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  5. "Guga agus uisge-beatha."

"Guga agus uisge-beatha."

Translation:Salted gannet and whisky.

November 29, 2019



NB: Nobody calls the foodstuff "salted gannet" in English, in the same way we don't call haggis "sheep organs stuffed in stomach". It's "guga" in English too.


"Would you like fries and a drink with that?"


I had never heard of Gannet before today!


It is a thing up north in Scotland. Not very common.


An old friend of mine hails from Plymouth, in the south-west of England - about as far away from Scotland as you can get without getting your feet wet. Apart from "Cornish pasty" (his "food of the gods") his other common food term involves the negative use of "He eats like a gannet" to describe someone who bolts his food down ravenously.

There is a tradition on the remote, uninhabited island of Sula Sgeir of the annual "Guga Hunt" in which the local fishermen hunt the gannet chicks. Historically, they were a vital source of food. Sula Sgeir is 18 miles off Rona, in the Hebrides (Eilean Siar - Western Isles).


We say something similar in Nova Scotia also - crowded around something eagerly or wolfing down your food would be described as acting like "a bunch of gannets". My friend's grandmother would scold us for eating food too quickly, calling it "gannetizing" your food, lol.... :D


But I had no idea people ate gannets lol.... In Newfoundland, people eat Turr - also called the Murre or Guillemot. I am not a fan of eating seabirds myself - too fishy lol :P


Interesting, but please note the term is

na h-Eileanan Siar = the Western Isles


Eilean Siar = Western Isle (singular)

It is a popular urban myth, even amongst official bodies, that it has a plural meaning, caused by some rather confusing Gaelic grammar (beyond the course at present)

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar = The Western Isles' Council

but people do not notice the apostrophe or mistranslate as

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar = Council of the Western Isles.

Either way, it leads to the mistake.

Note also that whilst na h-Eileanan Siar, strictly refers to the whole load of islands off the west coast - the Hebrides, the term is usually used these days in the restricted sense of the region controlled by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, which is only the Outer Hebrides.


Probably somewhat off-topic, but speaking of the Western Isles just made me think of Peat and Diesel so I had to share. https://youtu.be/zo2zuDxqf6A


They are very common in terms of total numbers. But they tend to live in enormous colonies away from humans so you do not see them that often. The biggest colony in the world is on Bass Rock near Edinburgh, although Edinburghers don't go on a guga hunt there.

In the picture below most of the white is not gannet poo but just gannets.

Gannets on Bass Rock

According to Wikipedia there's probably about a million of the Northern variety which is quite a lot for a bird of that size (170–180 cm wingspan).


Gannet and whiskey should have veen accepted imo, I'm from the area that eats it and I've never heard it been referred to as 'salted' gannet


I quite agree - or even better guga and whisky. Note that no one makes whiskey in Scotland. They do that in Ireland and the US. In Scotland and Canada we make whisky.


I've lived in Scotland all my life and this is the first time I've heard of anyone eating gannet.


You might enjoy Peter May's Lewis Trilogy which includes a gannet hunt.


There has been discussion on another question about how to translate guga into English. As far as I know, no one ever goes on a gannet hunt, even less a salted-gannet hunt. It's always a guga hunt. I do not have access to the books themselves but a Google search confirmed that all descriptions of the book mention a guga hunt rather than any other term. Do the books themselves confirm this?


Are we discussing semantics here and whether a guga hunt can be referred to as a gannet hunt? A guga is essentially a gannet chick so a guga hunt is a hunt for young gannets. Is that right? The Blackhouse by Peter May includes descriptions of young gannets being caught and killed. I honestly cannot recall if he always refers to the birds as guga and never as young gannets, he may do. My initial response was to someone who despite living in Scotland all his life had never heard of anyone eating gannet. I was merely steering him to an authentic source of evidence that it happens or at least happened. And a great read as well. Keep smiling.


No - we are discussing terminology. I am just saying I have never heard the phrase gannet hunt, or indeed of anyone eating gannet. When the guga hunt or the food is being explained then the word gannet is used, but that is different.

I would also say that gannet is misleading in the same way that if you saw a lamb you would not say There's a sheep. In general we use the appropriate term for the young of the species whenever we see a young individual and realize the fact.

Most people would call this a guga not a gannet / sùlaire guga

Most people would call this a lamb / uan not a sheep / caora lamb


Yes I was just pointing out that what you said was not usual. I did not say it was factually incorrect. That is why I said it was not a question of semantics - strictly it is - just as a guga is not - as a linguist would see it, a prototypical gannet.

I should explain that an argument has been going on for some time, which is why I may seem a bit pedantic. The main complaint the people have is not with the term gannet, but with the terms salted gannet, used in the translation above. This is beyond doubt wrong as they go on a guga hunt and there is no way you can go on a salted gannet hunt, in the same way that you cannot go on a bacon hunt.


Hello again. Good evening (unless you are in Canada in which case Good Afternoon) You are certainly correct in saying that people do not say they are eating gannet because the only people who eat young gannets call them guga. They are nevertheless eating gannets. We will have to disagree on what people would recognise from your image. Most people have never heard of a guga and I, a very keen birder for 60 years, would call it a young gannet. I agree with you, it is a lamb and we say we eat lamb or mutton not sheep. We nevertheless do eat sheep whatever we call it. Similarly people eat gannet whatever they call it. Enjoy!


If the young of a species has a specific name, I think it's worth teaching, learning, and using it. Cygnet, gosling, owlet, duckling, eaglet, eyas, squab, guga... It's knowledge; it's specialist knowledge; when you know the right name of a thing, you know more about it, and it's much easier to learn more, too.


Yes, this argument has been going on for ages, on 11 questions, and there is not a single person who thinks that salted gannet is the correct term, or that guga is incorrect (although it has been argued that if you didn't know this word you could say young gannet). But as far as people not knowing what it is anyway, more people have been saying 'what's a gannet?' than 'what's a guga?' so for many, translating as any sort of gannet is not actually explaining anything.

What is concerning is that I have this same translation that everyone disagrees with in one of the recently added questions. Why they can't accept that salted gannet is provably wrong and that guga is the accepted term I have no idea. They are usually happy to put mistakes right but it's just two things, this and the spelling of IRN-BRU that they seem incapable of changing despite rigorous evidence that they are wrong.


I didn't know where else to put this, but I noticed in the "Food and Drink" Tips section the following sentence with errors in English: "'It has once between describe as "strong duck stewed in cod liver oil and salt'." I think what you meant to say is "It has once 'been described' not 'between describe.'" :-)


Report it!! Best way to get it checked oit and fixed :))


I'm glaswegian and I've never heard of salted gannet. Yuuuk.


Whats salted gannet


What does this mean? "The x salted gannet" Anyone know what "rud é" means?


It is a large seabird that lives in large colonies. As you can see from the discussion above, almost everyone agrees that salted gannet is the wrong translation. It is also something that you have virtually no chance of ever tasting, since they are only hunted under special licence, so it is very questionable whether this is actually something you need to know. But here is a gannet

A gannet


Whiskey, although not often used in Scotland, is a widely accepted alternate spelling of whisky in English.


It is an alternative, but only to a certain extent. As far as I know, everyone in the English-speaking world who knows anything about different sorts of uisge-beatha uses whiskey to refer to the beverage made in the US or in Ireland, and whisky to refer to that made in Scotland or Canada (and most other places). It would thus be bizarre to drink whiskey with your guga in Lewis.

I Googled Scotch Whiskey to see what I would get, and all I got on the first page was someone asking if Scotch was a whiskey - to which the reply was no - and a reference to whiskeys in general, including US etc. On the second page I got The Celtic Whiskey Shop which was Irish, but if you go to the website it turns out that they sell Scotch Whisky, and whiskies from everywhere else apart from Ireland and the US. They even refer to 'Other US Whiskeys & Canadian Whiskies'. https://www.masterofmalt.com/whisky/, a Scottish company used whiskey to refer specifically to American and Irish whiskey. https://drizly.com/liquor/whiskey/c196923 used whiskey as the generic term but used whisky to refer to Scotch. https://www.amazon.co.uk/whisky-whiskey-scotch-bourbon/b?ie=UTF8&node=359904031 even has both spellings in the web address to avoid argument. So overall I would say that whiskey would be totally inappropriate here.

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