The twilight zone has well and truly moved into this year’s silly season Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness with news breaking in the Scottish Daily Record newspaper and also in the Highlands Press & Journal that local Loch Ness exhibition owner Donald Skinner has been arrested and charged by police for allegedly stealing a rival museum’s advertising sign.
Veteran entrepreneur Mr Skinner, 70, reportedly denies the theft, stating that he wrote repeatedly to his neighbouring museum’s owners to complain that their sign was blocking his own requesting that it be moved. He alleges they they failed to respond and so he warned them that he would “take custody of their sign” if they continued to ignore his requests.
Upon being arrested, Mr. Skinner says he told police that he “hadn’t stolen the sign under Scottish law” – worth, he says, about £30 (35 euro) but “had custody of it”.
Police say the matter will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal, the legal office which determines whether and how to proceed with criminal cases in Scotland.
There seems to be some desperation amongst businesses as, according to official data (and the obviously visible dwindling footfall in the village) tourist numbers have plummeted. Earlier this month the Drumnadrochit Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Association circulated a letter from long established and highly respected boat skipper George Edwards who was highlighting his concerns that the museum that is now accusing Mr Skinner of theft was itself being very negative about Nessie our famous Loch Ness Monster in its exhibits (apart from dumping tourists straight into a Nessie gift shop as they exit).
Perhaps Drumnadrochit needs an outbreak of common sense but there are a lot of apparently bitter old monster debunkers around and Highland feuds aplenty) so it’s unlikely that peace will break out any time soon.
In the meantime the silent majority can only look on in despair as a childish war escalates, which the fragile tourist trade here needs like a hole in the head. Perhaps it would be better for younger hearts and minds to push the bitter looking and seemingly failed and washed up old big beasts and pseudo scientists aside and start actually and actively promoting Nessie, The Loch Ness Monster.
What do you want to see? Debunking info and “facts” from non-academically trained folk about plankton and old wooden fence posts or the mystery and magic of the unknown monster who lives in the enormous dark depths of mysterious Loch Ness?