A historic pier on Mull could become the site of a new water sports centre and offer a major boost to the island’s tourism sector.
The Aros Pier was constructed at the north-eastern end of the island in the mid-1800s and has served many purposes.
It was originally used to transport wood to and from the now-defunct sawmill and in more recent times to serve a nearby fish farm.
Now, however, Tobermory Harbour Association hopes to make it a key part of Mull’s future by using it to “connect Tobermory back to Aros via the water”.
It is seeking an architect to come on board to help shape the vision for water sports facilities and a centre from where walks could begin.
The growing tourism opportunities offered by cruise liners is another reason for the project, but the association is determined it also offer great benefits to locals.
It is expected to be completed in stages over between five and seven years and cost a “six-figure sum”.
Jenny Hampson, project officer at Tobermory Harbour Association, said: “We are really excited. The potential is huge.
“Although an aspect of the plan is to attract tourism, a large part of this is increasing the accessibility of the site for all, including locals, and we really are seeking to connect Tobermory back to Aros via the water.
“We are at a really exciting stage as the project can go in so many different ways.”
The harbour association plans to renovate the former sawmill and lade as well as the old boathouse alongside the pier. All are currently in a state of disrepair.
Older natives have said the area was once a hub of activity as exports from the water-powered sawmill and arrival of steam ships brought a flurry of activity to Aros.
Miss Hampson added: “The pier is not protected, which may seem quite unusual, but it is our intention to restore it to as close as its original state as we can.
“Safety is our biggest concern and with the size and height of it above sea level it is not really in the best place for passenger transfer.
“Our plan, however, is to install a pontoon where water sports can be run from, with a view to moving towards passenger transfer at a later date.
“We are aiming to have the design and engineering assessments completed by the end of March and have the project spade-ready by the end of this year.”