The owners of one of Scotland’s largest publishing houses have donated tens of thousands of pounds to the campaign funds of two Scottish MPs.

Money from Iain Macneil and Kat Heathcote has gone to the SNP’s Drew Hendry in Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey and to Angus MacNeil, the former SNP MP standing as an independent in Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

The couple are the owners of the Witherby Group, which includes a number of businesses including the Witherby Publishing Group, which specialises in operational guidance and technical standards for the shipping industry.

The most recent accounts filed with Companies House show that it had a turnover of £12.9m in 2023.

The donations were noted on the latest update to Parliament’s register of interests.

Mr Hendry received £10,000 while Mr MacNeil was given £20,000.

The donation to Mr Hendry means the couple is one of the cash-strapped SNP’s biggest living donors.

However, their donation to Mr MacNeil means they are also backing the campaign of a candidate standing against the SNP in what looks set to be a closely fought three-way battle.

READ MORE: Angus MacNeil will stand as an independent in Na h-Eileanan Siar

Mr MacNeill, who has represented the constituency since taking it from Labour in 2005, was ejected from the SNP last August after he refused to retake the whip following a one-week suspension from the party’s Westminster group.

Susan Thomson, currently a councillor for Uibhist A Deas, Eirisgeigh Agus Beinn Na Faoghla, has been selected to run in the seat for Humza Yousaf’s party.

Labour is confident they can take the seat back and have selected Torcuil Crichton, a former Daily Record journalist, to contest the constituency.

Mr MacNeil - who was at school on Barra with Mr Macneil - told The Herald on Sunday the donation would help “level the playing field” between his campaign and the well-funded, organised campaigns of the big parties.

“I'm quite pleased about that. It was certainly, a surprise.

"When he got in touch with me and said that he wanted to donate because he wanted to give serious money to a serious candidate for a serious campaign, or some words to that effect, I didn't in my wildest dreams, expect it to be that sort of amount.

“Obviously, very happy, very grateful because I think it now puts me on a level playing field with the big parties and hopefully helps me continue to go on with the election and carry on representing Na h-Eileanan an Iar.”

Mr MacNeil added: “Some people might think I'm the underdog against the organised parties but people warm to the underdogs.”

READ MORE: Specialist publisher weathers the storm of shipping industry to swell annual sales to £10m

In 2022, Mr Macneil, a former merchant navy seaman, set a world record after he circumnavigated the globe via both southern capes in a converted Swedish search-and-rescue vessel.

The journey of about 27,000 nautical miles took just over five months and started and finished in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote.

Mr MacNeil tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons recognising the achievement.

Ms Heathcote is well known in music circles and serves as a director of the RSNO and St Mary’s Music School.

She was also involved in the pro-independence Business for Scotland group in the run up to the 2014 referendum.

The SNP is facing a cash crisis at the moment, with Electoral Commission records released earlier this year showing the central party receiving just one major donation from a living individual in 2023.

The party received £5,000 from Hugh Harkins, and received bequests worth £246,000 and £4,000 respectively from the estates of two late supporters, Estelle Brownrig and James Murdoch.

The donation to Mr Hendry is recorded on his register of interests as specifically being for his election fund rather than to the SNP.

Under Electoral Commission rules all donations of more than £500 need to be declared.

Mr Macneil, Ms Heathcote and Mr Hendry were all approached for comment.