A Fyne Tradition: the smoked kipper

A look at what might be the last days for Scotland's smoky fish treat

comments (1)


Loch Fyne was once synonymous with herring and kippers. However, the herring have all but disappeared and so have the kipper houses. Nicki Holmyard finds out about the last of a famous line.

In the Old Smokehouse in Campbeltown, one of the very last of Scotland’s traditional kipper houses, Archie MacMillan keeps the Celtic traditions, skills and local knowledge alive with his Original Kintyre Kippers.

The kilns may be new and fully compliant with EU regulations, but the age old methods remain the same, according to MacMillan. ‘We only source the very finest Scottish herring, bought at their best during the season when the fat content is just right, and we use no dyes or additives,’ he says.

The fish are hand-split, cured using an age-old recipe, then hung on kipper hooks prior to smoking over oak chippings made from local whisky barrels. The gentle smoking process takes around seven hours, before the kippers are ready for dispatch to customers including Loch Fyne Oysters, local hotels, restaurants and wholesalers. MacMillan also sells them at the twice-monthly farmers’ market in the West End of Glasgow.

● MacMillan Foods are at the Old Smokehouse, Campbeltown, 01586 553580


1. Graeme Monteath8 May 2009, 8:01am Report

I am a keen sea angler and regularly fish Loch Fyne utalising small boats opoerated by a prawn fisherman Alastair Lysart.
there is a strong bartering system on the shores of loch Fyne and we ususlly come home with a box of the whole Loch Fyne Kippers which i consider to be fantastic.
Its a shame that the Herring have gone from the loch which is under pressure from commercial trawlers taking Haddock and Prawns its a shame as Loch Fyne is a nursery area for juvanile fish which are killed indescrimately by the commercial boats and discarded dead as "bycatch".

Post a comment
RSS feed of these comments