A north family has launched a fundraiser to buy an electric bike to support a disabled man through the pandemic and beyond.
James Murray, 41, has Angelman Syndrome, leaving him with no speech and mobility impairment.
With the impact of Covid-19, he lost his valued day care at the Corbett Centre in Merkinch from the start of lockdown, leaving his family wondering how to fill the gap in his life.
James lives with his parents Kathleen and Jim in Kirkhill, Inverness-shire, while his brother-in-law Mark Forbes is nearby.
Together, they share his care, with Mr Forbes, 41, providing a significant level of cover.
Mark, a writer and musician, said: “James lost his community of peers when the centre had to close, and all the bustle of people around him which he loves.
“We could see that lockdown was having an impact on him, as he was more quiet than normal, where he’s usually so mischievous and full of fun.
“The centre has a duet wheelchair bike and James used to go out in it, so asked if we could borrow it.”
The bike duly arrived and James and Mark have since become familiar figures in the area, cycling from Kirkhill to Reelig, Cabrich, Beauly and Muir of Ord.
James is at the front, while Mark pedals behind.
Mark said: “I don’t get to see James while we are out to see if he’s really enjoying it or not so we attached a go-pro to see his reactions.
“He concentrates so hard on his surroundings, and whenever we go downhill you can see him grinning from the sense of freedom and exhilaration, things he hadn’t experienced before.”
The family are now thinking ahead to the time that they must return the bike, and beyond to James’s future.
Mark said: “In the longer term, James will be moving into his own house, so we need a bike which his carers will be able to use.
“That’s why we’re trying to raise the money for an electric bike. The current one isn’t, and it’s hard work on the hills.”
With the provisional date of Saturday October 24, the pair will leave Kirkhill, cycle through Beauly to Muir of Ord for coffee and cake, and then on to Redcastle, over the Kessock Bridge and back to Kirkhill through Inverness passing through Clachnaharry, Bunchrew and Inchmore.
“At about 31 miles, this will be our biggest route yet,” Mark said.