A record-breaking athlete has urged people to get in the spirit of cycling as a Deeside village prepares to host a huge celebration of the sport.
World-record-breaking adventurer, Mark Beaumont, will be an ambassador for the mammoth biking challenge, the Etape Royale, and the accompanying Royal Deeside Family Cycling Festival in Ballater.
The three-day event will run from Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18 and complement the 100-mile closed-road circular cycle race – which takes place on the latter date.
Mr Beaumont recently completed a 6,750-mile journey from Cairo to Cape Town in a record 42 days, and covered the Etape Royale route on a penny farthing last summer.
The event will take participants through Aberdeenshire, across the Lecht and into Moray, both starting and finishing in Ballater.
The marathon challenge will pass through some of the north-east’s most beautiful scenery.
And organisers at Wildfox Events are hoping to attract a landmark 1,800 entries to raise money for Marie Curie and a number of other local charities.
Tourism development manager for Aberdeenshire Council, David Wright, said: “The whole of Ballater is looking forward to welcoming cyclists and their families to this year’s Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale and the Royal Deeside Family Cycling Festival.
“Mark Beaumont is such a well-known name in the world of cycling and we’re confident that he will do a brilliant job in encouraging more people to take an interest in cycling, either as a hobby or as an alternative method of transport.
“The entire weekend will be a celebration of all things cycling and there are plenty of activities for all the family to get involved in.”
The festival includes a number of family-friendly events and activities, including a mountain bike skills circuit and a bike roadshow.