A teenage serviceman in the north has embarked on a gruelling challenge to become the first person to circumnavigate the entire North Coast 500 route on a BMX bike.
Simon Kelly, who works as a mechanical engineer at RAF Lossiemouth, had dreamt of becoming a pilot since he was a young boy.
But the 19-year-old had previously struggled to make his ambition come true, due to being too young and not qualified enough.
However, earlier this year, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust (RAFCT) helped him towards his goal by providing him with enough flying lessons for him to be able to take to the air solo.
And now, Mr Kelly is aiming to repay the charity’s support by completing the 516-mile route of the NC500 on nothing but his little BMX .
He said: “All the lads at work have a bit of a laugh when I go about on my 20-inch bike. It’s something I’ve always been into, though.
“It started out as a bit of a joke really. I was out with the RAF’s mountain rescue team and somebody said ‘Why don’t you do 500 miles on your BMX?’ so I started looking at the distances and details.”
Mr Kelly, who is originally from Lisburn in Northern Ireland, has already been on the road for 11 nights, staying in campsites and hostels as he travels the length of the tourist trail, which he expects to complete at Inverness Castle tomorrow evening.
And during the journey, he has raised more than £400 for the RAFCT so far, despite having to battle near-impossible climbs while in the saddle.
He said: “It’s been incredibly tough. It’s single speed, so there are no gears on the bike.
“Near Applecross, there was about three miles of uphill, which was at 12 degrees of ascent. A lot of the time, it’s been as much a mental struggle as a physical one.”
Every year, the RAFCT awards 30 flying scholarships to RAF regular and reserve personnel through its junior rank pilot scheme to help them towards achieving their light aircraft licence.
Mr Kelly added: “The charity has given me an amazing opportunity. This is my way of saying thank you and ensuring they can give more people the same chance.”
Donations can be made online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sikelly-nc500onbmx