The Guga Has Landed

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As a Grand Finale to the Visit Scotland Year of Food & Drink 2015 (Yesterday’s Fare Today from An Lanntair’s successful Food Festival in the summer) theme at a local care home, where I also work part time, one of my fantastic colleagues managed to procure some much-requested guga, salt mackerel and Bragar potatoes. This went down so well with everyone and spirits were high all afternoon. So many people had strong memories of the hunters going out from Ness and waiting for them to come home, and of the strong, seasonal flavour of Guga. The salty flavours evoked a strong recollection of foods of the past, as salting was a vital way of preserving foods. Some people dived in with their hands, traditionally, others delicately nibbled with cutlery, some opted for the mackerel instead.

Preceding this grand finale meal were discussions and then sessions of butter making, herring splitting, frying oatmeal herring, making duff, bread and making scones with the buttermilk.

I found a BBC video of a film crew filming this guga hunting tradition recently. Here’s a link.

BBC film about the guga hunters of Ness

Hebridean Connections have a brilliant page about the 1912 hunt (which does have a part 2!). I first read about this in a commemorative issue of the Stornoway Gazette I was sharing for a reminiscence session.

Guga Hunt of 1912

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