Fisherman spends 15 years clipping garden hedge into Nessie


A FISHERMAN has spent 15 years clipping a garden hedge into Nessie.

Alex Sutherland, 68, is a part-time ghillie, helping dozens of eager punters reel in trout and salmon on Loch Ness each year.

He even appeared on a Nessie-hunting episode of popular TV series “River Monsters”, which screens on the Animal Planet channel on Sky.

Now he has unveiled another talent – topiary.

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Alex has sculpted an eight metre long, four metre high beech hedge into the shape of Loch Ness’ most famous resident at his home in Errogie, 20 miles south of  Inverness and three miles from the famous loch.

The monster task has taken him over 15 years.

He said: “It wasn’t always going to be Nessie. I started it about 15 years ago. I got a bit too enthusiastic with the clippers. I’ve always admired topiary.

“You kind of go with the shape of the hedge. It occurred to me that it lent itself to several humps.

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“I did have a cockerel at one end but it turned into a hump. It was an evolutionary thing. Then I added a bicycle reflector for an eye.

“I’ve done fishing trips on Loch Ness and I’ve talked to a lot of people about what they’ve seen. So I take inspiration from that.”

Mr Sutherland, who had a career as an access officer for Highland Council, said wife Janet, 69, was used to him.

He said: “I’ve always been interested in sculpture and recycling objects.

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“My wife has become resigned to seeing Nessie out of the kitchen window.

“She’s been putting up with my artistic imagination for 40 years.”

Asked if he had worked on any hedge sculptures, he said: “I did suggest to the Forestry Commission that I sculpt one of their hedges at the Inverfarigaig visitor centre into a monster.

“I was all ready to do it when one of the maintenance men came along and levelled it with their clippers.”

In August last year, artist Denis Carbonaro stunned his neighbours by building an 8-metre high woolly mammoth from leftover cypress branches in his front garden.

The prehistoric beast in Dalgety bay, Fife, drew visitors from around Scotland.