A new restaurant opening at the end of the year on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis is set to create at least six new jobs.
Construction of the Uig Sands Restaurant is well under way and is being developed by owners of Uig Lodge in Timsgarry, Dickon and Elly Green.
The project has secured £175,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and £125,000 from EU LEADER towards the £650,000 project.
Located 500m from Uig Lodge, the new restaurant will have dramatic views across Uig Sands.
Uig Lodge was originally built 1876 by Sir James Matheson before being passed to Lord Leverhulme who then gave it to his niece as a wedding present.
Other than a short spell as a hotel, Uig Lodge has remained a private house and has been owned by the Green family since 1981. It is now let out for fishing parties and family holidays all year round as well as being run as a B&B business.
Dickon and Elly moved to Uig seven years ago and have seen a big increase in the number of visitors to local attractions in Uig such as the Uig Museum and café, Abhainn Dearg Distillery, Gallan Head, marine activities and numerous beaches. It is estimated that 20,000 people now visit Uig each year.
The couple saw that there was an opportunity to develop a restaurant to complement local businesses and create another service for both islanders and visitors, as well as to provide further employment opportunities in Uig.
Uig Lodge also produces the award-winning Uig Lodge Smoked Salmon which can be bought locally. In 2014 the company was awarded Speciality Producer of the Year at the Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Awards. It was announced this month (October) that it received another award for ‘UK’s Best Fish and Seafood Product’ in the Great British Food Awards.
The Uig Sands Restaurant is due to be completed in around six weeks, with a soft opening planned prior to Christmas. Seumas Macdonald has been appointed as head chef and other staff will be recruited over the next few months.
Dickon said: “HIE and LEADER have been very supportive of our initiative and we are very grateful to them. We believe that tourism across the Hebrides will continue to grow in the years ahead and this development further adds to the services available in the area. We’ll be using locally sourced food and drink such as fresh seafood, lamb, venison and cheese.”
The restaurant will be family focused and will provide a relaxed environment for visitors and local residents.
John Macdonald, account manager at HIE, said: “This is a very exciting development for Uig which we have been delighted to support. Dickon and Elly have worked hard to grow the business and have built up a strong reputation for its smoked salmon products.
"The restaurant will be located in a spectacular place overlooking Uig Bay and will complement other local businesses, use local food and drink and cater for the increasing number of visitors in the area as well as boosting job opportunities in a rural area."
Councillor Donald Crichton, Chairman of Sustainable Development and the Comhairle representative on the Local Action Group (LAG), added: “It is very pleasing for the LEADER LAG to see this excellent development so near to completion.
"Uig Sands Restaurant attracted the maximum £125,000 financial intervention which the Outer Hebrides LEADER Programme can grant to any project.
"We also congratulate Dickon and Elly on the prestigious award received recently for their locally smoked salmon”.