“Nessie. I believe” is written on the T-shirts of Scott Kelly and his wife Chie Kelly-Kano, “I believe in Nessie”. In addition, a motif of what is probably the most famous sea monster in the world. What is believed to be the greatest search for Loch Ness’ most famous resident has reignited enthusiasm. Dozens of Nessie enthusiasts observed and filmed the lake for two days – and reported numerous possible sightings, as project manager Alan McKenna said on Sunday. “There is a lot of data and we will need a lot of time to check everything.”

The Kellys waited for hours in the sometimes pouring rain at the lake in the Scottish Highlands. “There are so many accounts from local people,” says Scott Kelly. “I am sure that something unknown actually lives in the lake.”

The legend of Nessie has lasted for centuries. First described by the monk Columbanus in 565 AD, descriptions by hotel manager Aldie MacKay fueled the hype 90 years ago. The “official register” now counts a total of 1149 sightings, four of them from this year.

What is the result of the search?

Alan McKenna wants to get to the bottom of the myth. Along with his volunteer group Loch Ness Exploration and the recently refurbished Loch Ness Center tourist attraction, McKenna is the driving force behind the two day search for Nessie. Dozens of volunteers follow his call, hundreds help via webcams.

The result: many hints, but no concrete result. Modern technology is also used: from a boat, McKenna lowers a highly sensitive hydrophone, an underwater microphone that records sounds from the lake, into the water. On Sunday evening, drones with a thermal imaging camera should still rise. Such a tool has never been used at Loch Ness, emphasizes McKenna.

The fact that Nessie is a plesiosaur, as seven-year-old Rowan from southern England firmly believes, is out of the question. But is Nessie just a fantasy? No, say many people who have dealt extensively with the lake in the Scottish Highlands.

“It’s something fish-like, maybe an amphibian,” says author and Nessie blogger Roland Watson. The world record holder for finding Nessie, Steve Feltham, who has lived on the lake shore for 32 years, believes there is a particularly large catfish. Other suspicions range from porpoises or dolphins – unlikely because the inflow is too shallow – to seals, which come into the lake from time to time, to a family of otters (“when they swim in a row, they form a lot of little humps,” says Watson). It is also possible that the winds create special wave movements that from a distance look like the shadow of a creature. Floating tree trunks are also considered a possibility.

How big is Loch Ness?

Two days seems very short for a lake as large as Loch Ness. Organizer McKenna himself emphasizes that the search for Nessie requires stamina above all. The Scottish lake with the most water is 36 kilometers long, up to 2.7 kilometers wide and 230 meters deep. Willie Cameron, who is only called “Mister Loch Ness” because of his deep understanding of the lake, also believes that there is something unusual in the lake. “Loch Ness is an extremely mysterious body of water,” says the 72-year-old, who has also worked as a tourism ambassador.

A few years ago, he himself shot a video that shows what is believed to be an animal object in the lake. Scientists could not clarify the identity, emphasizes Cameron. Above all, however, he remembers the description of his father, who, together with a friend, made the longest sighting to date in 1965. As a former police officer, Ian Cameron was a good witness, emphasizes the son. “But he never said he saw a monster.” Rather, a large mass, resembling a whale or an inverted boat.

But it’s the long-necked Nessie figure that’s burned into the minds of tourists, thanks in part to marketing. “That’s what they’re looking for,” says Cameron. “Whether they’re 8 or 80, Nessie is the only animal tourists want to see here.”

Loch Ness Sounds audio library planned

Project manager McKenna wants to allay concerns that he is dealing with a PR campaign. “It’s not about proving Nessie’s existence,” he emphasizes. Rather, there is still so much in the lake that one does not know and understand – not just a possible monster. So he plans to set up an audio library in which all the tones and noises from the lake are recorded, as he explains in Drumnadrochit.

The village on the west side of the lake is the center of Nessie tourism. Here, in 1933, hotel manager MacKay reported seeing a “whale-like creature” – a report in the local newspaper “Inverness Courier” triggered the hype. Nessie has long been Scotland’s most prominent tourism ambassador. MacKay’s Hotel is now the Loch Ness Centre.

And what if modern technology or artificial intelligence proves that there really is nothing unusual swimming through Loch Ness? Then people would travel further to the Highlands, “Mister Loch Ness” is sure. “The world loves mysteries.”