Scotland's first football floodlights were moved to hunt of Nessie

Scotland’s first football floodlights erected at Inverness Caledonian in 1930s were dismantled after only TWO games so they could be used in hunt for Loch Ness Monster, research reveals

  • Caledonian FC fitted floodlights at their Telford Street Park stadium in 1933
  • The floodlights were moved to Loch Ness after a possible sighting of Nessie 
  • A reward of £20,000 – or £1.4m today – was offered for the monster’s capture
  • The research was conducted by High Life Highland’s Am Baile website 

Scotland’s first football floodlights were used in a hunt for the Loch Ness Monster in the 1930s, a history project has discovered.

Inverness club Caledonian were thought to be the first in the country to introduce lamps on poles for games at its Telford Street Park stadium.

But after being used for just a few games, they were dismantled and moved to the shores of Loch Ness after a reported sighting of Nessie in 1933.

The move came after a reward of £20,000 – the equivalent of £1.4 million today – had been offered for the monster’s capture.

Details of the incident have been uncovered in archives as part of the Inverness Football Memories project.

The story was revealed by Jamie Gaukroger, co-ordinator of High Life Highland’s Am Baile culture and history website, which is hosting the project.

He told how the first game in Scotland under what we would consider modern floodlights took place at Telford Street Park, Inverness on Wednesday March 22, 1933 when Caledonian beat Clachnacuddin 2-1 in a benefit match.

Scotland’s first floodlights at a football stadium were dismantled in order to search for the Loch Ness monster in a bid to win the £20,000 prize for capturing the mythical beast

Two weeks after Caledonian beat Clachnacuddin 2-1 in March 1933, the floodlights were moved to the banks of Loch Ness to hunt for the mythical monster

Mr Gaukroger said: ‘A few weeks after the floodlit game had been played, the upgrading of the A82 Inverness – Fort William road was completed and it was a huge improvement which brought many more visitors to the area.

‘In July 1933, one of those visitors was George Spicer, who while travelling a few miles south-west of Inverness with his wife, spotted a ‘most extraordinary form of animal’ crossing the road in front of their car.

‘Their sighting was published in the Inverness Courier, whose editor used the word ‘monster’ to describe the creature. And the media phenomenon of the Loch Ness Monster was born.

He added: ‘Now, what has this got to do with Caley’s floodlights, you might ask? By October 1933, London newspapers were sending correspondents north to cover the story and a reward of £20,000 was offered for the monster’s capture. This is the equivalent of £1.4 million in today’s money.

‘People camped out along the shores of the loch, trying to spot the beast and in order to assist with the search, Caley’s pioneering floodlights were dismantled and taken a few miles down the road to Loch Ness to set up to assist the search for Nessie.’

More than 3,000 fans attended the game at the Telford Street Park in Inverness in March 1933. A few weeks later the lamps were dismantled and moved up to Loch Ness

The floodlights, three lamps each of 1,000 candle power, had been erected on poles along the two sides of the pitch at the football stadium and according to reports at the time ‘play was never difficult to follow’.

However, they were not successful in tracking down the elusive Nessie.

Gordon Fyfe, of Inverness Caledonian Thistle Community Trust, said: ‘The Nessie floodlight story is just one of the fascinating memories that our project is unearthing.

‘Inverness has such a rich football history and it is fun researching the stories that made the headlines down the years and recording the stories of players, officials and supporters who helped make them.’

Caledonian merged with Inverness Thistle to form Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC in 1994.

The memories project, which was launched in May, aims to offer a resource to older football fans, including supporters with dementia.

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