A Seafood-Fuelled Guide To The Isle Of Lewis With Restaurateurs Dickon And Elly Green

A Seafood-Fuelled Guide To The Isle Of Lewis With Restaurateurs Dickon And Elly Green

Discover the dramatically beautiful island one bowl of Hebridean seafood chowder or moules marinière at a time, with tips on where to eat, drink and stay from the couple behind restaurant-with-rooms Uig Sands

people open their curtains to a view as spectacular as the
one that greets Dickon and Elly Green each morning – a shimmering,
shape-shifting sweep of the Atlantic that so inspired author Arthur
Ransome on visits to the Isle of Lewis in 1945 and 1946 that he
made it the setting for the final book in his Swallows and Amazons
series. His accommodation? Uig Lodge, a windswept, whitewashed, gabled
house built in 1876 by the island’s then-owner Sir James Matheson,
which, since 1981, the Green family has been renting out to parties
looking for a remote, home-from-home Hebridean hideaway. The lodge also has its own
smokehouse, which hand-produces award-winning smoked salmon
destined for shops, hotels and a raft of Michelin-starred kitchens
across the UK. In 2019, the couple – who have four children,
Arthur, twins Kitty and Marsaili and baby Wilbur – opened a
contemporary 40-seater restaurant, Uig Sands. Designed by the
Glasgow-based Dualchas Architects, it offers a hyperlocal seasonal
menu and, thanks to its beach-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows,
front-row seats to the famously fiery local sunsets. Four luxury
on-site apartments are new for 2023.

Dickson and Elly

Uig Lodge, left, and Dickon and Elly Green.

The largest island of the Outer Hebrides, Lewis is home to an
ancient culture – as evidenced by its stone circles and the ending
of “bost” on place names, a throwback to its Viking past – but its
tight-knit community is not afraid to embrace change, with the
likes of monkfish souvlaki, Indonesian coffee and experimental
cocktails increasingly cropping up on menus alongside traditional
stalwarts such as venison and whisky. Dickon and Elly tell us where
to go to taste the best of it.

A gastronomic tour of the Isle of Lewis

When’s the best time to visit the island?

April, May, June and September are our favourite months. The
days are long and usually dry and the beaches at their most

Where should we stay?

We’ve just completed four rooms overlooking Uig Sands beach and the bay,
a stone’s throw from the restaurant. Each is en-suite and has a
small kitchen, super-king bed, underfloor heating, freestanding
bath, log burner and private outdoor patio with seating. If it’s a
big multi-gen trip you’re planning, we have Uig Lodge, which
sleeps up to 17 and is let exclusively on a self-catering basis.
During certain weeks, the services of a ghillie and fishing are
included in the rent.

Uig Sands beach | Photo credit: Paolo Chiabrando (left) and
Mark Dickson (right)

Must-try local dishes/delicacies?

Hand-dived scallops; local mussels; Uig Sands’ Hebridean seafood

Where should we head to get a feel for island life?

Uig, of course, but then we’re biased. You could also take a
drive to the red-brick lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis, the
island’s northernmost point; have lunch at The
restaurant in Port of Ness; follow the Harris Tweed
, making stops at weavers and shops along the way to learn
the history of the unique Scottish cloth; and take a walk through
the grounds of the Victorian-era Lews Castle,
which is home to a great new museum, too.

Describe a perfect Lewis day

Start with an early walk and a swim in the sea – it’s very cold
but it certainly wakes you up – then pack a picnic lunch and go to
one of the many beautiful beaches on the island. In the afternoon,
hike up a hill if feeling energetic or, if not, laze by a loch –
there are loads to choose from.

The Harris Tweed Trail | Photo Credit: Lewis Mackenzie

It’s Saturday night on Lewis… Where should we head?

Head to Stornoway and, if in the mood for seafood, to Harbour Kitchen or The Boatshed Restaurant, or for burgers, pizza,
monkfish souvlaki, plus a big range of kombucha, craft beers and
cocktails, to The Fank.

Where should we go for a long, lazy brunch?

Grab a seat in Stornoway’s Artizan, an art gallery, gift shop and coffee house
with tables made from reclaimed wood and a legendary ginger and
rhubarb cake, or, also in town, The
Hub Café
, where the breakfast menu has Scottish favourites like
tattie [potato] scones, Lorne sausage, black pudding and haggis
alongside plant-based dishes and gluten-free bread.

What about coffee on Monday morning?

Kopi Java in Stornoway. It’s run by
husband-and-wife William and Alana Poernomo. William’s from Java
and they serve their own special blend of coffee, or “kopi”, as
it’s known in Indonesia. Or the Woodlands Centre Café, in the grounds of Lews

What about for a romantic dinner?

Definitely Uig Sands for this one. I’d start with the Hebridean
seafood chowder, served with sourdough and seaweed butter, then the
hand-dived local scallops with celeriac, broccoli and toasted
almond main. Our coconut and lime “doughnuts” with caramelised
pineapple, coconut sorbet and popcorn will round things off nicely.
The glorious views over Uig Sands are the icing on the cake.

What are some of your favourite independent shops?

, which was set up in 1958 to supply the island’s
smallholders with animal feed, fertilisers and pretty much anything
else they might need, and today sells everything from cookware to
cosy socks; The Fisherman’s Cooperative (King Edward’s Wharf,
Stornoway), for fishing, sailing and watersports equipment; and the
Improvement Centre
, for everything from power tools to craft

Tell us about a secret spot only locals know about?

The secret cave in Uig!

One thing we shouldn’t miss while we’re on the island?

The Calanais Standing Stones, an incredible
cross-shaped arrangement of stones that dates back to Neolithic
times and that was used for ritual practice for at least 2,000
years – and, more recently, as a location for the TV series Call
the Midwife. There’s a visitor centre, exhibition, shop and café,
which sells homemade cakes and biscuits.

Suggestions for day trips?

Take a drive down to Harris, with stops en route at beautiful
beaches such as Luskentyre, Huisinis and Horgabost. Visit the
medieval St Clement’s church at Rodel and drive back along the
Golden Road, which was built in the years after the Second World
War as a safety measure, following many accidents involving people
wading across rivers to get home.

Finally, any special local souvenirs we should take home?

Uig Chessmen, which you can get from Uig Museum – replicas
of the Viking chess set discovered here in 1831, made in the 12th
century in Norway from the husks of walrus teeth. Also, some Harris
Tweed and Harris Gin – the bottles are so beautiful, it’s worth
taking one home, even when empty.

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