There are few better places on the planet to eat fish and chips than on South Uist, sat by still, peaty waters and backlit by a setting sun. But whether it’s a classic fish supper or immaculately presented cuisine, the Outer Hebrides Food Trail will surprise and satisfy all tastes. There’s only room here to serve up an amuse bouche from North Uist southwards – but it’s always good to have an excuse to return.
Our trail starts a 15-minute drive from the ferry port of Lochmaddy. Close to the junction of the A867 and A865 at Clachan stands the Hebridean Smokery. Don’t be deterred by the unpromising exterior – resembling a corrugated air-raid shelter – the tiny shop sells native strains of peat-smoked salmon, along with gravlax, trout and scallops.
Keep going up the A865 to reach the Claddach Kirkibost Community Centre and its fantastic Hebridean Kitchen café. Ask for a doorstep sandwich filled with flaky salmon the size of a ham joint and admire the outstanding local artwork on display.
Further south, a right turn (signposted for Benbecula’s hospital) takes you to MacLeans butcher and bakery, run by two brothers
who make sausages with a dash of Irn-Bru, as well as venison burgers and some truly more-ish oatcakes.
Usually, a post office is for buying stamps, but in Lochboisdale you can also order one of the best ice-cream sundaes this side of the 1950s, thanks to an enterprising postmistress, who has imaginatively deployed a rural diversification grant. The icing, so to speak, on this Hebridean gateau is her homemade
ice-cream and superb coffee.
To the beach
Back on the A865, take the B888 south to the Burnside Chip Shop, cheek by jowl with some flyblown petrol pumps. Keep the delicious fish wrapped up and head south to one of the many beaches or lochs to munch away with a view.
The journey concludes
at the Am Politician on Eriskay, a pub that, despite being very modern on the eye, deploys a siren-like appeal upon devotees
of Whisky Galore! This 1948 classic film recalled the sinking of the SS Politician and the thousands of whisky bottles that washed up on the beach. The grub’s fine, but you’ve really come for the views across the Sound of Barra, to goggle at an original bottle that escaped the eagle-eyed customs officers, and even sample a tipple yourself.
HOW TO GET THERE
Caledonian MacBrayne ferries (www.calmac.co.uk)
run from Uig, Skye, to Lochmaddy, North Uist,
and from Oban to Lochboisdale, South Uist. Flybe (www.flybe.com) connects Glasgow-Benbecula.
FIND OUT MORE
Claddach Kirkibost Community Centre,
North Uist HS6 5EP
Lochboisdale Coffee Shop
Kenneth Drive, Lochboisdale, South Uist HS8 5TJ
Loch Eport, North Uist
Luxury accommodation on North Uist.