Monday, December 1, 2008

Monster curse threat after Nessie snub

THE High Priest of the UK's White Witches has threatened to cast a spell which could jeopardise attempts to secure World Heritage status for Loch Ness.

An expert from the United Nations maintains the Loch Ness Monster had never been taken seriously and Nessie could scupper chances of securing the much coveted award.

But paranormal researcher Kevin Carlyon, who is the self-styled protector of the monster, is amused by the claims that mention of Nessie could bring ridicule to such a bid.

"Loch Ness without Nessie is like having a cheese sandwich without the cheese," Kevin declared.

And he is being backed by another Nessie fan, Loch Ness webcam operator Mikko Takala, who claims disowning Nessie in the bid would be like Lapland declaring Santa Claus doesn't exist.

Mr Carlyon in the past has cast spells on the loch to prevent Nessie hunters tracking down the elusive monster.

He told the Highland News Group: "This time I don't have to protect Nessie as the fools are doing the damage themselves.

"In fact if they had their way there would be no monster myth left. Rather than bring more people to the area it would detract from it."

Mr Carlyon was responding to comments by United Nations consultant Chris Pound who has completed an initial report on the area's bid to be included on the UK government's shortlist of World Heritage Status nominations for 2012.

It is 75 years since the first media reports of a monster in the loch and local tourist operators believe recognition by the UN of the Great Glen's geographical heritage could be the catalyst for an all year-round tourist industry and not just summer tourists on Nessie-hunting missions.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation decides which countries and landmarks are given the prestigious award.

And it is up to the UK Government's department of media culture and sport (DMCS) to make its nominations in four years time.

Mr Pound visited the loch earlier this month and said he believes the area's geology and topography, the loch's deepness, landscape and the engineering behind the Caledonian Canal were factors which would find favour with politicians.

But of the Nessie story he commented: "It's an issue which is going to have to be managed carefully. The subject of Nessie is world famous but has never been taken quite seriously. When I spoke to a woman in the DMCS about the report I was doing for the area she fell about laughing. A lot of people have heard of the beastie and it's an image presentation issue which has to be addressed."

But Mr Carlyon believes without the legend of Nessie the loch is no different from others in Scotland which are far more suited to tourism.

"This story will send ripples around the world of a negative nature and I honestly think that these so called experts are biting at their own rear ends and will do more harm than good for the area.

"If it comes to it and people support it I will perform a spell to blow this ludicrous plan out of the water.

"I am sure that people will choose Nessie rather than a pompous title, which in the long run will not benefit Scotland at all."

Mr Takala agrees it would be crazy to make the bid without mention of Nessie.

"I'm half Finnish and it would be as daft as Lapland saying Santa Claus doesn't exist. Go anywhere in the world ask what they know about Scotland and they will say whisky and Nessie – they won't ever tell you about the topography of Loch Ness," he said.

"I find it hard to understand why tourist operators are willing to support this bid at the exclusion of Nessie when they know full well it is the monster that brings the visitors here. It could easily backfire on them."


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