A KAYAKER believes he may have caught Windermere’s mystery monster ‘Bownessie’ on camera.

This atmospheric photograph, captured by IT graduate Tom Pickles, 24, reveals a strange humped shape gliding through the still waters of the lake.

Tom said he thought it was a dog at first but soon realised it was the size of three cars.

He and fellow kayaker Sarah Harrington, 23, were so frightened, they raced back to the safety of the shore.

This is believed to be the eighth sighting in the past five years of the mysterious hump-backed creature.

The pair, who work for an IT firm in Shrewsbury, were staying at Fallbarrow Hall, Bowness, as part of a team-building residential training course.

They had paddled 300m out onto the lake near Belle Isle when they spotted a mysterious creature the size of three cars gliding across the lake.

“It was petrifying, we paddled back to the shore straight away,” said Mr Pickles.

“At first I thought it was a dog and then saw it was much bigger and moving really quickly at about 10mph.

"Each hump was moving in a rippling motion and it was swimming fast.

“I could tell it was much bigger underneath from the huge shadow around it. "Its skin was like a seal’s but its shape was completely abnormal, not like any animal I’ve ever seen before.”

They watched it for about 20 seconds before it plunged out of sight.

Ms Harrington said: “It was like an enormous snake.

"It freaked us all out but it wasn’t until we saw the picture that we thought we’d seen something out of this world.

"All I could think was that I had to get off the lake.”

Mr Pickles’s picture perfectly matches the description of an earlier sighting from the shores of Wray Castle in 2006 by journalism lecturer Steve Burnip.

“I’m really pleased that someone has finally got a really good picture of it. I know what I saw and it shocked me,” said Mr Burnip, of Hebden Bridge.

“It had three humps and it’s uncanny the likeness between this and what I saw five years ago.”

Hotelier Thomas Noblett and TV psychic Dean Maynard have twice scoured the lake with sonar equipment.

“We’re convinced there’s something down there and we’re going to get straight back out on the water,” said Mr Maynard.

But sceptics remain unconvinced that something that size could exist in the 11-mile long lake.

Nigel Wilkinson, director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said his boat crew had over 100 years experience out on the water in all conditions and had not spotted anything unusual.

“We carry 1.3 million passengers, that is 2.6 million eyeballs, and none of them have ever brought Bownessie to our attention.”