The cancer charity Macmillan is appealing to cyclists to snap up the last few places for this year's Etape Loch Ness, and use their pedal power to help propel it towards a £1 million milestone.
Only a handful of places remain in for the popular cycling sportive - which sold out to general entry within hours - and all are being made available to riders who pledge £100 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
It is hoped that the combined efforts of Team Macmillan cyclists will help the charity - the official charity of Etape Loch Ness - to break the milestone of £1 million raised over the past four years of the event.
Etape Loch Ness will follow a 66-mile route around shores of the world-famous loch of April 29. Over 5,500 riders have already signed up to take part in the sportive, which takes place on traffic-free roads.
Macmillan's challenge events programme manager Eleanor Hoare says that riders who don the charity's distinctive green jerseys have the chance to be part of something very special.
"During the 2017 event we had 964 riders fund-raising for Macmillan and they went on to raise £291,907 - by far the biggest and best year yet for us at Etape Loch Ness. This year we are once again calling on cyclists of all abilities to help us, and we could reach a very, very special milestone," says Eleanor.
"Since our partnership with Etape Loch Ness started in the inaugural year of the event in 2014, we have raised over £730,000. We hope that after this year, with the help of our simply fantastic Team Macmillan riders and their supporters, that the partnership will have raised over £1 million for people living with cancer.
"To put it into perspective, £1 million will cover the cost of approximately 36,000 hours of Macmillan nurses."
The money raised at Etape Loch Ness will go towards helping Macmillan achieve its aim to reach and improve the life of everyone living with cancer, including funding their invaluable team of nurses. The charity also provides financial support for cancer patients and their families.
Etape Loch Ness event director Malcolm Sutherland says, "When we launched Etape Loch Ness four years ago, we wanted to give cyclists a simply unforgettable and thrilling ride in one of the world's most beautiful of places.
"But, more than that, we also wanted to create an event that would benefit the local community and which would provide a lasting legacy. The fund-raising undertaken by riders in aid of Macmillan is helping to deliver that in spades.
"In just four years it is fair to say that Etape Loch Ness has become one of the most popular sportives in the country, with places selling out within hours of going on sale. But what makes us equally proud is the impact it is having on a charity that plays such an important role to those affected by cancer."
Beginning in the Highland capital of Inverness, the Etape Loch Ness route follows the A82 along the northern side of the loch, before passing through Fort Augustus onto the south side. It is there that riders will take on the most challenging leg of the course - the timed King of the Mountain stage - a 4.8 mile climb which rises to 380m in height.
The route then continues around the southern side of the loch before returning to the event hub at Eden Court in Inverness. The event takes place on traffic-free roads, giving riders a unique experience.
To sign up, visit www.etapelochness.com.