Residents in a Scots fishing port have been forced to make a 85-mile round trip for petrol or rely on other locals for help while a local filling station undergoes repairs.

The petrol and diesel pumps at Johnston Bros Filling Station in Mallaig went down almost two weeks ago due to a problem with its underground pipes, which now need to be replaced by a specialist.

Locals with vehicles that take diesel have been able to get it around three miles away in Morar, but only from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm subject to availability. 

The situation has left residents in Mallaig with no choice but to drive the more than 40-mile distance along the A830 to Fort William to fill their cars - a round trip of around two hours.

Bosses at the filling station, which is located just 100 yards from Mallaig ferry terminal, posted a notice on April 25 advising that they had temporarily ceased trading due to the problem.

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The notice read: “Due to the failure of part of the underground infrastructure and to comply with our operating licence, we have ceased trading until repair works are carried out”.

Bosses also warned that the closure could last some time, adding: “This is a major undertaking and may take several weeks.”

Shortly after the closure, Mallaig Harbour Authority, which is responsible for the harbour and yachting marina in Mallaig, confirmed that marine diesel was still available for workboats, although the owners of smaller boats - who would normally take petrol in cans from the station - were advised to make alternative arrangements.

The closure has prompted the owners of Armadale Stores on Skye to remind locals that they expect to be "busier than usual" as ferry passengers fill up their vehicles, advising those who may be getting low on fuel to up "while they can". 

Meanwhile, Traffic Scotland has also issued a number of reminders in the past few days to motorists travelling on the A830 to ensure they have adequate fuel at Fort William. 

HeraldScotland: Drivers are being warned to fill their cars in Fort WilliamDrivers are being warned to fill their cars in Fort William (Image: Drone footage)

Known as ‘The Road to the Isles’, the A830 is regarded as one of the most scenic driving routes in Scotland.

As well as being a popular tourist route, the A830 is also a lifeline route from Fort William to the port and community of Mallaig, the Small Isles and much of Morar, with the economy of the West Highlands, including Skye and the Western Isles, depending on the road for access to the south.

Concerns have also been raised over the impact the closure of the filling station is causing to tourists - many of whom may arrive in the area unaware of the lack of fuel supplies.

Camusdarach Campsite, located around 11 miles from Mallaig in Arisaig, issued a warning to guests via social media of for them to fill their cars in Fort William if they are heading to the campsite.

The post read: “The petrol and diesel pumps at Mallaig fuel station are down. No petrol available this side of Fort William for up to 3 weeks. If you’re heading this way, do fill up in Fort William.”

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Road to the Isles Marketing Group, which promotes the area as a destination of choice for visitors to the Highlands & Islands, also took to social media to advise guests to plan ahead and fill-up in Fort William/Skye before travelling to the Road to the Isles area.

The group added that “emergency breakdown recovery will apply 24/7”.

Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, has called for an “early resolution” to the fuel problem and said it is “not acceptable” that residents in Mallaig are having to travel so far to fill their vehicles.

He told The Herald: "There needs to be an early resolution to this. It is not acceptable that those that live in the Mallaig area have such a distance to travel to obtain fuel adding costs during a cost of living crisis. 

“It does of course also impact tourists who can arrive in the area perhaps being unaware of the lack of fuel supplies."

HeraldScotland: Ian Blackford MPIan Blackford MP

Scotland’s national tourist body, VisitScotland, has also expressed its concern over the potential impact the fuel situation is having on local tourism.

A VisitScotland spokesperson told The Herald: “As Scotland’s national tourism organisation, we are concerned with anything that impacts the visitor experience and wider tourism industry.

“Where we are made aware of such issues, we will work with local tourism representatives to support businesses and ensure visitors know to plan ahead.”