The first “world championship” for eating pickled baby gannets, known as “guga”, has sparked new calls for a total ban on the Hebridean tradition of hunting chicks by clubbing them with sticks.
The inaugural world guga-eating contest takes place tonight at Ness Football Club on the Isle of Lewis. Its social club is staging the competition despite opposition from animal rights campaigners, who claim the hunting method is cruel. Twenty contestants will race to eat half a gannet chick with a side dish of potatoes in the quickest time.
The birds are hunted on Sula Sgeir, a rocky, uninhabited islet 40 miles north of Lewis. It takes the first part of its name from the old Norse word for gannet, and residents of Ness district are awarded a special licence to cull 2,000 gannets each year. It is the only place in Britain that hunting seabirds is still allowed after a ban was introduced in 1954.