Hopes have been raised that new bike trails in Moray will attract a fresh wave of cyclists to the region.
The Crown Estate has had plans approved to create two new routes at their mountain bike centre at Glenlivet.
More than 47,000 riders have headed to the two existing trails, and pump track for warming up, since they were opened about four years ago.
However, Crown Estate managers fear they have been missing out on attracting expert and young enthusiasts to the attraction.
A report submitted to Moray Council planners, explains: “The Glenlivet mountain bike centre has a good range of cross country graded trails for users.
“However, it lacks a specific ‘jump’ trail. These types of trail are very popular with the youth market as well as more expert riders that have previously ignored Glenlivet as being too cross country and not ‘jumpy’ enough.
“The (new) trail would be designed to appeal to as wide a range of riders as possible while retaining the fun element of a ‘jumpy’ trail.”
Designers have now created a route that will continually rise and fall in the midst of the Cairngorms landscape.
Rock will be used to create some of the trails to make them appear part of the natural environment.
One of the new routes will be designated as a “coaching area” in order for aspiring riders to hone their skills.
Yesterday, Laurie Piper, operations manager of Moray Speyside Tourism, welcomed the potential addition to the region’s adventure sport offering.
He said: “It’s great news the new trails have been approved. It will add significantly to the attraction of Glenlivet as a mountain bike destination.
“However, it also reinforces Moray’s strong position as a great location for riding bikes, whether on roads or in the countryside.”
The trails at Glenlivet are currently closed during winter to allow for the felling of pine trees that have been infected with red band needle blight.
It is expected that the centre will reopen in time for Easter next year.