A girl has taken what is being described as the best picture of the Loch Ness Monster in years.

Charlotte Robinson, 12, was on the first day of her holiday with her parents in Scotland when what they believe to be Nessie appeared around 50ft away.

They said that the figure appeared for around a minute before resurfacing another 10ft away several minutes later.

Charlote said: ‘I took a photo. It had a neck and head was in the shape of a hook,’ said Charlotte.

‘I just took what I saw. It was black – I just don’t know how far it was out of the water. I’m not good at judging distances.

‘But after about a minute it disappeared and then came back up again in a different place. It was up for less than a minute the second time. I kinda believed in Nessie, but I wanted to see the proof. I always imagined her as having a long neck and flippers.

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‘I have seen something but I’m not sure what.’

Her mum, Kat, said: ‘Charlotte said she had taken a photo of a creature in the loch and I said “right, sure you have”.

‘For weeks she’s been going on about seeing the Loch Ness Monster. But when I saw the picture, I couldn’t believe it. Something’s there. With all the sightings over the years there must be something in the loch.’

Nessie expert Steve Feltham, whose been trying to solve the mystery for the last 27 years, said: ‘I am totally excited by this photograph – it is the best of ‘Nessie’ in years.

‘There is clearly a solid object in it and it is relatively clear. It warrants further study.

‘There may be a mundane explanation such as a seal, but I have not heard of a seal in the loch this year. For my money it is larger than a seal or an ottter. It is a fantastic picture by Charlotte.’

Mr Feltham, who lives on the shores of Loch Ness at Dores, added: ‘This is just the image we have been waiting for – for years. Congratulations Charlotte. I am totally excited by it.’

There have been four official sightings this year of the Loch Ness Monster.

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In August a family from Leeds said they saw what looked like an upturned boat, but when they revisited the area it had disappeared.

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In June there was a moonlit sighting by an 11-year-old girl.

And before that in April hospital clerical worker Eoin O’Faodhagain from Donegal took a ten minute video from the Loch Ness webcam.

DNA sampling recently took place to discover previously unrecorded organisms in Loch Ness.

However Prof Neil Gemmell, a New Zealand scientist leading the project, said he did not believe in Nessie, but was confident of finding genetic codes for other creatures.

Prof Gemmell of New Zealand’s University of Otago said a ‘biological explanation’ might be found to explain some of the stories about the Loch Ness Monster.

He said: ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we did find something extraordinary during our investigation.

‘Is there anything else, perhaps something unusual, such as a giant catfish, sturgeon or eel, or a species unknown to science? It seems unlikely, but who knows?’

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