A remote Highland community is hoping to buy its lifeline local shop, post office and filling station after its owner was hit by ill health.
The Ferry Stores at Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula is the only shop for 20 miles and the nearest fuel is nearly 30 miles away.
It provides a vital service to locals and the many tourists that visit the picturesque area of Lochaber each year.
And Jonathan Ball, who owns the shop, always planned to sell it to the community when he retired in a few years time.
However, he was taken ill and is unable to return to the store.
Last month, he sent a message to the local community in which he said: “Large brain tumour removed, getting better slowly.
“I live in this most magical part of the world, doing a job I love, running the shop and post office that I love.
“My wife Susanne visits nearly every day although she hates travelling.
“My two sisters and two brothers and their families have given me support above their line of duty, without which things would look very different.”
He also thanked everyone for their prayers and support.
West Ardnamurchan Community Council chairman Geoffrey Campbell read out a statement that had been agreed with Mr Ball’s family at the recent community council meeting.
It said: “Jonathan has made it clear that he wishes to put the community first when deciding the future of the shop and the family wishes to support the community and keep the shop open.
“To this end they are managing the shop in Jonathan’s absence. However, this is not a long-term option.”
And it asked for suggestions on how to take the shop forward in the best interests of the community.
West Ardnamurchan Community Development Company (WACDC) chairman Jon Haylett said: “WACDC, of which Jonathan is a director, has been preparing itself to exercise the community’s right-to-buy under current Scottish legislation.
“The company has now reached the point, in a very lengthy process, of having to go out to the community to ask for its support in moving to the next stage.
“This will be followed later by another community vote, which will require much stronger community support.”
Initially, the company needs to prove that at least 10% of voters in the West Ardnamurchan area support the move to “register an interest” in buying the shop.
Mr Haylett added that they would soon be launching a petition to gauge local support.