A Nessie hunter who thought he had recorded the first official sighting of the year has hit back after it was removed and replaced on the register.
Irishman Eoin O Faodhagain, a veteran spotter who regularly records sightings via the Loch Ness webcam, thought he had ended over three months of no official sightings on the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register when he reported his sighting at the end of March.
However, after it was later claimed that the two objects moving parallel to each other on the loch’s surface he had spotted were actually paddleboarders, the sighting was stricken from the Register.
The clerical officer shared his frustration at his sighting being taken down.
He said: “At first I was naturally disappointed, but the more I thought about it being first put up on the register list, then taken down, only to be reinstated, and then taken down a second time, it was very unique indeed.
“In the 25 years of Gary Campbell running the Official Sighting Register, I don’t think there was any other occasion when something like this happened before.”
Speaking about the decision to take what had been the first sighting of 2022 down, Register keeper Gary explained: “As always, when we have a sighting report we try to explain what it is.
“When we can’t, we list it on the site for others to look at. This allows the wider community to comment or give an explanation.
“In the case of the 23 March webcam sighting, paddleboarders got in touch with photographic evidence that they were in exactly the same spot at the same time and given the poor resolution of the webcam leading to unclear images, it was right to conclude that what had been reported was the paddleboarders.
“In addition, given they were definitely there, had a large animate object appeared in the area, I’m sure they’d have seen it and reported it.”
But Eoin said that his sighting was unexplained at the time, and took umbrage at the idea that webcam sightings are not as valid as physical sightings.
He also spoke out after experts such as Steve Feltham, who has been searching for answers to the mystery for over three decades, stating that the webcam sightings do “far more damage than good”.
Eoin, who said he met both Steve and Gary in person last July, argued: “One of the main points of the detractors, Steve, is that the webcam sightings damage the Mystery of Loch Ness because the scientific community will not take it seriously.
“Well the scientific community, when they hear the mention of the Loch Ness Monster run a mile, and they don’t run the mile any faster when a webcam sighting comes along.
“The latest live sighting was a photograph of some ripples in the water, I don’t think the people in their beds in Taiwan rushed out to buy the daily paper to see that picture.
“Then we had the sonar contact, a crescent shape deep in the water could be anything. People in the wider world are only interested in live-action, even if the webcam is only 360 resolution.”
The 57-year-old, who lives in Castlefin, Co Donegal, said that those who cast doubt on the quality of the webcam sightings are “missing the point completely”.
He said: “These people are too focused on the webcam only having a resolution of 360. This webcam is based 450 meters up the hill overlooking Urquhart Castle.
“It is a pristine vantage point of a section of Loch Ness, that is seen from all around the world, through the internet, by people who may never in their lifetime get to visit the wonderful Loch Ness.
“This webcam has been popular long before I ever got a sighting on it. I have 14 webcam sightings on the register list to date, and this has probably increased the popularity of the webcam also.
“Loch Ness is very expensive to get to, in regards to going on a sun holiday to Spain etc, and that is why a lot of people will never get a chance to visit, and that is another reason why the webcam is important.”
Eoin argued that some of his sightings, such as the one from April 2020, attracted 250,000 views to his YouTube channel, with over 100,000 of those views coming from Taiwan alone, meaning he is helping to bring the mystery to the world stage.
The clerical officer, who fell in love with the Loch Ness Monster mystery after spotting a “large Mottled Brown Hump” from a bus near the Loch just before Invermoriston in 1987, added that he now intends to physically visit the loch for the fifth time again soon.
He said: “I’ll be armed with a half dozen wildlife cameras to set up in areas along Loch Ness, that take 10-second video on motion disturbance, or photos, in day and night vision, each with an SD card.
“You never know your luck, I have been lucky so far, long may it continue.”
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