A dedicated volunteer finished work at one of the Highland’s best known tourist attractions – only to return a few hours later on a mercy mission to help an injured man to safety.
Andrew MacDonald is the assistant manager at historic Eilean Donan castle as well as being a crew member with the RNLI based at nearby Kyle of Lochalsh.
And when the local lifeboat received a call to assist with a tricky rescue at the castle, Mr MacDonald was on board ready to help.
The 36 year-old said: “The crew was called out by the Scottish Ambulance Service as a man who was walking around the shore of the island slipped and fell.
“He was climbing up rocks to take pictures of the castle when the accident happened.
“There was no easy way for the paramedics to get him back up from the shore, so the lifeboat was called out.
“The paramedics suspected he had fractured his ankle and, as the steps leading to the shore are quite narrow, there was no way anyone could have stood beside the injured man to support him on the way back up.”
When the four volunteer lifeboat crew members arrived at the island, they lifted the injured 48 year-old man onto a stretcher then took him over to the slipway at Dornie.
Mr McDonald said: “We managed to get right into the shore at the island in the lifeboat to take control of the casualty. Once we got to Dornie, the paramedics took over and he was taken to hospital.
“I finished work early at the castle, but didn’t realise I would be back there so quickly to help with a rescue.”
Eilean Donan castle – which dates from the 13th century – sits on a small tidal island where Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh all meet. It is one of the most iconic and recognised castles in Scotland and tourists from all over the world arrive in their thousands every year to walk over the connecting bridge from the mainland to visit it.
“I work on the food and beverage side and we are phenomenally busy just now with visitors. Everyone wants to take pictures of the castle and I’m just glad the man wasn’t more seriously injured when he fell,” Mr MacDonald added.