A new group of search and rescue dogs have been put through their paces in the Highlands with a training exercise that included them being winched down from a helicopter.
The animals are part of the Search and Rescue Dog Association (Sarda) Scotland, which has held its annual assessment in Glencoe.
Among the tests laid on for the dogs and their handlers was how they cope with the distraction of a flock of sheep.
Assessor Stuart Hadden said that a lot of training was focussed on ensuring that the dogs ignored livestock.
Other parts of the assessment involved volunteers acting as “casualties” that required assistance, Mr Hadden said.
The volunteers sheltered in bivvy bags while the dogs tried to pick up their scent and find them.
Yesterday, perfect weather conditions meant the volunteers were waiting to be rescued in bright sunshine.
Mr Haddon likened the training exercise to a “big game” for the dogs, with treats at the end when they were successful.
And yesterday the search dogs were introduced to another important element of rescue operations – an RAF Sea King helicopter.
The animals were taken onto the aircraft to get used to the noises and equipment, before being taken for a short flight.
Some were also winched down to the ground in a special harness to help them.
Mr Haddon said: “A dog is the equivalent of between 20 and 40 people if used correctly. They can search a vast area of ground very quickly and effectively, using their noses to pick up scent.
“They are an extremely valuable tool to us but they are our pets and best pals. It is a partnership.”
While some of those passing the test will now be able to participate in real rescues for the first time, the progress of others with a year’s experience was also assessed yesterday.