Rival English Nessie doesn't bother us
By Helen Bushnell Published: 24 February, 2011
THE world famous Loch Ness Monster has got competition - in England!However, local Nessie spotters and supporters have not got the hump and are confident her lesser known look-alike at Lake Windermere in Cumbria will not steal her thunder.For they say our own legend of the deep is a global icon that no other beast could rival.England's mystery "monster", dubbed "Bownessie" after the nearby Lake District town of Bowness, is making waves after being snapped by two pals out kayaking on a team building exercise.Appearing as a cluster of humps, the creature thought to be up to 50ft long was captured in an atmospheric photo by IT graduate Tom Pickles (24) and Sarah Harrington (23).They had paddled 300m out onto Lake Windermere, England's biggest natural loch at 10.5miles long and 220ft deep, when they spotted what they thought was a dog. However, they were shaken when they realised the strange being gliding across the still water was the size of three cars.The pair, who work for an IT firm in Shrewsbury, believed the creature was moving at 10mph, creating a giant wave. They were so frightened, they quickly scrambled back to shore. They claimed they watched it for 20 seconds, before it vanished into the mist.It is believed to be the eighth sighting in the Lake District in five years.However, England's answer to the Loch Ness Monster has not concerned Nessie ambassadors, who say Bownessie is not a patch on our loch dweller.Willie Cameron, director of Loch Ness Marketing, told the HN: "I'm delighted there is a monster in Loch Windermere, but it's not going to make any difference to us. The legend of Nessie has been going for 1,500 years so they have got a lot of history to catch up on."The Loch Ness Monster is a global icon and a brand that has been created by default rather than by design, and there could be a monster in every lake in England and it wouldn't make a difference."He added: "Nessie is not just a monster, we have the whole package."Lake Windermere is a lovely lake, but it's very busy. If people want peace and tranquillity, Loch Ness is the place to be."His views were echoed by George Edwards, skipper of the Nessie Hunter boat for the last 25 years.Mr Edwards, the loch's longest serving skipper, said: "Over the years there have been claims of sightings of monsters all over the world - but we have the famous one and that's not going to change."Loch Windermere is lovely but it's not a patch on the Highlands of Scotland."And Gary Campbell, president of the Offical Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, believes the sighting of Bownessie will help secure even more Nessie believers.Mr Campbell (45) of Milton of Leys - who set up the fan club after spotting a humped creature lurking in Loch Ness 15-years-ago - said: "There is a history of sightings of the Bownessie, but they're very sporadic. I've seen the latest picture, but it's not immediately obvious what it is."There is every possibility it is a monster, as there have been sightings of different creatures worldwide."He added: "It will make people stop and think that maybe these sightings are not hoaxes and maybe there could be a Loch Ness Monster."