Police are probing the mystery death of a woman at an Aberdeenshire beauty spot.
A man in his 40s was also found injured after emergency services were called to the cliffs around Whistleberry Farm at Kinneff.
The tragedy prompted a large-scale police investigation on the crags and fields near the ruins of Whistleberry Castle.
Police, ambulance crews, coastguard teams and the Stonehaven RNLI lifeboat were all alerted following reports two people had become stuck on the cliffs near Inverbervie.
It is believed they were a couple from the Kinneff area.
Police officers spent hours carrying out investigations in the area, but last night the exact circumstances of the incident were not known.
The force is treating the woman’s death as “unexplained”.
The Stonehaven lifeboat arrived on the scene around 1.20am yesterday after being alerted by Aberdeen Coastguard.
The rescuers said its crew were responding to reports of a missing person, adding an “extensive search” of the area had to be carried out before the pair were found.
One local woman said: “We were out and I don’t think there was any activity at all until the early hours, but there was certainly a lot of police later on.
“We never realised what was going on. There was a lot of vehicles up there this morning.
“The first we knew about it would probably have been this morning. I initially thought it was a coastguard exercise. I didn’t really think too much about it, then there was a sudden increase in police presence.”
Another resident added: “It is very strange and sad. It is very close and steep down there.”
Last night police were still to contact the dead woman’ next of kin.
A spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that officers are continuing to investigate the unexplained death of a female in the Whistleberry Castle area of Kinneff.
“Emergency services were alerted at around 1.20am on Friday, May 27.
“A male was also taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with non-life threatening injuries. The investigation is at an early stage and inquiries are ongoing.”
An ambulance service spokesman said: “We received an emergency call at 1.20am this morning to attend the location.
“Two local ambulance crews and a special operations response team attended the incident.
“A male was conveyed to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with minor injuries.”
Last night an Aberdeen Coastguard spokesman said: “We have been assisting police during the course of the night and this morning.
“The helicopter was out in the first instance, there was a lifeboat and four coastguard teams.
“The initial call was at 12.15am, it was a report of persons on cliffs.”
A Stonehaven RNLI spokeswoman said: “The crew were tasked to assist the coastguard at the cliffs in Kinneff where there was a report of a missing person.
“The crew assisted the coastguards by providing light to the scene to allow the search to continue.
“After an extensive search two casualties were recovered by coastguards and handed over to waiting paramedics.
“The boat was stood down at 2.40am and returned to Stonehaven harbour and refuelled.”