More than 120 tonnes of stone and path-building materials have been airlifted by helicopter to a remote island off the Sutherland coast.
The worn paths on Handa Island reserve are being repaired to allow visitors to safely experience one of Europe’s most important seabird colonies and enjoy spectacular views from the island.
Scottish Wildlife Trust contractors and volunteers will be carrying out the work, which it is hoped will start after the winter and be completed by this time next year.
The material was flown in by helicopter earlier this week over a two-day period.
Handa Island reserve is owned by Scourie Estate and managed in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The island is a summer haven for around 70,000 breeding seabirds including puffins, guillemots and razorbills.
Reserves manager Sven Rasmussen said: “Around 7,000 people visit Handa every year, which puts the paths under a fair amount of pressure. Well maintained paths are essential for our conservation work because they help people avoid disturbing nesting birds or trampling delicate habitat.”
The path around Handa takes visitors past a ruined village abandoned in 1847 towards stunning sea views from the high cliffs in the west of the island.
The path repair project has been funded by a contribution of £15,000 from Highland Council through the Landfill Communities Fund.
Donald Fisher, chairman of Scourie Community Council, said: “Handa Island is one of many jewells in the crown of our community. I don’t know of anywhere which attracts so many positive comments from people who have been there for the first time, and because of that we are very supportive of anything at all that is being done to enhance the visitor experience without impacting negatively on the landscape.
“I have been on Handa Island a few times and it’s got this special peace and tranquility, and is one of the last bastions of island countryside. It’s a marvellous place”.