Allan Kennedy, who milks 140 head at Largie Vrechtan, is one of the Bute producers hanging on in there.

Said Allan, 43: "I have resigned from First Milk, but I am convinced dairying will survive on the island. We are currently involved in discussions with a couple of buyers which hopefully will bear fruit.

“Yes, it has been a dark few years. And yes, closing the creamery was bad news. It was unfortunate the Marquis of Bute donated the creamery site to Scottish Milk, as it was known then, and not to the farmers. If that hadn’t been done, First Milk would not have had a site to sell," suggested Mr Kennedy.

"Securing a future for dairy farms on Bute is up to the Bute Estate, and they have acknowledged that," he said. "It's been a number of years since the last tenant farmer came onto the island, which I think is a shame because farming as a whole on Bute needs new blood. But here is still a lot of young blood involved in dairying. A lot of us are in our late 30s and 40s. Bute has probably one of the youngest milk fields in the country.

"It is important that dairying has a future on Bute because a lot depends on it – the hauliers, those supplying cake etc. It can survive!