Tangled sperm whale 'may have freed itself' from loch
Teams monitoring the whale stuck in Loch Eriboll believe it may have returned to the sea.
A sperm whale which was believed to have been trapped in a loch may have found it's way back out to sea.
The 30ft mammal was spotted in Loch Eriboll, near Durness in Sutherland on Wednesday.
It was thought it had become tangled in rope in the sea loch.
The Scottish SPCA called the Coastguard out to the scene, and British Divers Marine Life Rescue travelled to the loch with disentanglement gear on Thursday.
On Friday, the search for the whale was stood down, with the Scottish SPCA saying it hoped the mammal had managed to free itself.
Scottish SPCA inspector Maria Bain said, "The Scottish SPCA, the Coastguard and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue have been in attendance at Loch Eriboll near Durness today.
"We believe the animal unable to leave the loch yesterday was a 30ft sperm whale. We were on site at first light this morning to assess the situation and there have been no sightings of the whale today.
"Sperm whales are not common in the North Sea and after consulting with marine experts we believe it may be a juvenile that has lost its course.
"We hope it has found the way back out to sea and will continue to monitor the situation."