Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]
Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]

Wild Haggis - [Fearsome Critter, Scottland.]

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$7.00
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Wild haggis - Latin: Haggis Scoticus. - [Fearsome Critter of Scotland.]

• About this Critter: Wild Haggis are rather small, pudgy creatures said to be native to the grassy highlands, glens, cliffs & Moores across Scotland [Though they've also been spotted by immigrating Scotts world wide, [a couple News worthy sightings put them as far out as Nova Scotia Canada in '71, & Lindelbach Germany in '98.] - Some species of Wild Haggis are quadrupeds, having very short uphill legs and longer downhill legs [similar to the Prock, French Dahu or Sidehill Gouger.] as with those ones, this makes movement on the hills easy in one direction, but also makes them unable to turn around, prone to falling over and quite easy to trap. - If the shorter legs do not remain on the up-slope side, the wee haggis is in severe danger of falling over sideways and rolling to the bottom of the hill! - The two most well doccumented types are known as clock-wise (Haggis Scottii dexterous), or anti-clockwise (Haggis Scotti sinistrous), depending on whether the legs are longer on the left or the right side of the animal. - [Though, the creatures anatomy, number of legs, length and other details are often contested and will often change depending on who you ask.] Their anatomy also makes breeding quite difficult. [For obvious reasons that I don't need to get into here.] - (A menagerie of other sub-species & anatomical variants exist as well, see below for just a few of them!) - Wild haggis are most often said to have short fine hair, though some have fluffy coats of hair similar to a sheep's, while others are bald or have wiry hair a bit more similar to a badgers or Guineapigs.
Most Scotts insist that the plural of haggis is 'haggis' and not 'haggi' (as thats how the Brits or English might pronounce it.) A group of haggis is sometimes also called a "Bourach" & Young Haggis are known as "Hagglets." - Wild Haggis vary in size from about the size of a tiny hedgehog, to nearly the size of a large boar. - Most Haggis species tend to have pronounced snouts: their call is similar to a piglike squeal, and it is often compared to the wailing of bag-pipes.

• National Dish: According to various news sources, including The Guardian, the Sydney morning herald & Atlas Obscura. In 2003, an online survey commissioned by haggis manufacturers Halls of Broxburn (The largest haggis company) in the run-up to Saint Andrews day In the British Isles. Surveyed 1,000 American tourists who were visiting Scotland over the summer: they found that about 1/3rds of the tourists (23%, thats one in four people.) believed that the haggis was a real creature or that they wanted to hunt one during their trip.

[A platter of Haggis, Tatties, Neeps and Whisky. Image source]

'Haggis' in reality of course, is Considered a Scottish delicacy and it is Scotland's national dish. The recipe to prepare haggis varies; its a Savory pudding composed using a sheep's stomach bag, filled with a mix of sheep liver, heart and lung, oatmeal, suet, stock, onions, pepper and spices. - its quite similar in consistency to "offal." - it's traditionally accompanied by mashed potatoes, (often called 'tatties.') & Turnips (known as 'neeps') and enjoyed with a swig of Scotch whisky.  [This recipe might be a bit odd to some, as 'Authentic Haggis' is not so easily available in our part of the world. - In some parts of the USA (& a few parts of Canada.) Imported, Authentic Haggis has in fact, been illegal here since the 70's due to complications and a ban involving imported sheeps lung, though, other types with substitutions exist, but perhaps aren't as widely enjoyed.]


[A Vintage Cartoon Haggis recipe postcard by Dennis Print and Publishing. Published 1980-1989.]

 • Poetic origins? - Although this isn't The origin of haggis as a food, nor is It the origin of the critter: The meal itself is said to have been made famous by Robbie Burns, Scotlands national poet & lyricist, who wrote ’Address to a Haggis’ back in 1786 - ‘Burns Night' is traditionally celebrated on the 25th of January (his birthdate) with a feast. - Although his poem does not mention the haggis as anything other than a tasty dish, the full poem goes as follows:

"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.

His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

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!"

One of The earliest references of the 'Haggis' as a 'creature' on record is seemingly a parody of the above poem, a satire written by James J. Montague (An American reporter for The New York Tribune) - Dated 2nd of January 1924. - titled "Hunting the Haggis." [though notably, it is in fact NOT the original or first mention of the haggis as a creature; The true origin is seemingly lost to time, however from this, we can last say that the haggis as a creature, was in the public consciousness as early as the 20's, though the tradition of 'the haggis hunt' likely goes back in scottish pub & hunting culture, decades.] • The shorter abridged version of the satrical poem (which is usually shared in these sorts of articles online) is as follows:
"My heart’s in the Highlands,
twa strings on my bow
To hunt the fierce haggis,
man’s awfu’est foe.
And weel may my bairn
ha’ a tear in his ee.
For I shallna come back
if the haggis hunts me." 
 • The unabridged, full version of the poem (which I've sadly never once seen shared.) goes as follows: [via newspapers.com, thanks again to my friends at fearsomecritters.ca for hunting this one down for me!!]

 • Haggis Hunting:

Haggis hunting season is traditionally said to begin on Saint Andrews day.(November 30th) and runs til Burnsnight (January 25th) when the traditional feast & celebration is held. - If yee want to hunt a haggis, there are a few things to keep in mind!!

- First, It is illegal to keep a Wild haggis as a pet or run an unlicensed haggis farm.  Although, it is legal to catch and eat most types of haggis without a license, including the subterranian "Hebridean Haggis" and the islander "Lewis Haggis." The "Shaggy Lowlands Haggis" and the "Urban Striped Haggis" are in-fact protected by law! Hunting 'Young Hagglets' that are smaller than 6 inches' is also illegal. (you must release them if you accidentally capture one!)

Many haggis hunters find that masking their smell by drinking a wee snap of Whisky before the hunt helps. [whichever kind of whisky is best for this is often contested.] regularly topping off during the hunt can only help. Haggis hunts are best done just before dusk, in pairs. - If one is desperate theres also the Haggis hunters dance, (which is said to have been written for Burnsnight in Lindelbach, a small village near Würzburg Germany, 1998.) according to legend, A day after it was written, a haggis was caught, slaughtered and consumed...

Haggis are often said to enjoy eating black pepper, so sprinkling some in a bag or a trap as bait is usually a good idea! - Another traditional solution to attract haggis, is that you could use a haggis whistle to attract a them out of their dens (Though audibly making any sort of loud snort or squeak will do!)


[A 'traditional Haggis whistle' via Clan.com ]

• Some Haggis Variants, Legends & Sub-species:

Though there are far too many Haggis variants to list at once in detail, the following are a few popular ones and some interesting, famous or otherwise popular haggis stories that I've found whilst researching around the net. [I'll come back and add to this extensive list on occasion so check back when you can!]

• 'The Great Haggis' (Haggis magnificens) - "Now thought to be hunted to extinction (or hiding out with nessie) an enormous breed of haggis which could feed an entire village from St. Andrew's Day to Burns' Night as documented in "The Capture of the Great Haggis, 1743." - The creatures length was almost 1.2m with a 1.8m girth. - It was truly the Great Haggis. - The scene of the triumphant homecoming, at a place close to what is now called Kirkcaldy, was recorded for history by "Buik Heggie" an artist of the time: Andrew B. Heggie, a descendant of the artist and native of Fife, now resides in Glenrothes. -  "William Keith" reproduced the following engraving to commemorate the event." - [The dubious article which is the source for the following picture,also goes on about haggis history, poaching and a couple other well doccumented sub-species which I mentioned briefly earlier.]• 'Golden Haggis' - A rare variety of haggis, apparently they are more Common in the Western Isles (especially on the machair) than on the mainland, where it commands a premium price. - it is also the name of a reward, given for excellency in cooking the dish.

• Haggis in Taxidermy: one less talked about fact is that the Wild Haggis is that they're often the subjects of rogue taxidermy as well, the most famous 'wild haggis' of these is the one from of Kelvingrove Gallery which is famously included in the wikipedia article and what shows up if you google "wild haggis"] - this version with the hippie hair, to me: feels very badger like, as such I'd compare it to the British "Prock." (which I covered in more detail in my side hill gouger profile!)
 

  

•Regardless of what I think, more Recently The Scottish Deer Centre and Zoological park also captured a "live haggis" of similar appearance, and has had it on display since March of 2022. –


• "The Flying Haggis" (Latin: Haggis Scotticus (volucris) -

- [image source] - a prime specimen, apparently from 1933, has been kept in the Glasgow airport (since at least 2016?) - the plaque reads as follows: "The species of haggis, the flying haggis, is believed to be extinct, the last known living one was mistaken for a grouse and shot during the "glorious twelfth" on the isle of Gigha. "- a similar, bird-like feathered haggis variant was also included on postcards by braemar films LTD. - there are also several restaurants & confectionary companies that seem to share the name or use a 'flying haggis' as a mascot/logo.
 


[braemar films LTD flying haggis circa 1980's]

A (Much Cuter) Ceramic flying haggis were also produced as souvenirs in '72 by "Beneagles Scotch Whisky" - "it was Modelled by A Hallam Beswick." [more haggis bottles here.

^[Vintage, Ceramic Flying haggis decanter - 1972]

• "Highland bog Haggis" (Latin: Haggis Gentils.) - [image posted to flicker in 2012] - it was found on display in the hallway of the Royal Hotel in Comrie: curiously, the accompanying Plaque, lists two similar variants of haggis [The "fantailed moon haggis" (mustinula erobus) & the "common coarse haggis" (Haggis Burnsii)] - perhaps its a flightless variant of flying haggis? - [As of publishing, I've reached out to the hotel and am hoping for a response with further details, I'll be sure to update here with more information when/if I hear back!] 

• Platypud haggis: (Latin: Marag fabulosus.) - For six years, 2000-2006, the Balblair Whisky company sponsored a live webcam for people to 'Hunt the Haggis' Online. - The yearly grand prize for spotting a 'Golden haggis' was a trip to Scotland, and a two night stay in the luxury break at the Gleneagles Hotel (including breakfast and use of the sumptuous leisure facilities at The Club.)- According to them, the Haggis is a relative of the platypus: the website also chronicled the 'history of the haggis' gave hunting tips, two shockwave games, recipes & much more in a rather extensive haggisclopedia.  

 • Hairy Haggis in Kids books, "Hamish the Hairy Haggis" &  a few Other 'Hairy Haggis' Mascots: - 'Hairy haggis' are quite often (but not always) anthropomorphized versions of wild haggis, they usually walk upright and are often go by "Hamish" - [a very common boys name.] - like any good scot they usually belong to their own clans, and like any other type of haggis, are hunted on Burnsnight. - 'Hamish the Hairy Haggis' was published In May 2005. Just a month later, the adorable paddington-like 'Hamish Mchaggis' was published June 1st 2005, (the series has had several sequels since.) Notably, Mchaggis also has a mascot suit for PR appearances... ...Speaking of PR: The mascot for the previously mentioned Halls company is also apparently a Haggis named Hamish and was featured in a couple 2015 & 2016 articles. (Sadly theres little information to be found about hamish online & I cant find anything more about him, so its hard to say much for its origin or what he looks like, he appears differently in both photos!!) - Various tour companies, as well as the Edinburgh marathon also spout 'Hairy Haggis' as their mascots.

• Further Haggis Variants: Probably the most impressive bestiary of Haggis variants can be found in the "Concise Field Guide to the Haggis of Scotland"  [Published 2017.] by 'Haggologist' Stephen Bowers, with illustrations by Katrina Mcintosh. the book includes 22 unique species, their diets, locations, lore, as well as their notes about their location zoology, and how they taste! - Do Check it out if you want to learn more about these fascinating creatures.


• See also: Sidehill Gouger (prock), dahut, Snipe.

Sticker art by @samkalensky, part of my 'fearsome critters' collection of stickers, check my shop and follow for many more.

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