The mysterious pilot who traced a massive Christmas tree over the northern Highlands has been revealed as a dad who wanted to send a festive message to his daughter on the other side of the world.
Robin Rother took off from Dornoch yesterday afternoon and flew as far as Strathy on the north coast, before completing the other side of the tree on its way south again.
That makes his Christmas tree a spectacular 50 miles tall.
The identity of the pilot was a puzzle until the Daily Record got in touch with his daughter Catriona, who works as a daughter in Wellington Hospital in New Zealand.
She told the newspaper: “It’s just something really nice in a difficult time, in a difficult year, when families can’t be together.”
“It’s a lovely way to show that he loves us when he can’t be near.”
Delighted enthusiasts watched the shape being traced out on plane tracking website Flightradar24 after take-off at 12.11pm.
The only previous clue to the pilot was the call sign for his aircraft – N260AP – which belongs to a SIAI-Marchetti SF.260D similar to the one seen below.
Mr Rother’s plane, however, has been given a colourful paint job of blue, green and yellow hexagons.
He will reportedly be alone on Christmas, as Covid travel restrictions have stopped Catriona and his London-based son from coming up to Dornoch to visit.
However, his daughter says she is planning to print out and frame the flight tracker map to send him as a present.
Mallaig RNLI had a similar idea to Mr Rother, with the crew tracing out another massive Christmas tree off the west coast while on a training exercise yesterday.
Another festive track, this time from the lifeboat out on a training exercise – must be navigation training tonight 😊🌲🌲
Their trip came two days after Norwegian fish carrier the Ranja Commander drew a Christmas star in the same patch of sea.