A group providing excursions for Highlanders with mobility issues is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Highland Disabled Ramblers was formed in 2001 and offer scooters for locals to use on visits outdoors.
The charity, fully led by volunteers, welcomes people of all ages; however, most of their users are elderly.
Excursions to Highland beauty spots
Hosting up to 12 rambles each year between April and November, the charity currently has 10 scooters available to loan for the day.
The group was set up by the late Michael Findon with its first meeting taking place on April 19, 2001.
It is based in Inverness but travels to take in some of the Highlands vast beauty.
Rambles often take place in the Black Isle, Cairngorm National Park and even in Glen Affric.
Each ramble consists of a three to four mile trip and at times are led by a ranger.
Group has supported hundreds over the years
Over the course of the group’s 20-year existence, it has come to support hundreds of people to ensure they can enjoy the outdoors, despite limiting factors.
The group’s treasurer Rosemary Greenlaw said: “For many of us, it is an extension of walking in the outdoors which we have done all our lives and no longer can.
“For some, maybe it is the first time they have been able to get out and about.
“It is wonderful to have got this far.
“We have actually only had 19 years rambling because we didn’t ramble at all last year.
“During the winter, when we are not rambling, we usually have winter meetings where we have talks or a slideshow or something and it is just a getting together.
“That makes you realise that people do appreciate the social side of it as well.”
‘There is a lot of camaraderie’
Secretary Elspeth Kennedy added: “You can just get to places that you wouldn’t otherwise get to and out in the fresh air.
“I think the companionship as well is a good part of it. There is a lot of camaraderie.
“So far over 20 years we have managed to keep things together and keep going.”
Volunteer became user
Peggie Gordon started out as a volunteer with the group in its infancy.
Now she has become a service user herself.
She said: “I was very friendly with Michael Findon, who started the group, through my work.
“I was retiring in 2001 and I thought that sounds like a good thing to me.
“I missed the first two rambles but I have been with the group since.
“It is sociable, allows people to get together and get into some beautiful places and areas. The companionship and company are what we come for.
“We also come for the giggle – and there is always a giggle – and to get out into the fresh air.”
She praised landowners for allowing the group access to remote spots and allowing use of private grounds.
‘We have been infinitely blessed with weather’
The group depart in most weather conditions. However, Miss Gordon confessed that over the 20 years she has been involved, she is able to count on one hand the number of times she has been drenched.
She added: “We have been infinitely blessed with weather. I think in the 20 years, I have only been thoroughly soaked three times.
“Sometimes it is cold, but on the whole we have been really lucky with the weather.”
She cut short a visit with family in order to join in celebrations with the ramblers.
Miss Gordon added: “I was down in England for three weeks looking after my cousin and I abandoned her and came back for the celebrations of the group.
“I did not want to miss it.
“They are an amazing bunch of folk.
“Elspeth and the committee as a whole are just brilliant. They put so much into it.”
‘It is extremely good and everybody is very kind’
The groups oldest member, 94-year-old Diana Macdonnell, first joined the ramblers with her husband.
She walk along by foot with their dog as her husband scooted along.
Now, she enjoys her days out with the group from the comfort of the scooter.
Mrs Macdonnell said: “It means that you can get out and about when you can.
“I can’t walk without aids and otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get out.
“It is extremely good.
“All different people come here and everybody is very kind.
“I can’t remember exactly when my husband and I joined – I think it was quite early on – and he used to scoot and I used to walk with the dog.
“After he died, I took over his place. Now, I think I am the oldest.
“I really look forward to it.”