October 2019 (Vol. 43, Number 04)
The Banner Says…
The Land of Myths and Legends
Scotland is a land of myths and legends. The history and stories of the nation have inspired generations of people and when in Scotland you can often
expect the unexpected. Delve into Scotland’s past and find centuries of folklore and legend that sends
shivers up your spine, or leaving you wondering could it really be?
This month a few more things may go ‘bump in the night’ as the world celebrates Halloween and perhaps a few legends will again be told of this
ancient nation, which continues to fascinate people across the world.
Scotland is certainly a spooky place, but not just on Halloween. It is a land with a long bloody history set in remote forests, castles and glens is the ideal fodder for many gruesome tales of ghosts, ghouls, folklore and myths. Not to mention Scots famous knack for storytelling, allowing for these tales and legends to be carried down through generations.
One of Scotland’s most famous mysteries is that of the Loch Ness Monster (or ‘Nessie’ as it has affectionately come to be known). This ‘water beast’ has been documented as like a large dinosaur type creature, which is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. ‘Nessie’ has a long neck and one or more humps protruding from the water.
The first recorded sighting of the monster was nearly 1,500 years ago when a giant beast is said to have leaped out of the loch near Inverness and eaten a local farmer. Since then, the myth of the Loch Ness Monster has magnified and become a large part of Scotland’s story.
In 1934, a London doctor snapped a photograph that seemed to show a dinosaur looking creature emerging from the deep and cold water. Dozens of sightings have since been claimed, many of which have turned out to be hoaxes, while others make you wonder what that could be. In 2009, a newspaper reader claims to have spotted ‘Nessie’ whilst browsing Google Earth’s satellite photos of Loch Ness. The Loch Ness Monster is used in
Google searches about 200,000 times per month. Regardless of the truth, the suggestion of the monster’s existence makes Loch Ness one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions, with thousands visiting its shores each year with the hope of catching a rare glimpse of the famous monster.
Loch Ness is, in fact, the second deepest body of water in Scotland and contains more fresh water than all the lakes of England and Wales combined, which could make for
plenty of room for a giant monster.
In this issue
Scotland’s most famous mystery is without question Nessie. A team of researchers have recently collected e-DNA from the loch in order to ascertain if the monster ever did scientifically exist. Results have shown it may have been a giant eel, or was it? Myth or fact, Nessie is a monster money-maker for the Highland economy bringing in tens of millions of pounds to the area, with visitors from across the world drawn to the beauty of the area and of course the legend.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is also famous the world over, and very rightly so. This unique event draws crowds and performers from all over the globe, with massed pipes and drums, military bands, display teams, dancers and the haunting lament of the Lone Piper set against the magnificent backcloth of Edinburgh Castle. The Tattoo must be on many people’s bucket list, or if like me you have attended, it is an event you feel lucky to have experienced. Getting to Edinburgh for many Scottish Banner readers is not always easy so this month thousands of people will be able to attend the incredible Tattoo live as it marches into Sydney. Our Canadian readers will have the chance to get up close as well with its cinema release happening also this month. We are honoured to have Brigadier
David Allfrey from the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo take part in this edition.
This year is the 300th anniversary of Daniel Defoe’s book Robinson Crusoe. The tale of a shipwrecked sailor castaway on a tropical island has been an enduringly popular story ever since it was published in April 1719 and remains one of the most famous books in literary history. However, it was an adventurous Scot, Alexander Selkirk, that inspired Defoe who used the tales as the basis for his novel, in an instance of life being stranger than fiction.
Scotland’s fabric and story
I have sat at the edge of Loch Ness a few times and wondered what lies beneath those deep waters. I don’t think anyone would visit Loch Ness and not at least take a moment to see if anything is there, just in case. Has science confirmed through DNA findings that Nessie was not in fact an aquatic reptile left over from the Jurassic era? Perhaps, but I know the next time I get back to the loch I will again scan the waters horizon and look to see if the ‘water beast’ is there.
The legend to me is bigger than anything science can claim. It is part of Scotland’s fabric and story. It has fascinated millions of people from across the world and drawn many to come to Scotland, making Nessie a significant contributor to the tourism economy.
I can only assume that there will be future Nessie sightings, and I would not want it any other way!
Have you been to Loch Ness or are fascinated by a certain piece of Scottish legend? Share your story with us by email, post, social media or at: www.scottishbanner.com/contact-us