Dickon and Elly Green, Uig Lodge
In 1981, Dickon Green’s father and uncle lived in Worcester but were looking for a fishing place in Scotland. They found Uig Lodge, set in a stunning location on the Isle of Lewis and fell in love with the place. Dickon’s grandfather on his mother’s side was smoking fish in Ireland and he suggested they put in a smokery at the lodge. Guests staying would have their fish frozen and then sent to them at Christmas, smoked. They expanded a bit in the 1990s , dickon’s mum was building up sales but it was still a small business, lots of world of mouth. Dickon got involved after he left uni. “Dad’s friends always told him the smoked salmon was so good he should build up the smokery. So I came up here, learned to do the process and then I went back to England building up the mail order list, first by sending it out to family and friends. He was marketing it to hotels and restaurants travelling the width and breadth of the country to build sales. They were doing an amazing 50% of their turnover in 6 weeks of the year. He was building quickly and then in 12 years ago Dickon married Elly and they moved up to Uig. They took on the running of the lodge and holiday accommodation business and the smokery.
It’s quite a life they’ve built here. There are challenges - communication, travel and weather. But they now have four children who’ve all been born there and they have a wonderful life, running free.. Just before Covid they built the Uig Sands restaurant. They buy the best fish they can get. Originally the smokery was buying wild fish around the island but with dwindling stocks of wild salmon it came to be seen as not a good idea to kill wild fish. “For us the quality of the fish is key. Ideally we buy them on the island. We use an oak and dry salt method. When they were developing a recipe in the 80s the brine didn’t work as well, whereas the dry salt helps to draw out the fat. We keep it really simple with attention to detail. Like any meat the skill is looking at the fish thinking these fish need a bit more salt or a bit more smoke it will vary depending on the conditions.” A lot of their customers have been coming back every year, at Christmas.