Loch Ness Marketing
Making a famous place more famous.
VisitBritain is the tourism body responsible for marketing the United Kingdom abroad. At time of writing Scotland remains within this historic grouping, though narrowly. Anyway, the tourism body’s marketing folk recently sat around in a meeting down in London, England, with a chequebook on the table in front of them. They’d got money to spend on promoting chunks of our islands but needed a great idea to promote the bit way up north. They came up with this splendid initiative. Spend £2 million on a marketing campaign to promote floating logs in Scotland.
Not just logs floating on any old bit of Scottish water. No. Just logs that have found their way into Loch Ness in particular - as these have a most important function. They help keep the world-famous Loch Ness Monster myth alive.
In the autumn of 2014, monster sightings in Loch Ness went up when the Woodland Trust started to work in Urquhart Bay Wood. With nearby Urquhart Castle already a favourite monster-spotting vantage point, the timber washed out from the nearby woodland and into the loch as a result of the Trust’s management activity caused a few double-takes and excited camera fumblings.
All credit to the Woodland Trust for holding their hand up and offering an explanation. The monster appearances that went up at periods of high water created what one of our papers perhaps unconsciously yet aptly described as a ‘spate of sightings’.
So, by way of explanation of the Loch Ness phenomenon, logs bobbing in the murky waters were added to the swimming otters, swimming red deer, ducks or diving birds in mirage conditions, boat wakes and that famously awful picture of a dog swimming with a stick - all of which have also contributed to the real phenomenon: visitors (and residents) only seeing what they would like to see.
It is of course, perfectly fine that lochside businesses will benefit from the increased Loch Ness marketing spend. And, all stemming from that quiet week for the local paper, the Inverness Courier, in 1933, when they ran a wee story about a mysterious splashing in the loch, the legend has got many decades of life ahead of it. The Nessie businesses of all sorts, up to and including the downright nut-cases, the publicity seekers and the hoaxers, followed on. A large sum of Loch Ness marketing money is sure to help.
But I can’t help but wonder where else the funds could have been spent. Oh, sure, Loch Ness and the Great Glen are quite scenic parts of Scotland. Don't get me wrong. You'd like it. And yet...and yet...there the mountains don’t soar like Glen Shiel or Glen Coe; the lochs don’t have the grandeur of, for instance, Loch Maree; the settlements are not so picturesque as, say, Plockton (and other places); and neither does this busy Great Glen through-route have the tranquillity that you can find in many other stretches of beautiful Scotland. But then, hey, these places don’t have a monster attraction. And presumably, at least some of the visitors who, as a result of the marketing spend, have Loch Ness on their itinerary will explore further afield. So let’s hope the kelpie myth has even more mileage.
Is Loch Ness Worth Visiting? Follow that link for our view..