Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 11:09 UK

Villagers look to take over pumps

Bealach na Ba - the road to Applecross (Pic: Iain MacDonald)
Bealach na Ba - the road to Applecross - which translates as pass of the cattle

Residents in a small west Highland village are hoping to saving their local petrol station by setting up a community company to run it.

The operator at Applecross station wants to give up the lease, meaning residents face a 20-mile trip to Locharron for fuel.

Locals recently had to come to the aid of some French tourists who became stranded after running out of petrol.

The new station company would run as a limited liability operation.

Alison MacLeod, who chairs the venture, said the company had 107 members, while the population of Applecross was about 200.

Camper vans

She said: "It's been a long drawn out process from even just getting the community company incorporated.

"It has taken from the initial discussions in November until May before it was actually formed."

But she added: "Clearly, there is a lot of support for keeping the filling station open if we can."

Community council chairman Murdo Finlayson said the village needed the fuel supply - especially in winter when the road to Applecross could be blocked by snow.

The road - Bealach na Ba, which translates as pass of the cattle - zig zags up a mountain to emerge on the coast at the village.

Mr Finlayson said: "There are also safety issues, because people start storing petrol in sheds and it is important for the tourists as well.

"We're in a situation where we don't have petrol at the moment."

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