Rock-climber Edward sets sights on Scotland team elevation
Ten-year-old Edward Mills is again scaling the heights as he aims to land a place in the Scotland rock-climbing team.
The Dunnet youngster, who famously climbed Orkney's Old Man of Hoy for charity two years ago, has been hitting the walls in the ClimbScotland Youth Climbing Series (YCS) events at Aberdeen and Inverness.
Podium finishes were achieved with Edward coming second at the Aberdeen and first in Inverness, where he also finished second overall for the North of Scotland region.
His successes have propelled him into the Scottish youth development squad – a selection that also ensures he will have the chance to represent Scotland itself.
Edward will travel to Glasgow on March 21 to see if he can catch the eye of the Scotland selectors who will be choosing their squad for the national finals.
And if Edward can reach that lofty peak, the sky is the limit.
He said: "I think I did well [at the Inverness and Aberdeen events] and I had a feeling I would do okay.
"I have been spending a lot of time training and I have been practising whenever I can. My dad [Nathan] takes me to the Inverness wall whenever we can at the weekends.
"I have been practising climbing with ropes and bouldering – where you climb without a rope. I have been practising own my home climbing wall and also in Inverness with my coach. I swim a lot with the Thurso swimming squads and that has been helping with my movement and fitness.
"In competition, it's always the same type of climbing wall, but every time it's a new route that is set by moving the positions of the holds. This makes it more challenging for me to climb.
"The routes are normally set by someone from ClimbScotland. The routes are set to try to be challenging – it's no good if everyone gets to the top of all of them, because it would just be a draw.
"It can be harder climbing up an overhang. It is more scary sometimes, but fun too. It's hard work sometimes having to hold your weight while thinking how to solve the problems, and harder to take a rest.
"With the Scotland team selection event in Glasgow, I am a little nervous about the selection for the team. There are some very good climbers from the south of Scotland that I will be climbing against.
"I have climbed with all of them before, and we all have good fun too. I think I just missed out on a place last year by coming fourth.
"I think I am the only climber from Caithness and Sutherland to have entered the competition this year. I'm pleased to be flying the flag for the far north."
Edward has ambitions to hit the heights further afield.
"I would really like to climb the Ao Nang Tower in Thailand," he said. "We have travelled past it on a boat a few times when we were climbing near there last year.
"It looks amazing all surrounded by the sea, and we have talked about it a lot. Maybe one day."