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READING PASSAGE 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

THE LOCH NESS MONSTER

  • In the Scottish Highlands there, is believed to be a monster Jiving in the waters of Loch Ness. The waters of Loch Ness are one mile wide and 24 miles long, the largest body of freshwater in the United Kingdom. To many sceptics, this monster is only a modem day myth, but to others who claim they have seen it, the monster exists and still lurks in the waters of Loch Ness today.
  • Throughout Scotland, research has been done at several lakes but Loch Ness Is the icon for monsters – Nessie, as the monster is affectionately named, being the most popular of them all. Both professionals and amateurs flock to this lake with their cameras in the hope of capturing a brief glimpse of Nessie and possibly solving the mystery of the Loch Ness monster.
  • The very first sighting of Nessie was as far back as 565 AD. It is believed that she ate a local farmer and then dived back into the waters, with no accounts of being seen again for over 100 years. However, since the turn of the 20th century, several other people have claimed to see her. Some people believe that old Scottish myths about water creatures such as Kelpies and water horses have contributed to the idea of tills wondrous monster lurking beneath.
  • 2007 brought about the most recent sighting of Nessie. A tourist named Gordon Holmes from Yorkshire visited the Loch Ness waters and claims lie not only saw her, but has captured her on video. He claimed she was jet black, about 15 metres long and travelling in a very straight line at about 6 miles per hour. Despite this supposed evidence, controversy still reigns and opinion clearly divided about its existence. The video footage has been discredited amid accusations of tampering, whilst others claim mat the image caught by Holmes could be nothing more than a tree trunk or even one of the otters that inhabit the loch.
  • Some scientists believe that the Loch Ness monster could a mirage or a psychological phenomenon in as much as sometimes we see what we want to see. Of course those who have seen her beg to differ, but many experiments have been conducted to arrive at theories to explain what it is that people could be witnessing. It has been suggested that Nessie could be related to a prehistoric animal known as a Plesiosaur, an animal that measured up to ten metres in length and is otherwise thought to be extinct, although this theory is unsupported by any data, One scientist in particular has been researching the lake itself to find out more about its history, It seems that for such a large animal to Jive in this lake it would require a vast food source, but for such an amount of fish to survive there would need to be plenty of microscopic animals called zooplankton. The only way to find out how much of this there is in the water is to measure the amount of algae. Algae needs light to survive so by measuring just how deep the daylight can penetrate the lake scientists can then start to work out what kind of population can be sustained. Despite results that suggest that the fish population was too small, the conclusions drawn were inconclusive.
  • In the 1900s, a ten year observational study was carried out, recording an average of 20 sightings of Nessie per year, The phenomenon exploded in second half of the century, when photos were publicly released of a ‘flipper’, Submarines were sent into die Loch Ness to try to discover more about this creature (and now are actually run as tourist attractions). Another theory behind why Nessie rose to the top of the waters where she was more likely to be seen, was that disruption from nearby road works in the 1930s forced her to move to higher levels due to the amount of vibration fell in the water. Another argument centres on the geographical placement of the Loch, which sits on the Great Glen fault line formed over 400 million years ago. Some scientists have claimed that resulting seismic activity in the lake could cause disturbances on its surface and people could be mistaking this for Nessie.
  • Up until today, there is no convincing proof to suggest that the monster is real, which, given the preponderance of digital cameras, webcams trained on the loch and other technological advances in recording equipment, suggests that the myth of Nessie may be just that – a myth. Nonetheless, accommodation all over the Scottish Highlands offers tours of the lake itself so tourists can try to catch their own glimpse of Nessie, In 2007, it was estimated that related tourism brought in an estimated £6 million to the region, thanks to the attention of the film industry.
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