A woman was fighting for her life last night after her car careered off a newly surfaced road and crashed over a wall and into a field.
The 30-year-old was alone in the blue Mini when she lost control on the Black Isle yesterday.
Police said she suffered “life-threatening” injuries in the crash, which happened near Muir of Ord.
The casualty was initially airlifted by air ambulance helicopter to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
But later in the day she was transferred by road ambulance to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for more specialist treatment.
Police appealed for information last night after crash investigators spent more than five hours combing the scene for clues.
Highland Council confirmed the road was resurfaced on Thursday and a team had been due to sweep up loose chippings yesterday.
The accident happened shortly after 7am on the B9169 between the Black Isle Showground at Muir of Ord and Leanaig, near Conon Bridge.
The car, which has a white roof, appears to have been travelling towards Muir of Ord and to have landed in a field following a downhill double bend.
Marks on the loose chippings showed where the vehicle had veered off the road.
Debris from the car could also be seen lying by the verge.
Police officers cordoned off a section around where the accident happened and local diversions were put in place while investigators examined the scene.
The road reopened just before 12.30pm after the Mini was recovered from the field.
Police said a report on the crash would be sent to the procurator fiscal.
A resident in the rural area said: “The first I knew about it was when I heard the air ambulance coming right over my house this morning.
“It’s not a bad bit of road but they’ve been working on it so I don’t know if that’s got anything to do with it.
“I hope that whoever’s involved pulls through. It’s not a nice thing to happen.”
A spokeswoman for Highland Council said the road was being re-laid with tar and stone chippings and has been due to be cleared of loose chips yesterday.
A fresh surface dressing had been put down the day before, and signs warning of stones and advising a 20mph speed limit were in place.
A local authority roads crew swept the road around the area while the police investigation continued yesterday.
The spokeswoman urged people to take care on recently re-surfaced routes.
“There has been ongoing surface dressing works on a 20-mile stretch of the road,” she said.
“There are signs and temporary limits in place to warn drivers of loose chippings.
“The chippings are put down and swept the following morning. On this particular stretch the chips were put down on Thursday and staff have been on site this morning sweeping the road.
“We are asking all drivers to take care and to follow the temporary limits and to take notice of the warning signs.”