The vivid storytelling skills and imaginative prowess of pupils at three Ross-shire secondary schools made them the pride of the county as they stormed the showcase final of a major performance challenge.
Dingwall, Alness and Invergordon all made their mark at the Scottish final of the Rock Challenge in Dundee on Friday night.
Last year’s winner, Dingwall Academy, came within a hair’s breadth of making it a double. But they were pipped at the post by a performance from Kinross High School in Perthshire.
In a poignant tribute to the 167 men who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha oil platform disaster of June 6, 1988, Alness Academy, who have also triumphed at the highest level of the competition and went through as the winner of the Highland heats earlier this year, placed third.
It was a particularly emotional night for the cast and support crew as Alness Rock Challenge stalwart Gordon Robertson, an English teacher at the Easter Ross secondary, had earlier announced he’d be stepping down from a role which has seen him volunteer up to 30 hours a week of his own time to help with rehearsals, set building and choreography.
The event challenges pupils to put together an eight-minute performance telling a story with a positive message. Performers, staff and an extensive support crew typically devote months of rehearsals towards the performances.
Invergordon Academy, who qualified as a high-scoring runner-up in the Highland heats, was placed fifth in the challenge with an imaginative flight of fancy piece called Rapture.
Ross-based MSP Maree Todd, who is the Scottish Government minister for childcare and early years, said: "These were really inspiring, very high quality performances. This is the first time I’ve been to a Scottish final and I’m absolutely blown away by the quality of the dancing, incredible costumes and sets. Really powerful performances."