SEAWEED from the Outer Hebrides may seem an unlikely ingredient to make camels go faster.

But a factory which processes the algae has won a contract to supply it to feed leading racing camels in Dubai.

Uist Asco Ltd on North Uist is to ship dried seaweed to provide fodder for the camels who are treated with the same respect as thoroughbred racehorses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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The UAE's finest, fastest camels compete on a desert track, reaching speeds of up to 25mph.

In the past, children were commonly chosen to work as camel jockeys as a result of their light weight, but since 2002, using them in commercial camel racing has been outlawed in the UAE.

The seaweed factory on Uist - on the site of a former quarry - was only launched in the last few weeks and the initial order for the two tonnes of its seaweed came through a contact.

"I would never have thought of it myself but seaweed is fed to horses to improve the shine of their coat and is good for their hooves - and it's just the same with camels, apparently," said managing director Raghnall MacIain.