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Is this Nessie? Apple satellite map app images re-open the great debate

It could be an underwater land mass, a very large jellyfish, or a trick of the eye. Or it could be the Loch Ness Monster.

Whichever, these new images, captured by two different amateur Nessie hunters scanning different satellites transmitting images of the earth from space, have refuelled the arguments over the creature's existence.

Peter Thain, of Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland, and Andy Dixon from Darlington in County Durham, detected the shape, measuring roughly 150ft long by 90ft wide, south of the loch-side village of Dores.

They were visible through Apple's satellite map app.

Mr Dixon said: "It was purely by accident that I came across the image. I was trawling through satellite transmissions of different parts of the country and I thought I would try Loch Ness.

"I could see something big under the water and I saved it to my phone. My first thought was that it was the monster and I contacted Gary Campbell of the Official Loch Ness Monster Club.

"I was a believer in Nessie even before this but I had never been. Now I am so excited, I can't wait to get up north and pay a visit - with a camera of course.

"Unfortunately I have not seen anything since but I will keep looking."

Mr Campbell said: "We first received Peter's information at the back end of last year but took some time to try to work out what it was.

"Initially it was difficult because it doesn't appear on all online satellite images - only some of them on Apple products.

"When Andy got in touch at the beginning of the year, we finally managed to locate a device that had the image on it and asked some boating experts to look at it.

"They confirmed that while it looks like a boat wake, it cannot be a boat as there is no hull or superstructure visible. This is confirmed by the fact that there are clear images of other boats in the pictures.

"What ever it is, it's just below the surface and heading south so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie

"After Nessie 'going missing' for 18 months, it's great to see her back. Furthermore, the use of satelllite technology means that if Nessie is just swimming below the surface like in this case, we can still pick her up."

Due to the lack of sightings last year, bookmakers William Hill, which offers a £1000 annual prize for the best Nessie sighting, is doubling this year's incentive.

Nessie was first reported in 565AD and there have been 1036 slaimed sightings in the last 1500 years.

Three sightings were reported in 2013 but they were discounted as fakes. One was a wave, another a duck and the third a picture not even taken on Loch Ness.

It was the first time since 1925 that there had been no confirmed reports of the monster.

Mr Campbell said: "The number of sightings has been reducing since the turn of the century but last year was the first time in almost 90 years that Nessie wasn't seen at all. Now that we have spies in the skies above Loch Ness, maybe we will get more which will whet the appetite of more down-to-earth Nessie hunters to come north.

"Then they can try their luck at getting that conclusive photo to prove once and for all that Nessie is alive and well."

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