AN Inverkeithing hiker has overcome every Munro in Scotland in the name of mental health - despite a fear of heights.

Ross Cunningham, 36, started hillwalking five years ago after he fell into a period of depression.

"I just wanted to spend all my time in bed," he told the Press.

"I couldn't read a book or watch a film - my mind was in a very dark place."

A colleague managed to convince the now advocate to join her on a trek, and despite not being sure how she convinced him, Ross has been hooked since.

"It was one of those things," he added.

"I don't know if I believe in fate, but people come into your life for a reason.

"I was feeling that way over the space of a couple of months and it wasn't something I had experienced before - I needed something to focus on.

"I don't know how I would have got through that without it (hillwalking), I don't know where I would have gone."

Ross has since 'bagged' all 282 Munros, mountains in Scotland with a height over 3,000 feet, completing his final challenge, Mòruisg in the Northwest Highlands, earlier this month.

He is often joined on his adventures by his little dog, Dex.

"I am really glad it all went to plan, I saved a relatively shorter Munro so that friends and family - and my dog could join.

"It was a beautiful day and we took lots of pictures I will be able to reflect on."

However, it has not all been plain sailing, with the hiker facing the added difficulty of a self-confessed fear of heights.

"I am usually ok on most mountains as they don't have a sheer drop," he explained.

"But there are 12 Munros on Skye - 11 on the Cuillin ridge - there is one called the 'Inaccessible Pinnacle', you have to rock climb with ropes to get up.

"It was quite challenging but I did it - it was pretty intimidating.

"The more I did over time the more confidence I got."

Not only did Ross have to grapple to reach the summit, the only one in Scotland which must be ascended by rock climbing, of Sgùrr Dearg, which is topped by a 50 metre long fin of stone, but he also had to abseil his way back down.

"The feeling when I abseiled off it was amazing - one of those times where you feel like you have proved yourself wrong," he added.

"When you are walking back off and drop you have to convince yourself it is going to be ok.

"One of the biggest things is that sense of achievement - you have a simple objective, to get to the top.

"You actually feel like you have achieved something."

Ross documents his journey through a blog on his website, Mountains Mend Minds, which also includes entries from other hikers and contributors.

He is now looking forward to taking on some of Scotland's highest pinnacles for the second time, while also looking to challenge himself to others around the world.