Guide to SKOPJE

Balkon3 Searching for the Loch Ness Monster


Every time I browse through Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World a childhood dream recurs, a dream that brought us to one of the most popular and most mysterious places on Earth, Loch Ness, a lake near Inverness, Scotland. Balkon3 decided to travel in seemingly futile, yet exciting search for the Loch Ness monster or Nessie, as people fondly like to call it.

We might even be some of the few chosen ones to witness the existence of the monster. We wonder what it looks like as our van drives on the road from Glasgow to Inverness, listening to fascinating stories about Scottish history. The landscape changes as we travel from the Lowlands to the Highlands where water seems to spring from the sky. Hundreds of little lakes appear before us, one by one. We feel like pebbles skipping on water surface from one lake to another. They all look wonderful but only the thought of Loch Ness makes us excited.

“Who among you believes the Loch Ness monster really exists?” a sharp voice breaks the silence in the van. Our charming tourist guide from Glasgow, who has spent long years searching for Nessie, admits he has never seen it. The few of us who believe shyly raise our hands and we are relieved to hear that, although he has been disappointed many times, he is also a proud believer.

– The legend of Nessie begins in 6th century AD when a group of monks, sailing on the lake on their way to Inverness, got attacked by a monster that came out of the water. Apparently, it caught one of the monks and held him in the air. When another monk ordered it to put the man down it obeyed and disappeared, says our guide.

It seemed that the monster completely disappeared and had not been seen for hundreds of years until the beginning of the 20th century when first photographs, videos and witnesses began to appear. Suddenly, Loch Ness became a tourist attraction and both children and adults burned with desire to see it. As we approach our destination the guide asks us, although it sounds as he is asking himself too:

– Why would holy men invent such a story if it weren’t true? Whatever creature lives there it must have come from the sea and then adapted to fresh waters of the lake which is quite deep, says he.

He proudly explains how all the lakes of England and Wales can fit into Loch Ness and still not be able to fill it up. You can put all of the people on this planet in the lake and there would still be space left, even the Eiffel tower would sink to its depths.

Finally, it appears before us. It looks dark and a bit scary with the colour of scotch whiskey. There are graffiti with Nessie looking rather friendly and a huge figure of the monster on an observation deck. Some children play around and climb on it hoping to be photographed.

However, we are uninterested in Nessie’s motionless copy and watch the horizon looking for the real one, the monster roaming the lake. There are people sitting around, occupying all benches, enjoying the peace and quiet or waiting for something to disturb that peace. All of a sudden, everybody starts pointing at an object in the distance. There is definitely something moving and coming towards us. Tourists get excited, jumping with anticipation, taking out their binoculars in a race to be the first one to spot the monster. A strange creature comes near and we can finally see it clearly. To our great disappointment, it is just a bird fishing in the dim waters. Oh, so many times has the heart of a Nessie tracker missed a beat, whenever a bird, a swimmer or a floating log tricked their eyes.

It’s time to go back to Glasgow. Behind us, we leave the mysterious lake and the monster we failed to see. That’s right. One failure will not make us stop believing in Nessie. Arthur C. Clarke claims it’s there and so do we. Perhaps, Nessie decided to sleep that day.