A woman has travelled to the Highlands to try to catch a glimpse of Nessie before she goes blind.
Jo Milne from Newcastle has been deaf since she was born because of a condition called Usher syndrome.
Special implants enabled her to hear for the first time last year – and a video of that emotional moment went viral.
But now the 40-year-old is losing her vision.
When Highland tourism bosses heard of her plight, they invited Jo to world famous Loch Ness and the chance to see its elusive inhabitant – Nessie.
The monster remained true to form and stayed below the murky surface of the UK’s largest expanse of water for the duration of her trip.
But Jo still got a chance to enjoy the Great Glen at its sunny best – and hear bagpipes for the first time with the spectacular panorama of Loch Ness in the background.
Jo said yesterday: “This is an experience that will live forever in my memory. It was beautiful to see the Highlands.
“The people of Scotland have been so kind to me and I can’t thank the businesses and individuals enough for putting this together for me.”
When Jo heard that she was also about to lose her sight, she drew up a bucket list, hoping to complete it before going blind.
An anonymous benefactor is now providing the finance to make her dream come true.
But before she embarks on the trip of a lifetime to see the seven wonders of the world, businessman Willie Cameron provided Jo with two nights free accommodation in his Clansman Hotel, on the shores of Loch Ness.
Mr Cameron said yesterday: “When we learned of Jo’s mission to see the seven wonders of the world, we were determined to have her see the eighth wonder – that of Loch Ness.
“Nessie didn’t put in an appearance but I don’t think that ruined her visit.”
Virgin Trains transported Jo in first class from Newcastle to Inverness, and Jacobite Cruises owner Freda Newton laid on a cruise up the loch.
A visit to the area wouldn’t have been complete without a tour of Historic Scotland’s Urquhart Castle and Spud the Piper, who played for Madonna and stars in the television series “The Mountain”, ensured Jo would hear the skirl of the pipes for the first time.
She said: “It was the first time I had heard bagpipes live and in such a spectacular setting. I just cried. But they were tears of joy because everyone has been so good to me.
“If I had been lucky enough to see Nessie before I go blind it would have been the icing on the cake. But everything was perfect.”
Apart from seeing the seven wonders, Jo, who has raised £45,000 for deaf children, also hopes to meet Paul McCartney, learn the piano and go to Brazil to see the Mardi Gras.
Jo, who published her autobiography “Breaking the Silence” last year went on: “The things on my bucket list tend to be visual memories so Loch Ness was a wonderful start for me before this ticking time bomb of sight loss happens.”