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The legend of the loch ness monster

The most famous Scottish Cryptid, the Loch Ness Monster.

A man stands on the banks of the great loch, the sky is dark and the fog is rolling in. Something stirs in the water, he squints but he cannot see it clearly. Then suddenly he sees it, a creature peeking above the water, a creature or perhaps a beast? No, a monster. The Loch Ness Monster.

Loch Ness is the second largest and deepest lochs (lakes) in the country, the water is dark and murky due to the high levels of peat in the area. This, combined with the bad weather frequently experienced in the Highlands of Scotland, makes this the perfect lake for sightings of a cryptid or mythical monster to occur.

In 565 Irish monk Saint Columba was in what is now Scotland and came across local Picts burying someone by the River Ness. They discovered that the man was killed by a beast while swimming in the water and could not be saved. Columba sent one of his followers to swim across the same river and when the beast approached him, Columba made the sign of the cross and said “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once.” The monster retreated.

The story of the Loch Ness Monster was not popularised in modern culture until over one thousand years later on the 22 July 1933 when George Spicer and his wife saw some kind of animal cross in front of their car. Described as being 1 meter high and 8 meters long with a long, wavy narrow neck around 4 meters long, they saw no limbs as it crossed the newly built road they were driving along towards the loch.

The first photo of the monster was taken in 1934 by a Robert Kenneth Wilson who refused to have his name connected to the photograph, so it became known as the Surgeon’s photograph as he was a doctor. The photograph is black and white, showing the long neck of a creature peeking up above the surface of the loch. This was revealed as a hoax in 1994, however.
In 1954 a fishing boat was taking sonar readings when they noticed a large object was keeping pace with their boat at a great depth. It followed them for 800 meters before contact was lost. No explanation for this phenomenon has been offered and it remains a mystery as to what was under the fishing boat.

There have been many reported sightings of the Loch Ness Monster but none conclusive. It remains a mystery if there truly is something lurking in the depths of the Loch Ness. The creature we affectionately call Nessie has become a symbol for the country and perhaps someday, she will be proven to exist once and for all.

Text written in August 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Lorna Murphy is an Erasmus+ volunteer from Scotland, UK, graduated in tourism management and loves traveling.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing to a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.