Nearly 1,000 cyclists have pounded roads, paths and tracks across the north-east as part of one of the country’s most scenic sporting challenges.
The field of entrants covered more than 170 miles over the weekend as part of the Ride the North event.
The enthusiastic riders set off from Oldmeldrum and Castle Fraser, near Inverurie on Saturday before crossing some of the largest peaks on Speyside.
Yesterday morning the cyclists departed Elgin and Forres to make the return journey back to Aberdeenshire.
Organiser Neil Innes said that interest in taking part in the event had created a surge in demand for hotel rooms.
It is estimated that the massive cycle run has an economic impact of about £800,000, predominantly in Moray.
Mr Innes said: “We set it up to take advantage of the incredible scenery we have in the north-east as well as nice small communities, whisky distilleries, castles and everything else.
“It sounded like a great idea and over the years it has grown from just 37 to the 950 we have this year.
“As its grown there have been a lot of additional benefits with hotel rooms, restaurant bookings and coach hires, mainly in Elgin and Forres but also right along the route. It’s got a considerable impact now.”
Riders gathered in Elgin’s Cooper Park yesterday morning to set off for day two. Participants waved as they embarked on the 85-mile return leg, which crossed the Spey at Garmouth before heading towards Buckie and south through Rothiemay.
Mr Innes added: “There is always a good atmosphere among everyone who takes part.”
Ride the North was first held in 2011. The route of the event, which also reserves spaces for charity riders, changes slightly each year in order to showcase different parts of the region.
Laurie Piper, operations manager of Moray Speyside Tourism, said: “Ride the North showcases some of our area’s finest landscapes as well as the quietest and most scenic routes to keen cyclists each year.
“It’s not only a great advert for our region, it also generates considerable economic benefit for the local communities and businesses on the route.”