HIGHLAND castles are among those enjoying an influx of visitors after a new craze in "castle bagging" has emerged.
Historic Scotland, which owns and runs properties in the Highlands, has noticed an increase in the number of visitors who say they are on a quest to bag as many castles as they can.
It has led to it launching a search for the country's most cultured family and the family who can bag the most castles in a weekend will be rewarded for its efforts.
Euan Fraser, manager of Urquhart Castle, said: "We have noticed an increase in visitors who say they are trying to visit as many castles as possible. It seems to have become a bit of a sport to see who can 'bag' the most.
"We look after more than 60 castles across the country so there's plenty to choose from. It's a great way in the current climate for families to spend quality time together and get out and experience Scotland's culture and heritage for themselves.
"The hard part is choosing which castles to visit and how much time to spend at each, as there is so much to see and do. We'd love to find the family who have bagged the most of our castles to date."
Historic Scotland has found around 20 visitors a month are making the most of its properties and are travelling around to visit them as a day out or weekend away. One family even visited 20 properties in seven days.
In the current financial climate, one in five people is choosing to holiday at home and experience Scotland's culture and heritage.
To celebrate its Make Your Own History campaign, Historic Scotland is challenging families to take up the new craze in a search to find the country's most cultured family.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) said the new trend is slightly less strenuous than Munro bagging climbing the 284 Scottish peaks over 3,000ft above sea level but is still a great way to spend a day out enjoying Scotland's natural beauty.
David Gibson, chief officer for MCofS, said: "Scotland's castles and mountains are inextricably linked though their history and beauty and are both set in wonderful scenic landscapes that are great to explore.
"Like Munro bagging, castle bagging carries a health warning it can be seriously addictive."
Historic Scotland will reward the family who can bag the most castles in a weekend.
Parents can send their admission tickets and photographs as proof of the trip to HS@consolidatedpr.com and the winning family will be reimbursed for entry.