster - 1,130 have been recorded to date.

So, next time you are in Inverness or around the loch, it’s probably best to be careful and to keep your eyes open - just in case the wee beastie decides to make an appearance.

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