Cyclists from all over descended on the north-east yesterday for an inaugural bike ride through Royal Deeside and Moray.
The Etape Royale took competitors on a 102 or a 65-mile closed-road circular route, starting and finishing in Ballater.
The challenge took the 800 cyclists through villages and towns including Tarland, Alford, Rhynie, Dufftown, Tomintoul and Gairnshiel Lodge.
First across the finishing line was Jamie Henderson, of the Spokes Racing team, who completed the 102-mile route in four hours 55 minutes and 23 seconds.
Torphins Typhoons cyclist Helen Miskelly was the first woman to complete the event, doing so in five hours 57 minutes and ten seconds.
The ride was organised by Scottish company Wildfox Events, which has raised more than £30million for charity through outdoor challenges.
Money raised at this event will be split between local causes, charities and groups in Aberdeenshire and Moray who have submitted bids. Their applications will be considered by the events company and the two local councils next month.
Last night co-organiser Pete Waugh, said he was delighted with the response and support the event had received – and that he hoped it would return next year.
He said: “Some people had travelled up from London for the day and some had come from the continent.
“We’re hoping to be able to do it again next year if the communities will let us, but the feedback has been hugely positive.”
Fellow organiser David Fox-Pitt, who is also director of Wildfox Events, added the picturesque setting of the route had been key to attracting so many participants.
He said: “The route of the Etape Royale has been designed specifically to allow cyclists to take in some of the most breathtaking scenery in Scotland, right through the heart of whisky country.
“We see the potential to attract thousands of cyclists to the event, which will have a significant economic impact on tourism for the surrounding area.”