The aftermath

I should be elated and relieved today, at how successful the inaugural World
Guga Eating Championships were, but I’m not. Instead, I am considering whether or not I should remain involved in community activities at all.

The competition itself went to plan; we filled all available spaces (8 because of the number of gugas we could get), we had spectators come in for it, and there was a great atmosphere. That’s pretty much all we wanted.

Peter MacRitchie, from Fivepenny, Ness, was the champion, eating his half Guga and 400g of potatoes in 3 minutes 44 seconds. An unbelievable time. I came in 5th, after 5.52.

We knew there would be media interest in the event, that’s partly the reason why we did it, and the ‘World’ part of the title was a tongue-in-cheek attempt at building things up beforehand.

Anything to do with the Guga generates interest, good & bad. Today there is a piece on the Independent website (I’m not linking to it) which I haven’t been able to face reading in its entirety. Lifting quotes from my blog, making no attempt to get in touch and with several inaccuracies. If it was me that was doing this off my own back, fine, but it’s not. It’s potentially affecting all of Ness and a unique way of life and community spirit that you won’t find elsewhere. I’m convinced some folk won’t be happy until everyone on this planet is exactly the same.

I suppose this comes with the territory of sticking your neck out, but people aren’t indestructible. I certainly amn’t anyway.


  1. People will always find fault with island life and customs because they don’t understand our way of life. Wasn’t it Samuel Johnstone who derided the scots for eating nothing but oats and now it’s been proven that the diet the islanders had was in fact more healthy , don’t give up heart as ignorance or the chance of creating a good storyline isn’t always based on actual facts and events .

  2. Well done you guys, I think the comp was a brilliant idea and your blog shows what is normally a pretty enclosed place amazingly. The guga is a historical thing in ness and anybody who knows the place knows that. Keep the blogs and community work going :).

  3. As an island incomer, and a vegetarian, you would think I would be on the side of the guga-bashers. But no, I think the tradition of Guga hunting and the local enthusiasm for eating it shows just what strong and living traditions look like on the doorstep of the homogenised UK. Good on you, Niseachs, and Sweeny, take no notice of intellectual ignorance. Independent? I don’t think so – still in the pocket of the majority agenda, just like the papers they set up to compete against!

  4. Way down here in the Antipodes we don’t hear anything much about the beautiful Hebrides, which is why I follow you on your blog and on Facebook. Don’t be too discouraged; have a dram of nice single malt and realise the ‘outsiders’ are only jealous of the our wonderful heritage. Keep on doing your community stuff; your community needs you and folks like you, especially the younger ones who choose to live in the community and enrich it. Is math am baile far am faighear rud le iarraidh.

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