The deaths of a man and a woman at a north-east holiday cottage are not being treated as suspicious, police have confirmed.
Emergency services were called to the property in Rickarton, near Stonehaven, on Thursday afternoon.
Officers confirmed the bodies of a 28-year-old man and a woman aged 24 were found at the Mergie Holiday Cottages.
It is understood they are not from the local area.
Next of kin have been informed and police will remain at the property while their investigation continues.
A report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.
Detective Inspector Sam Buchan said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man and woman who have sadly died.
“Officers remain at the property and I would like to thank members of the community for their patience while our inquiries continue.”
Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Wendy Agnew said she was thinking of the people’s loved ones.
She added: “It is a tragedy for the friends and families of these people. It must be quite upsetting for them, especially at this time of year.”
The police and the fire service were called to the cottage at lunchtime on Thursday.
Officers at the scene said the cottage where the bodies were discovered was on “lockdown”.
Police could be seen at the Mergie Holiday Cottages, in the grounds of the historic Mergie Castle Estate, which is home to the Bogton Clydesdales.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “The police came to our door in a rush, but we have had no idea what has been going on all day.
“This is really sad news as this is such a quiet area.
“It really has sent a shiver down my spine.”
The owners of the bothy declined to comment.
According to an entry on the Airbnb holiday lettings website, the cottage had been revamped recently.
It said: “Mergie Bothie is a renovated cottage situated in the glorious grounds of the historic 16th Century Mergie Castle, overlooking a river and forest and Clydesdale horse stud and forestry. Close to the pretty seaside town of Stonehaven and Deeside jewel that is Banchory.
“A comfortable, clean cottage with attractive modern amenities including underfloor heating and a log burner.
“The cottage is right next door to Mergie House, the main residence.”