Burns' Night

Robert Burns is Scotland's most well-known and best loved poet: he was born in Alloway, Ayrshire in south-west Scotland, on January 25th 1759, and Burns' Night is celebrated on or around his birthday.

A Burns' Night supper must always begin with Burns' own Selkirk Grace :

"Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit."

The menu usually consists of cock-a-leekie soup (or Scotch Broth) and haggis with "tatties and neeps" (mashed potato and swede), Tipsy Laird (sherry trifle is a close enough substitute) followed by oatcakes and cheese, all washed down with liberal tots of good Scotch whisky - or for Brownies and Guides, Irn Bru!

The haggis is "piped" in - brought in ceremoniously by the chef accompanied by a piper - and "addressed" with Burns' own Address to a Haggis poem before being cut and served : the full poem has eight verses, but for most Guides celebrations the following three should be enough to give a fell for the occasion!

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

* * * * * * *

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!


Scottish Treats:

Edinburgh Rock
Clootie Dumpling

Scottish Games :

Highland Games usually consist of events such as caber tossing, shot-put, highland dancing, sheep dog trials, bagpipes and drummers and these can be easily adapted for Guides:

Caber tossing : cabers can be cardboard tubes, rolled up newspaper or for mini-cabers, drinking straws - a valid throw must turn end-over-end in the air and the distance is measured to the pont nearest the thrower where it first lands.

Shot-put : for the shot, use a balloon (with or without water to weight it - indoors can be just a balloon, outdoors a little water might be helpful!)

Highland dancing : unless you know what you are doing, the easiest way is to let the girls do solo "Sword dances" over crossed 'swords' - touch the swords and you're out, longest to last wins!

Sheepdog trials : you need chairs, cones, skipping ropes or anything to mark out three sides of a 'sheep pen' and four or five blindfolds (neckers?) Four or five Guides volunteer to be blindfolded 'sheep' which the shepherd has to herd into the pen by voice commands alone : only left, right, back, forwards, turn, step and stop are allowed. As much fun for the spectators as the participants - can be played indoors or out.

To download this page as a Word document, click here


Print this page using the "Print" option on your browser bar, or highlight (left-click/drag) and copy (Ctrl-C) & paste (Ctrl - V) to MS Word or a similar program.