There’s a refreshing sight for travellers heading north or south over the Harris hills, with a new food van prominently placed by the road at the head of Loch Seaforth near Bowglas.

The bright chrome food wagon is the home for a new business, launched in October by husband and wife Irene and Alasdair Morrison. Taste n’ Sea invites you to sample the freshest of island produce while perched on a bench enjoying one of the finest views in the islands.

The idea’s been developing over a while, with Irene and Alasdair convinced that walkers and cyclists needed somewhere to stop during the long hike between Leurbost and Tarbert. It came to a head after a meeting with the North Harris Trust, which raised the issue of providing something for just those sort of customers when they’re visiting the islands.

Irene said: “The ideal would be a café in that spot, but for the moment it seems like enough of a risk to have converted part of our croft for a site for the van and extra parking, together with benches overlooking Loch Seaforth.”

Irene runs the van side of the business, set up by 8.30 each morning to get breakfast ready for workers driving north or south over the hills. Alasdair is the fisherman, setting out in his boat, Rebecca Erin, to catch the langoustines, crab, squid and squat lobsters that appear on the menu.

They’re complemented by Stornoway black pudding and Lorne sausage, bacon butties and Irene’s own homemade pastry sausage rolls, as well as burgers and Belgian hot chocolate, brownies and panini. Soups always include a vegetarian option and there’s veggie choices on the burger and panini menu too.

The first few weeks have gone well, with plenty of passing trade as well as people making special trips out from Stornoway and Tarbert to sample the new fare.

Irene said: “People are relieved to see us here and several of them have said ‘it’s high time there was something here.’

Even down at our house we’ve often had walkers or cyclists knocking on the door asking ‘is there anywhere we can go for a hot drink?’”

Well, now there is, and despite the early starts and isolated location, Irene is loving the work. “Locals have been so supportive and I have met so many people I didn’t know, Friends have been out and people are coming out for a spin when the weather’s better to have a look and see.

“It’ll be lovely in the summer when people can sit out beside the van without having to wear a woolly hat and gloves, but I’m really chuffed with the way it has all turned out. I’m quite happy up here with this view and all the lovely people who are stopping for a wee bit of banter.”

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-GB;}