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Volunteer hunters will use drones and webcams for a new search for the mythical Loch Ness monster

LONDON — Mystery hunters converged on a Scottish lake on Saturday in search of signs of the mythical Loch Ness Monster.

The Loch Ness Center said researchers would attempt to search for evidence of Nessie using thermal imaging drones, infrared cameras and a hydrophone to detect underwater sounds in the lake’s murky waters. The two-day event is billed as the biggest survey of the lake in 50 years and includes volunteers scanning the water from boats and the shores of the lake, while others from around the world join in via webcams .

Alan McKenna of the Loch Ness Center said the aim was “to inspire a new generation of Loch Ness enthusiasts”.

McKenna told BBC radio that researchers were “looking for flaws in the surface and getting volunteers to record all sorts of natural behavior on the loch”.

“Not all ripples or waves are beasts. Some of them can be explained, but there are a handful that cannot,” he said.

The Loch Ness Center is located in the old Drumnadrochit Hotel, where the modern legend of Nessie began. In 1933, manager Aldie Mackay reported spotting an “aquatic beast” in the mountain-fringed loch, the largest body of fresh water by volume in the UK and, down to 750ft (230m), l one of the deepest.

The story sparked a lasting worldwide fascination with the search for the elusive monster, spawning hoaxes and hundreds of eyewitness accounts. Many theories have been floated over the years, including that the creature could be a prehistoric marine reptile, giant eels, a sturgeon, or even a runaway circus elephant.

Many believe the sightings are pranks or can be explained by floating logs or strong winds, but the legend is a boon for tourism in the scenic Scottish Highlands region.

Such skepticism has not deterred volunteers like Craig Gallifrey.

“I believe there is something in the loch,” he said, although he is open-minded about what it is. “I think there must be something fueling the speculation.”

He said that regardless of the outcome of the weekend’s searches, “the legend will continue”.

“I think it’s just the imagination of something in the biggest body of water in the UK… There are a lot more stories out there,” he said. “There are still other things, although they have not been proven. There is still something quite special about the loch.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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