A great-grandmother of four has raised more than £420,000 for NHS charities in a mammoth challenge to reach the height of a Highland mountain on her stairs.

Margaret Payne, 90, set out on Easter Sunday to pay thanks to heroes in the NHS who helped care for her late husband before his death last year. Her task was no easy feat, as she set her sights on Suilven, a 2389 feet mountain near Lochinver.

But with two knee replacements and a lockdown in place, Margaret knew her challenge had to be close to home.

The pensioner of Ardvar, Assynt in Sutherland, calculated that climbing the 17 steps of her home staircase represents just over eight feet, and would take almost 300 trips to reach her goal.

And now, ten weeks and 282 flights of stairs later, Margaret is due to complete her climb today.

READ MORE: Highland woman, 90, climbing height of 2,398ft mountain on her stairs in NHS fundraising bid

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” she told The Herald. “Surprisingly, it’s been absolutely fine.

“There are some bad days, it can be tiring, but I feel physically fitter.

“Ten weeks is a really long time, and I’m certainly quite excited that we’re reaching the end.”

The funds raised are to be shared with Highland Hospice, NHS Highland and the RNLI, who helped care for her late husband before he passed away at Christmas last year.

Her inspiration for the challenge came from the journey of 100-year-old veteran Captain Tom Moore, who last month made headlines for raising millions for charity by walking the length of his garden 100 times.

Margaret joked that she could be his ‘competition north of the border’ – and has been dubbed ‘Scotland’s Captain Moore’ by some.

On Monday, her fundraising efforts had surpassed £420,000, marking 3663% of her initial £10,000 goal.

“I’m so humbled by every single donation,” she said. “I never dreamt of reaching anything like this. A lot of the donations have been small numbers, and they are just wonderful. If it hadn’t been for all of these people, we would never have got to where we are today.”

On one occasion, Margaret recalled that a donation of £2 was all that the donor had to spare. “It’s very, very humbling,” she said.

It is not the first time Margaret has ‘climbed’ Suilven. She physically reached the summit in 1944 when she was just 15 after being evacuated to Lochinver during World War II.

And now, her remote efforts have been recognised on a national scale, winning praise from actresses, athletes - and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

READ MORE: Margaret Payne, 90, on 'mountain climbing' challenge for NHS smashes £10,000 target in just five days

He said: “Congratulations to Margaret Payne on her astonishing achievement of climbing the stairs in her home to the height of Suilven mountain.

“At the age of 90 and with artificial knees, this has been no mean feat and she has raised a fantastic amount of money for good causes.”

On Sunday, renowned actress Geraldine James OBE got in touch with the pensioner, and said: “Dear Margaret - How incredible you are to use this time of Lock Down to such great effect. I am so impressed to hear of your climb of Suilven in Stairs!

“You are an inspiration to us all and I send you huge Congratulations; Huzzahs and Much Love”

The Duke of Rothesay Prince Charles previously penned a letter to the great-granny about her ‘magnificent’ efforts.

He wrote: "There could hardly be a better example of this indomitable spirit than your own magnificent efforts in raising money for vital charities.

“It is people like yourself who show that, for every hardship there has been a hero – or, of course, a heroine... The marvellous community spirit, for which Scotland is so renowned, has never been so much in evidence as people across our society have gone the extra mile, have put others first and have sacrificed their own comfort for the common good.

“So, in great admiration of your incredible efforts, my wife and I send you our warmest congratulations on your splendid achievement!"

Margaret’s daughter Nicky McArthur has been living in their Sutherland home after lockdown restrictions meant she could not return to New Zealand, where she lives.

“I’m so proud of her, and just so pleased that she’s achieved this," she said. “It’ll be nice when it’s all over!”