A Highland community is in mourning following the death of a “lovely” woman in a one-vehicle crash.
Emergency services were called to the C1016 route near Alness in the early hours of Sunday morning following reports of a serious one-vehicle crash.
The 56-year-old female driver was travelling on the route in a Toyota RAV4 car when the collision occurred north of Millcraig Road.
Officers confirmed she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Alness councillor Carolyn Wilson said the woman, who worked as a carer in the Alness area, was a well-respected member of the community who would be sorely missed.
She did not wish to name her last night.
She said: “This is devastating news for the family concerned.
“The person involved was well-known to the whole community. Her family have always lived here and are well respected.
“She was always cheerful and happy to speak to people. She was lovely, she really was.
“She worked as a carer so there will be a lot of people who will be devastated by her death.
“It doesn’t matter what time of year it is but we have had such a terrible year and people were looking forward to a bit of enjoyment at Christmas and her family have had the worst possible news that they could have got.”
Police, fire and paramedics were dispatched to the route between Alness and Achandunie at 12.40am.
The road remained closed overnight as emergency services dealt with the incident.
Officers are now appealing for anyone with information to contact them to help them establish exactly when the tragic collision took place.
Sergeant Kate Park from the Road Policing Unit said: “We are working to establish the exact time that this road crash took place.
“I am urging anyone who was driving on this road between 10.30pm on Saturday evening, and 12.40am on Sunday morning who witnessed this take place, or who has information that may assist our continuing enquiry to contact us through 101.”
Councillor Mike Finlayson added: “We are always deeply saddened to hear of any person that loses their life. Our sympathies go out to the family at this very sad time.”
The collision occurred as conditions across the north plummeted below freezing.
Aboyne in Aberdeenshire recorded the coldest autumn temperature this year as conditions dropped to -6.1.
Meanwhile, temperatures in Aviemore dropped to -3.4 as Lossiemouth reached as low as -3.9.