The Guga Hunters of Ness # 310

The Guga Hunters of Ness

13:00, Sunday 16th June, Museum Auditorium

rai 310 the-guga-hunter-of-ness

  • Director/Anthropologist: Mike Day
  • Year of Release: 2010
  • Duration: 59 mins
  • Country of Production: Scotland/ UK
  • Location: Scotland/ Northern Atlantic
  • Ethnic Group: Gaelic, Scottish
  • Language: English


This film follows a vanishing community’s beloved and unique tradition. The Gaelic speakers of Lewis in Scotland are the only people in the EU exempt from a ban on hunting gannets, but they are only permitted to hunt them once a year on a desolate island 40 miles offshore. This is the first time in 50 years that they have allowed it to be filmed- and most likely the last.

Every August ten men from Ness set sail for Sula Sgeir, a desolate island far out in the Atlantic. Following in the footsteps of countless generations, they leave their normal lives behind to reach the remote hunting ground.The men live on the island for two exhausting weeks, sleeping in old stone bothies among ruins built by monks over a thousand years ago. They work ceaselessly, catching, killing and processing 2000 birds using traditional methods before returning home with this rare meat so cherished by the people of Ness.

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Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

Our Sponsors

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:

UDDA NMS SSGS ED Unversity of Aberdeen StAndrews WILEY