Nessie comes to Loch Awe

A still from the film about Nessie, shot in Portsonachan village hall, starring Patrick Kilpatrick as US tycoon Brad (seated), and Taggart's John Michie (third from right), who plays Jimmy, the mastermind behind a local plot to foil Brad's plans.

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A comedy about the fabled Loch Ness monster was shot by Loch Awe last month, as Argyll’s spectacular locations continue to attract film crews.

The movie about ‘Nessie’, which weaves plotlines from the Scottish classics Local Hero and Whisky Galore, is made by the same team behind Dracula on Holiday and The Right Bus, which were showcased in the Highlands last year.

The story begins with an American billionaire, who bequeaths £20 million to a Highland village because of its connection to the Loch Ness monster. The billionaire was convinced he had seen the monster as a boy and became obsessed with proving its existence.

Alas, Nessie never surfaced for him again but, on his death, he willed millions of pounds to the Highland community to continue the search.

The billionaire’s son Brad, played by Mission Impossible actor Patrick Kilpatrick, is determined to contest his father’s will and, in so doing, debunk the whole idea of a Loch Ness monster. He sends his lawyer to the village to discredit their claim.

Patrick told The Oban Times: ‘She falls in love with the village. They conspire to convince me that the Loch Ness monster exists.’ Later Brad journeys to Scotland to stop the transfer of funds taking place and hoodwink the villagers. But they are having none of it when they all join together to foil his schemes and defend their village from ruin.

The film also stars Scottish actor John Michie, seen on screen as DI Robbie Ross in Taggart and Karl Munro in Coronation Street. Michie plays Jimmy, a hardy soul who helps to mastermind a way to prevent the village from losing its fortune.

Dr Who actress Tanya Fear plays Heather, the love interest for Geordie, who runs boat tours on Loch Ness, played by Scottish actor Jason Harvey.

Lead actor in Nessie, Jason Harvey, left, and the director Robbie Moffat in Oban.

Nessie is directed by Robbie Moffat and produced by Mairi Sutherland, under the British film company Palm Tree. The team, alongside production manager Rachael Sutherland, have been based at Loch Aweside’s Ardbrecknish House.

Robbie, the director, was delighted to have such a cast and such a ‘beautiful’ setting as Loch Awe. While some filming was done at Loch Ness itself, the ‘stunning’ Argyll locations include Portsonachan Hotel, the Portsonachan Village Hall, lochside houses and the beach.

Further afield, the crew filmed at Oban’s Glencruitten Golf course, Blarcreen House at Ardchattan and Oban Airport. The shoot ran from June 6 until July 5.

Patrick, whose father’s family hails from Scotland, said: ‘I had never been, so I really wanted to come. It is breathtakingly beautiful. The people are incredibly welcoming. LA is a world away from this. Afterwards I am going to go around Scotland with my wife.

‘On the drive up here from the airport, all of a sudden I saw a castle. This is not just a movie set. This is where people lived and died. It is different in America where you go to a fort. It is so much older. Here you are talking thousands of years.’

Argyll and Bute Council runs a dedicated website, www.filminargyll.co.uk, which provides information to anyone considering the region as a set location.

From January 2020 to January 2021, the council received 91 film enquiries, with 21 productions filmed during the year, leading to a local production spend of £310, 000 – compared to just over £1 million in 2019 before Covid.

That year, for the first time, an entire feature film was shot in Argyll and Bute, bringing in a crew of 200 for a total of six weeks. Recent film shoots in Argyll include Top Gear at Oban Airport and Murder Island – a six-part series where contestants became detectives in a curated crime thriller made on Gigha, written by the novelist Sir Ian Rankin.