A group of charity workers are limbering up to take part in a gruelling five-day trek to raise money for slavery and domestic abuse victims.
Andy McDonagh of Westhill, hairdresser Cheryl Upton of Aberdeen, tradesman Stuart Duncan of Insch and Josephine Upton from Oban have organised a walk along the Freedom Trail in the Pyrenees.
The arduous trail was named after Jewish refugees made the Walk of Freedom from Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War.
Sadly many died as they made their escape and there are gravestones marking their deaths along the walk.
Three of the walkers taking on the trek help at north-east charity City Hearts Aberdeen, which helps to rescue victims of modern-day slavery.
They have been training for their challenge with regular climbs up Bennachie.
Andy, who is married to a volunteer at the charity, said: “I am really looking forward to it. I have been to France and Spain but I think this will be completely different.
“I don’t even know what the weather is going to be like – it is a very high climb and I think it will be tough.
“The Freedom Trail gave a lot of Jewish people freedom once they reached Spain and it must feel like that for a lot of people the charity helps – that they are gaining their freedom after escaping abuse or modern-day slavery.”
City Hearts Aberdeen was launched two years ago to help victims in the north-east of Scotland and is a branch of a national organisation.
Staff and volunteers also help people who suffer from addictions by offering counselling support, care and accommodation.
There is a drop-in centre in the city as well as a safe house where they can get access to shelter.
The walkers have tasked themselves with raising as much money as possible for the charity by trekking 51km over five days.
They will be holding bake sales, organising a ceilidh and hosting coffee mornings.
More than £1,000 has been raised so far.
Andy, 26, added: “The money will go towards the running of the safe house and help with the counselling service.
“There are alarming statistics for modern-day slavery in Aberdeen and the north-east.”
Heidi Ogboke, a spokeswoman from the charity, said: “City Hearts Aberdeen provides support, care and accommodation for those who have been victims of human trafficking and vulnerable women with life-controlling issues. We are so proud of this team of people who are willing to sacrifice an enormous amount of time to train and tirelessly fundraise.
“These amazing people are taking possibly one of the biggest challenges of their lives to give these vulnerable people a second chance at life. Not just to survive but to thrive.”
The charity highlighted that Aberdeen was affected by slavery due to its fishing industry, abundance of nearby farms and brothels.
The trek will begin on September 9 in Toulouse and is set to take five days to complete.
For more information about the challenge, search for City Hearts Aberdeen Freedom Trail on Facebook.
To donate go to bit.ly/2JUsIQV