An island is on the verge of crisis as it rapidly runs out of plots in which to bury its dead.
Many of the graveyards on Mull are either full or nearly full – forcing Argyll and Bute Council to place a ban on people buying lairs in certain cemeteries in preparation for their death.
Families can only purchase lairs once a loved one has died.
Tobermory-based councillor Mary Jean Devon said she has been raising the issue with officers for “the best part of a year and a half”.
Councillor Devon said: “When people get older they want to buy a lair in their home place. The council has stopped selling lairs in certain cemeteries in Tobermory, Calgary, Pennyghael and Salen. As far as I know Fionnphort is full.
“The old cemetery in Tobermory in the upper village is full and the undertaker tells me there are only nine spaces left at the new one at Beadoun.
“I met people in Salen last week who can’t buy a plot after being born and brought up there.
“I’m frustrated because I have been bringing it to the council for the best part of a year-and-a-half.
“I find it quite sad that people who have lived here all their lives might not be able to be buried here and their grandchildren can’t go for a walk and put flowers on their graves.”
Billy McClymont, owner of Mull Funeral Services, who is also chairman of Mull Community Council, said: “In Tobermory they are down to nine lairs. It is a problem. There is a moratorium on buying them. Your family can only buy one for you once you are dead. The reason is because they are running out.
“Really the only cemetery on Mull with a reasonable amount of space left is Kilpatrick at Duart.
“We are talking about there only being between 10 and 30 graves left on the whole of the island.
“The main cemetery in Tobermory only has nine lairs left. That is for a town with a population of around 800 and around 60% of the population is over 65.
“Calgary cemetery has been full for a number of years.
“If you are living in a community you want to be buried there, you don’t want to be buried 30 miles down the road away from your family.
“People are running out of options.”
The nearest crematorium is in Cardross near Helensburgh, 105 miles away on the mainland.
Councillor Roddy McCuish, Policy Lead for Roads and Amenity Services, told Councillor Devon: “I will follow this up as a matter of priority. Some are full and some are almost full. We have to do this with the utmost respect.”
A spokesman for the council said: “A feasibility study is currently underway to establish how an expansion of the cemetery at Beadoun near Tobermory could be carried out. The process is in the early stages and any expansion would depend on capital funds being available.”