The mystery of the Loch Ness Monster is one of the most enduring enigmas of our time, attracting thousands of Nessie Hunters to the Scottish lake shore every year.
One man who knows his way around these waters better than most is Steve Feltham, who has dedicated the past 26 years to discovering the highland beastie, from witnessing a ‘torpedo-shaped creature’ himself to debunking evidence of those who believe this mystery is the root into hollow earth or a UFO lurking at the bottom of the Loch.
Steve spoke to UNILAD about his one-man monster-hunting mission:
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Steve, who is originally from the South West of England, first came to Loch Ness in 1970 as a seven-year-old on a family holiday and was ‘blown away’ when he met a group of Monster Hunters who ‘changed the course of his life’.
The self-confessed ‘nut in a van’ recalled how his obsession came about:
From that day, my passion for the mystery grew and grew. All through my childhood I’d read as many books as I could find about the subject and I’d argue with my classmates, that yes, there is a monster.
But what began as a hobby became a full-time career after a little soul-searching, when he gave up his job as a professional potter, bookbinder and graphic artist.
Steve sold his house, bought a van and drove the long journey from Dorset to Loch Ness to follow his dream.
Twenty-six years later, Steve and his converted van have become part of the furniture of this mythical part of the world.
The professional hunter explained how he goes about his daily search for Nessie, saying:
Over the years, the way I’ve gone about hunting is mostly sitting on the shore, binoculars, big camera, watching and waiting. I’ve had boats which have come and gone, so I’d float about using sonar.
I had a mate who had a microlight so we used to fly around the Loch. That gives you a good view of maybe 10 feet of water… Anything that gives me a possibility of seeing some new bit of evidence.
Feltham spends much of his time responding to sightings from the millions of people who visit Loch Ness every year, in the hopes of spotting something unusual sliding across the lake surface.
People present videos, or still photographs, which Steve spends time examining, sometimes identifying them as boat wakes or wind movements, looking for ‘mundane explanations’ and letting the other amateur Monster Hunters down gently.
There were seven sightings just last year, according to figures from Loch Ness Sightings, and three this year alone.
Steve elaborated on the the so-called sightings, saying:
Many people are still looking for a long-necked dinosaur. There are a few that believe this is the root into hollow earth.
A couple of people I know believe there’s a UFO at the bottom of the Loch. There are others that believe this is a rip in time. To me, the jury’s out.
But Steve is surprisingly realistic about his hunt for the elusive being. Instead, he told UNILAD, the ongoing global search ‘gives people hope that not everything is understood’.
Not to be demoralised by the seemingly mammoth task, the hunter added:
Not everything can be explained. There’s still the chance of discoveries. It comes down to unpredictability in life; not knowing how this adventure will unravel or what will happen next.
Steve’s two-decade-long hunt has been officially recognised in the Guinness World Records, as the longest continuous vigil hunting for the Loch Ness Monster.
And there is no denying the thrill of the hunt, according to Steve:
If I solve the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster, that’s the dream come true of the seven-year-old boy who came here in 1970. That’s his life achievement and that’s what keeps me fascinated by this world class mystery.
This is the adventure that fascinates me. This is what I want to do with my life. Sink or swim, I’m going to dedicate my time to solving this mystery.
After one suspected sighting of a torpedo-like being in the water in the first year of his hunt, Steve was overjoyed and immediately thought ‘This is going to be easy!’
Over two decades on, the 54-year-old mused:
Twenty-six years later I’m still waiting for that second sighting.
On some level, most of us are searching for something, whether it be the light at the end of the tunnel or the metaphorical pot of gold just beyond the rainbow.
Steve’s search for the massive monster – that may or may not exist – is an inspiration to all you dreamers.
Happy hunting, Steve!
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.