It is a small community off the beaten track and is 50-mile round trip away from the nearest town.

Now an island’s villagers have bought their local store in a bid to avoid a long round trip to get groceries.

The shop at Carbost, in Minginish, Skye, was at risk of closing for good, after the previous owner struggled to find a buyer so she could retire.

But it has now been bought up by islanders, with the shop employing four locals and upping its stock to include cheese, fresh meat and local gin.

Residents feared the closure of the shop which would leave them facing a 50-mile round trip to Portree for supplies – amid high fuel prices and winter weather.

David Smith, a volunteer director at Carbost Community Shop Company, said: “If the shop had gone, it would have had a real impact on those living in Minginish.

“If you lived at Fiskavaig, which is around five miles from Carbost, you would have been looking at a 50-mile round trip to Portree and even further to Broadford.

“If it had closed down, it would have been very difficult.

“There was so much interest in the shop staying open.

“It’s a focal point for the community, it’s not just about shopping.”

The community shop paid £140,000 for the premises, with money for the purchase secured from the Scottish Land Fund, which also covered some refurbishments.

The building – an “old tin shack” – now has a distinctive new red iron roof, with toilets and heating.

Along with the four part-time staff, a handful of locals come in to help out and stack shelves, with work experience on offer to teenagers.

Mr Smith said: “Our staff are well known in the community and trusted by everyone.

“They get a sense of what people need from the store.

“Before, the shop didn’t stock fresh meat, but now we get two deliveries a week from Lochalsh Butchers at Kyle and people can phone us up to put an order in.

“We have got more products from Skye on the shelf and a lot more different cheeses.

“There’s a new distillery in Broadford and we are stocking their gin.”

Mr Smith, who is a retired health leadership consultant, is one of three volunteer directors who all give up their spare time for free.

He said the shop was constantly reviewing prices and comparing them to the Co-op in Portree. He added: “Our main competition is people who work in Portree and do their shopping there.

“Another competitor is the Tesco deliveries to the island, but these slots are few and far between, and not everyone has the internet.

“It would be nice to be cheaper than the Co-op, but in the winter, the shop trade does go down a little and we don’t take as much. We do need that benefit to keep us right.”