90 years ago, the old Drumnadrochit Hotel was the location a Mrs Aldie MacKay reported seeing a whale-like "water beast" in Loch Ness, a sighting that created the birth of a global legend. This weekend the Scottish hotel, reborn as The Loch Ness Centre, will be host to the biggest surface watch in 50 years as enthusiasts and technologists come together to explore the waters.
We better hope Nessie isn't disturbed by the sound of fast-turning propellers, since one of the technologies being tried this time will be the best thermal-imaging drones, with thermal infrared cameras.
The Loch Ness Centre (yes, that's how it's spelt) is planning on producing a thermal map of the entire lake which – it says – might provide the crucial component in identifying mysterious anomalies in the lake, together with the use of boats equipped with hydrophones.
Far be it from us to suggest that Scotland's most famous lake benefits more from the mystery than it would from any discovery, but it's not unreasonable to point out that a thermal camera on an aerial drone will only be able to penetrate a little way into the murky depths.
Those in the area and not choosing one of Scotland's famous whiskys as a means to induce a sighting might instead want to invest their cash in a £30 (about $38 / AU$59) per person tour of the Loch Ness Centre guided by a member of the Loch Ness Exploration volunteers. A full £45 (about $57 / AU$89) will buy you the opportunity to witness the hydrophone monitoring from the boats crossing the deep waters.
Alan McKenna, of Loch Ness Exploration, told UK newspaper The Guardian “It’s always been our goal to record, study and analyze all manner of natural behavior and phenomena that may be more challenging to explain." While Paul Nixon, of the Centre, is keen to point out that anyone can just pull up on the road next to the Loch and be part of the mystery.
If you're planning on joining the hunt, check the schedule at The Loch Ness Centre - where you can join in the hunt virtually. You might want to check our guides to the best thermal drones, or the best camera drones, or the best telephoto lens for wildlife photography. Failing that, it might be an interesting opportunity to make a documentary!