A petrol station in the Highlands is to re-open in days after being closed since April, forcing drivers to make long detours for fuel.

The owners of Johnston Bros Filling Station, which is located just 100 yards from Mallaig ferry terminal, posted a notice in April advising that it had temporarily ceased trading due to the collapse of an underground tank.

The situation has left residents 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.

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 and subject to availability. 

With winter approaching, residents appealed to politicians for help to resolve the problem including Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.

Her office shared an update today from Sam Mawhinney, managing director of Denholm Fishselling Limited, which owns and operates the fuelling system.

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He said "considerable progress" had been made and the petrol station is expected to open 'within two weeks'.

He said: "As planned, groundworks commenced on 30th October and the above-ground fuel storage tanks were delivered on 15th November.

"This week, the tanker stand area will be constructed, electrical and cabling works will take place and the fuel pumps will be installed. 

"The following week, fuel will be delivered and final testing and commissioning of the fuel station will take place, before re-opening.

"Our on-site contractor continues to overcome any short-term obstacles presented by the recent extreme cold weather conditions and, while there is a risk that re-opening may be delayed by a couple of days, we are confident that the fuel station will re-open in mid-December."

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He said he recognised the impact that the closure had had on the community,  given the current cold snap but the decision was informed by "critical health, safety and environmental considerations."

Kate Forbes MSP said: “Though I do not underestimate the impact the past months have had on constituents, particularly given that Mallaig is an incredibly busy tourist hotspot as well as commercial port, I am pleased that repairs have been expedited and the station will reopen with a full fuel service later this month.

“Given that a previous update said repairs would not be complete until the first quarter of 2024, this is very welcome news and my thanks to all who helped speed the process up.”