It’s sort of a given, isn’t it – if you happen to be around the Scottish Highlands and you spot a patch of water, you’ll inevitably make yourself believe you’ve just seen the Loch Ness Monster. It’s a reflex reaction.

Now I’m not saying that’s what happened to Ricky Phillips, who claims to have seen the mythical beast which has featured in tall tales for centuries – but it’s highly likely.

Ricky, 40, says that he was ‘baffled’ by the alleged sighting when he was taking a walk along the River Oich, a short river that flows through the Great Glen in Scotland.

The British military historian reckons the creature had a four-foot neck and a head the ‘size of a rugby ball’ – now, I’m no expert but that would mean its head was engulfed by its neck, surely?

Enough of the logistics.

Ricky, who hails from Edinburgh and works as a tour guide, claims the sighting took place on 13 December at around 2.40pm.

He told the Daily Record: “It was a grey creature – almost bird-like – in a grey stretch of water. Its neck was three to four feet long, [with] a head the size of a rugby ball and a ridge across its eyes. I was baffled.

“The previous Wednesday I had heard a strange noise as I was stood by a cafe at the edge of the loch in Fort Augustus. The noise sounded almost metallic, but like something was blowing air – like Darth Vader.

“I have swum and sailed with whales and dolphins, seen hundreds of seals, and it sounded like nothing I have ever heard. I spun around and saw something grey, just a side of a body and a flipper. Okay, this could have been something explainable, so I left quite interested but unsure.

“The noise was really weird though.”

“My tour party went on their cruise I decided to take a walk along the river Oich, mainly to see the old bridge, and was taking a few pictures of the loch and the scenery when I again heard that curious noise.

“I looked up from my phone and saw a long, straight neck, all completely grey, and a narrow face, which was only about 20ft away and then it turned and disappeared all in a few seconds.

“I looked down and realised that it was in my picture, so zoomed in and there it was. It actually looks like a giant bird or a peacock in the face, with high ridges above its eyes and what almost looks like a beak.

“I know dinosaurs came from birds and that many had hard lips, almost like a beak – but this is simply what I saw. It seems to have almost a frill on its neck. It is very odd.

“All I will say is that, if I was going to fake a Nessie, I would certainly have made it look less like a bird and more like… well, more like what we think Nessie looks like!”

So, there we have it – he’s saying it was probably a large bird?

Well, if I’ve figured one thing out from this, it’s how downright sceptical I really am when faced with things like this.