09 Aug Loch Ness Monster – King of the Scottish Myths
There are plenty of tall tales about Scottish food and drink. ‘You should never add water to whisky’; ‘Mary Queen of Scots brought marmalade to Scotland’ and ‘Haggis have legs which are shorter on one side so they can run around mountains more easily’ are three which we hear fairly regularly.
And, of course, Scotland has countless folk stories about mythical beasts and legendary tales of derring-do. However, the Loch Ness Monster is the Daddy of all the Scottish monster myths. We have other water creatures, not least kelpies (pic shows statue of The Kelpies at The Helix) and selkies, but Nessie is the only one to have achieved global fame.
Nessie’s profile has received something of a boost in recent days. Cynics might say it is no coincidence that this has happened just as Scotland’s tourist industry really begins to re-open. We wouldn’t rule that out. But we should also acknowledge that The Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register (yes, it does exist) has recorded nine reported sightings so far this year.
Mermaids? In Glasgow?
One of the more recent sightings was accompanied by a rough sketch which was submitted as ‘evidence’ from the Nessie hunter. You can see it here. You should also bear in mind that the same newspaper has just published a similarly tongue-in-cheek story about a mermaid making the most of flooded streets in Glasgow.
On a more X-rated theme, the papers have had a whale of a time making Loch Ness Monster puns after a joker managed to add a full frontal nude to Google’s Loch Ness content. The offending image has since been removed.
Loch Ness Monster origins
Moving on swiftly, there are two related reasons for the continued interest in the Loch Ness Monster myth. The first is that it is very old. It has pedigree. Saint Columba was said to have encountered the beast in 565 AD when he ordered it to stop eating his manservant. That has to help with your story. After all, not every mythical creature can claim its existence has been verified by a saint. Even if the lives of saints have a vested interest in being packed with miraculous incidents.
The second reason for Nessie’s continued popularity is that we all love a mystery. Fortunately, Loch Ness has no shortage of mysteriousness. At 39km in length, around 1.6 km in width and up to a quarter of a kilometre deep, it is the largest body of fresh water in the UK. Someone has calculated that the volume is such that it could swallow up every person on earth and leave no trace. Although indigestion might be a problem.
Fed by eight rivers and some forty streams, its water is also very peaty and therefore very murky. Apparently, there is zero visibility below about nine metres. Were a giant aquatic creature in need of a lair in which to lurk then Loch Ness is the perfect des res.
More than the Loch Ness Monster
But does Nessie exist? Well, we haven’t seen it. But nor have we seen a Blue Whale in real life. Let’s just say that there are plenty of reasons to visit Loch Ness and the outside possibility of spotting the beast is just one of them.
None of which has much to do with Scottish food and drink. However, along with tasting some fabulous Scottish food and drink, the Eat Walk tours are staffed by local guides brimming with tales of this country’s food culture as well as its myths, legend and history.
If you would like more information about our food tours in Glasgow, Edinburgh or St Andrews please click on one of the following links. Eat Walk Tours run food and drink walking tours in Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.
Pic is the Kelpies by artist Andy Scott. Image by Beninjam200 on Wikipedia.