Police were last night investigating the discovery of a mystery woman’s body in a Highland beauty spot loch.
And detectives believe distinctive artwork on her nails could be a key factor in identifying her.
A member of the public spotted the body in the waters of Loch Morlich, a popular all-year-round holiday and leisure destination at the foot of the Cairngorms.
A police spokesman said that the woman’s death was being treated as unexplained.
Officers issued a description of her and as dusk fell last night they were checking all vehicles left parked at Glenmore and by the side of the road leading to the Cairngorm ski area.
The woman was white, aged 40-60, 5ft 6in to 5ft 8in and of stocky build.
She had brown hair with blonde streaks, and was wearing a black jacket, jeans, a white blouse and pink high top trainers.
She also had distinctive nail artwork.
A police spokesman said: “Inquires are at an early stage, however officers are looking for assistance in identifying the woman.”
Loch Morlich is about five miles from the resort of Aviemore and people working in the area said they had noticed police activity but did not know what had happened.
One holidaymaker from Aberdeen said he and a friend were canoeing in the afternoon and noticed an officer standing near the mouth of a small stream at the south-west corner of the loch.
He said: “She told us to keep away from the area but would not say why.
“She said that if we found anything in the loch we should call 999.”
Other campers were shocked to hear about the grim discovery.
They said they noticed police vehicles in the Glenmore area throughput the day.
One man said he was told that officers were searching woods at the south side of the loch and another said that police had asked to look at CCTV footage at the Glenmore shop.
It is understood that the cameras cover the interior and exterior of the premises, which is on the ski road to Cairngorm.
He added: “I saw police cars in the car park.
“It is not a nice thing to think about.”
Another woman at the nearby campsite said that police were keeping the incident “hush-hush”.
She said: “We don’t know anything. We have seen the police about but they haven’t told us anything.”
The beach was deserted last night. apart from a few dog walkers and joggers.
Tyre tracks could be seen leading from the boathouse near the main road along the sand to the south.
At this time of year it attracts people who enjoy boating and fishing on the waters
Unusually, Loch Morlich has an award-winning beach, having won recognition as Scotland’s only inshore sands.
It has views across to the Cairngorms from the south side of the loch.
The woman’s body was discovered around 11.20am yesterday. Police have urged anyone with information to contact them on 101.