Dodgy phone signal, extortionate postage costs, dial-up broadband and some of the most breathtaking views in the world.

That's part of the reality of life for thousands of Scots living on some of the country's 790 islands.

Now, for the first time, researchers are hoping to get to the heart of what islanders need to survive and thrive, and make many of Scotland's 90 inhabited islands more attractive places to live.

It comes after the Scottish Government became only the second in the world to introduce island-specific legislation, with the Islands (Scotland) Act passing in October 2018.

More than 60 events are planned to be held across 47 islands in the next four months, with proposals being presented to the government in October on how to improve life for island communities and boost their economy.

Dr Francesco Sindico, the co-director of the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance is leading the research and has been surprised by the number of unique challenges facing individual islands.

He said: "Every single island is different. this is an incredibly strong point that is coming out of our work so far.

"People may think you can just bundle, for example, all the Orkney islands together. We have been to three of them now and each one has its own identity, its own challenges.

"You have the craziest stories - on one island if you are in the village you could have amazing digital connectivity, but if you are behind the bay the connectivity doesn't reach and you go back 30 years with a dial-up connection.

"If you are a school pupil, you have to wake up at two in the morning to download something you need to study.

"Imagine the difference between kids in Glasgow and Edinburgh, you just click on a button and download something instantly - but if you live in this remote village on an island, you have to wake up at 1 or 2 and hope that by the time you go to school its downloaded.

"There are so many others. Housing and tourism has come up very strongly in the meetings, in some parts of Scotland more than others - Colonsay, in the Inner Hebrides, for example where 60% of the housing stock is second homes.

"It really makes it incredibly difficult for anyone who wants to live there or return there to find affordable housing.

"It is the same as the Air bnb phenomenon in Barcelona, in Edinburgh, in so many places around the world, but the thing is if you live in Edinburgh and there's no affordable housing, you can go a bit further out and find something.

"It's not ideal, you will have to comute, but there are options.

"On an island you literally slip in the water, there is nowhere else for you to go."

For islanders, small changes or improvements in just one area can have a "ripple" effect, according to Dr Sindico, which could dramatically improve people's quality of life and potentially encourage more people to move to islands.

He explained: "These communities are relying on so many different things and that has to come together...a few things can have a ripple effect.

"By that I mean if you start improving something like housing, digital connectivity and transport, it could be that more people will want to live there.

"That potentially will lead to further economic development, it can have a huge impact on health and wellbeing."

The Scottish Islands Federation (SIF) are helping organise the consultations, and say they will be monitoring the outcome of proposals and how they're delivered by the government.

A spokeswoman said: "From North Ronaldsay to Cumbrae, from Barra to Ulva, from the largest to smallest islands, the consultation will cover 47 of our islands, home to 95% of Scotland’s island population.

"Preparing the Islands Plan, Ministers have a duty to consult not only with local authorities, but also members of island communities.

"This information will provide a starting point for setting the Ministers’ objectives and strategy for the 5 year life of the Plan. Scottish Ministers must prepare a report on the extent to which the outcomes identified in the Plan have improved each year for all our island communities.

"SIF and its island members will be looking closely at how improvements have been delivered and the steps the Ministers will take to improve outcomes in the next year."

Islands Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The passage of the first ever Act of Parliament aimed specifically at addressing islanders’ needs and recognising the very positive contributions made to Scotland by our islands marked an historic milestone for Scotland’s island communities. This included providing formal recognition of our islands’ unique characteristics and challenges, and tailoring policy to support our islands effectively.

“Now we are asking islands residents, those who have an interest in islands, such as those who have been forced to move away from their island communities, and other stakeholders what their concerns are, and where we should be focussing resources in future to help our islands, and all who live on them, to flourish.

“This is a great opportunity for us to develop a strategic direction for the Scottish Government and the wider public sector to optimise support to island communities, taking into account factors like ageing populations and out-migration, public service provision, biodiversity and enhancing skillsets. Of course, it’s also about working closely with local authorities and partner agencies to find and build on the undoubted positives associated with island life. We also want to learn lessons from policy successes that have been achieved across island communities.

“I sincerely hope that this consultation helps to promote the voices of Scotland’s islanders, to harness their talents and island resources, and provide the best future for these important communities that in so many ways constitute the best of Scotland.”