A lakeland photographer claims he has takendramatic pictures proving the existence of a mysterious animal lurking in the depths of England's longest lake, reports Paul Duncan.

The pictures were taken by Bowness-based photographer Linden Adams and according to him show a "huge creature" up to four metres in length emerging from the surface of Windermere in an area of the lake popular with windsurfers and canoeists.

The pictures were taken as Mr Adams enjoyed a routine walk up Gummers How with his wife Louise to take photographs of jets flying over the Lake District.

"We arrived at the summit at about 9.30am and the lake had a glass-like finish and not a ripple on it. We were looking out across the lake towards the Hill of Oaks caravan site when something absolutely huge popped out of the water," said Mr Adams.

Mr Adams took a series of eight photographs of the phenomenon and so convinced was he that they provided evidence of a huge animal beneath the surface that he enlisted the expert help of forensic photographer Mark Carr, of Hawkshead, who said he was "totally satisfied" that the photographs were genuine.

Mr Carr also used photographic technology to enhance the photos and from this he said he was able to determine changing wave patterns which showed the object was moving beneath the surface, and, within the waves, a dark patch which he said could be a "solid object" of up to four metres in length.

Dr Ian Winfield, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology based at Lancaster Uni-versity, who has conducted research on Wind-ermere for the last 17 years, said: "The size estimate means that I cannot explain the photographs by reference to any fish or other vertebrate species previously demonstrated to inhabit Windermere...."

For full story and pictures see this week's Westmorland Gazette.