Cheese and Pickled Guga
Having left the play park to its Sunday observance we hit the beach, where The Fatdog rampaged her way (in a most irreverent manner) across the broad expanse of pale sand. FD loves going to the beach and will happily chase her ball until exhaustion sets in. She did look a tad guilty having enjoyed herself so much, so kept a wary eye on the path from the play park in case of pitch fork wielding zealots.
Our circular tour must have covered about 5km before we arrived back at the car and set off to find a spot to eat our packed lunch.
A couple of miles distant, Port Nis provided an excellent bench and viewpoint.
As the waves crashed in towards the beach beyond the little harbour, we met a soft accented islander who described how we were looking at the setting off point to Sula Sgeir for the guga hunt. Apparently the tradition still continues though he was of the opinion that it had more to do with a rite of passage than the provision of a luxury food item.
I recalled seeing a recent article where the Scottish SPCA charity petitioned the Scottish Government regarding this local practice of snaring and clubbing young gannets which were then cooked as a delicacy. The Government found in favour of the hunters saying it was not cruel if done competently and was not a threat to gannet stocks.
It’s difficult to comprehend that it’s a tradition that most right thinking people would like to see continued as it appears to serve no purpose than to allow psychopaths to go and kill things for pleasure. One for the obscurity of time I hope.
Our lunch spot above the harbour was immediately adjacent to the restaurant of the man from Wagga Wagga (mentioned in an earlier post) and the menu did indeed look appealing. Sadly, with it being closed both Sunday and Monday, we would not be exploring its possibilities this trip. J stared at the menu longingly.
Our packed lunch was a bit of a disaster. Well it was for me. Our hosts had picked me up wrong when I had said “anything but pickle” when asked about lunch and had provided truly magnificent cheese…and pickle (groan) sandwiches. It was Sunday on Lewis with sod all chance of finding anything else to eat…and my lunch contained one of my few culinary dislikes. My bottom lip started to quiver. Fortunately our goody bag contained lots of fruit, choccy-biccies and 4 huge slabs of fruity flapjack. J sighed, stuffed a banana and a slab of flapjack in my hand, and wellied straight into the cheese and pickle. Urgh…I sidled towards the other end of the bench.
I managed to make my emergency flapjack rations last through the following 2 days…until disaster struck on Tuesday. But that’s for another “Tail”.
Attached to, and possibly part of, the restaurant were spotlessly clean toilets…and open on a Sunday! This proved to be a feature of the islands in general, as everywhere we went we found toilets always open and always well maintained.
Next time we’ll be visiting black houses, a broch and stone circles…and probably more toilets. I know…(yawn)…you can hardly wait!