Sam Wilding's Blog
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Port Ness

 

After a wild drive to Port Ness, on the most northwesterly tip of Lewis, I arrive at the school and settle down in their new Library. The school kids are at the door to greet me and they lead me inside to give my workshop. They are fantastic and soon tell me about the real Gugas Hunters. One girl’s dad is an actual Guga Hunter and disappears for 2 weeks every year to harvest the gannets. He is only allowed back in the house after 3 showers. I ask them what the birds taste like and how they cook them. They are very salty and fishy in taste but many of the kids enthuse about them and the teacher tells how they are cooked. They are scrubbed with washing-up liquid and then boiled for an hour before being served with boiled potatoes and veg. The gannet skin has the complexion of an old tramp and the fat layer is extremely thick. Some of the class say how you have to eat the fat and the dark flesh together. The teacher isn’t too keen on the fatty parts. I eventually take the road to Callanish. It’s been 20 years since I’ve visited the stones that appear on the cover of The Magic Scales. There is a visitor centre there now, so I track down the manager and show him the cover of the first book. He loves it and sees that it will sell in the shop, so takes 6. I take some pictures of the magnificent standing stones and realise the time. Racing down the road towards Harris, the site of Windscape, my new book-to-come, I just get into the library in the nick of time.

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