ADORABLE pictures of a Scottish mountain hare braving blizzard conditions have been captured by an intrepid photographer.
The hare appears to grimace as it is blasted by the hurricane-force winds that brought widespread destruction and disruption to the UK last week.
Photographer James Moore spent an hour creeping to within a few feet of the hare and was so cold he could barely press the shutter.
The 43-year-old ventured out into the hills south of Inverness on Thursday.
Mr Moore, from Dingwall, just north of the city, said: “I went to the site to look for hares and the weather was awful – blizzard conditions with strong winds and driving snow.
“I spotted this hare from 50m away and slowly made my way toward it in the hope of getting close enough for a photograph.
“I got about three metres away and the hare was happy with that. The fact that his ears are down shows he was comfortable with me being there.
“After about 20 minutes, by which time I was numb with the cold, he sat up, had a stretch and a yawn then settled back down.
“I decided to leave when my hands were so cold that I could hardly press the shutter button.”
Mr Moore, who lives in the Black Isles, added that the temperatures were below freezing and the winds were already reaching 50mph.
“I knew that really bad weather was coming so I wanted to get some pictures before the worst of it hit,” he said.
“It was heading for a white out – pretty grim, really cold, and that was before it all really kicked off.
“It was a privilege to get that close to them and be able to take pictures.”
Mountain hares, which usually turn white in the winter, shelter in shallow depressions in the ground.
The animals are becoming more and more rare as they are shot for sport and have been subject to culling because they allegedly carry a tick borne virus which can kill grouse chicks.