A schoolgirl on holiday with her parents has taken 'the best picture of the Loch Ness Monster in years' after snapping the mythical creature with her iPhone.
Charlotte Robinson from Leeds, who was staying at Loch Ness Highland Lodges in Invermoriston, was stunned when it popped up 50 feet from shore.
'Nessie' surfaced for about a minute before re-surfacing about ten feet further away some seven minutes later, says Miss Robinson, who had been on holiday for less than a day when she made the sighting.
Miss Robinson was on holiday with parents Kat, 41, a business intelligence data analyst, and father Dave, 52, a factory worker.
Ironically Mr and Mrs Robinson had stayed at the same holiday centre 16 years ago, but had not been back since. It was at around 7pm last Friday when Miss Robinson saw the creature and captured it on her smartphone.
'There was something in the water about 50 feet from the shore. I took a photo. It had a neck and head was in the shape of a hook,' said Miss Robinson.
'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.
'I have seen something but I'm not sure what.'
Mrs Robinson added: '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 - who has dedicated his life to solving the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster for the past 27 years - was astonished by the image.
'I am totally excited by this photograph - it is the best of 'Nessie' in years,' said Mr Feltham, 55, who is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records for the longest continuous monster hunting vigil of Loch Ness.
'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.
The last previous glimpse of Nessie occurred on August 5 at 9.38am when the family, regular visitors to the area, were on holiday - also from Leeds.
It has now been accepted by the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings' Register.
'After travelling from Drumnadrochit to Fort Augustus they looked out at the loch and spotted a strange looking lump on the surface of the water, which was very still and quiet at the time,' said the register.
'It looked dark brown in colour and 'sort of like an upturned boat'. They revisited the area by boat in the afternoon and there was nothing like that in that area. Unfortunately because they were driving and couldn't pull in, they didn't manage to get any pictures.'
In June the first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster in moonlight was recorded - and in front of an 11-year-old girl.
The third sighting of the year of the legendary monster was also accepted by the official Nessie register.
Natalie Hodgson and her family, on holiday from Yorkshire, took a picture of the head of an unknown creature in the water at 10.30pm on June 1 from the Highland Lodges holiday park where they were staying. The creature remained for a few minutes caught in the moonlight before disappearing.
It follows a 'remarkable, feature film length' video of the Loch Ness Monster shot by a Nessie watcher from Ireland on April 30.
Hospital clerical worker Eoin O'Faodhagain from Donegal took a ten minute video from the Loch Ness webcam.
The creature moves from right to left and as it swam towards Urquhart Bay - a favourite haunt of Nessie - and is seen diving and surfacing with water splashes.
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?'
Results of the project are expected in early 2019.
Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster set new global records last year.
Nessie's 11 accepted sightings in 2017 were the highest this century.
According to Google, there are around 200,000 searches each month for the Loch Ness Monster, and around 120,000 for information and accommodation close to Loch Ness. The monster mystery is said to be worth £30m to the region.
Irish missionary St Columba is first said to have encountered a beast in the River Ness in 565AD. Since then there have been 1080 officially logged sightings.
Among the most famous claimed sightings is a photograph taken in 1934 by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson.
The image was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged.
The Home Office last year rejected a cheeky bid by a group of artists from Glasgow to grant the Loch Ness Monster permanent UK residency after Brexit.