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The Wild Haggis

The Wild Haggis
By Sophie 3 months ago 4132 Views 2 comments


The Wild Haggis is a small, wiry-haired creature, most noted for it's survival instincts in the Scottish Wilderness. Throughout the centuries, this fascinating creature has evolved to ensure it can travel along the steep mountainous landscape, through one side of it's body having longer legs than the other. If the shorter legs were not to remain on the inner side of the mountain, the Haggis would have the unfortunate experience of tumbling down the hillside and causing great damage to itself. This means that the Haggis can only travel through the mountains with ease in one direction - clockwise or anti-clockwise.



Haggis - A History

Thought to be the original native Haggis species that all other Haggis descend from, the Hebridean Haggis was much smaller and hardier than the mainland varieties. It formed a significant part of the staple diet for the ancient Scots.

These days, it is believed that the current Wild Haggis is descended from the Feral Haggis. Before the highland clearances, farmers and crofters owned domesticated Haggis, however these poor creatures were sadly abandoned when the families and farmers were forced to leave their lands during the 18 th and 19th centuries.



In competition with the large sheep population at the time, the Haggis faced the very real possibility of extinction. A sheep were introduced to the lands as a means of a more sustainable agriculture venture, they needed a constant supply of local heather and peaty burns. As the Haggis' sensitivity to water PH levels are so severe, not many of the pet Haggis survived the travels from their native mountainsides.



The Haggis Today...

These days a large number of Wild Haggis still roam the moors of the Western Isles. Despite the Isles of Lewis and Harris having a strict Sabbatarian tradition, the Hebridean Haggis Hunt is one of the few events that can still be observed today. Taking place every Sunday, the hunt sees locals travel across all the islands, including Lewis and Harris, in search of a Wild Haggis.



Unlike it's relative on the mainland, the Lewis Haggis is fortunate enough to have legs that are all the same length. This gives the creatures an advantage over their relatives on neighboring islands, in escaping the hunts, which are traditional community events.

At dusk, young men in the villages go out on to the moors to form a wide semi-circle while the elders cover peat creels with heather and turf. The young men act as 'beaters' and drive the haggis towards the traps.

In a panic, the Haggis see the elders and search for places to hide. Mistaking the creels for shelter and burrows, they are caught.

Traditionally the Haggis would then be dispatched, skinned and soaked in brine for a couple of days so that they become tender and ready to cook. The skin of the Haggis would be used as a sporran.



(* Note that the plural of haggis is haggis)

andiugh03@yahoo.com 3 months ago at 14:10
When Scots immigrated to America, some smuggled their pet Haggis with them. The Haggis then bred with a now extinct Native American creature and the resulting offspring became known as Snipe. Snipe are hunted in America much as the Haggis are hunted in Scotland and on the Islands.
TheCatsMother 3 months ago at 20:00
Don't forget the Haggie-Wellie-Bootus!
This is a variety descended from the wild haggis, which travelled south of the border during the late 18th and early 19th century. It settled on the wild moors of the Pennines around Manchester and Bolton.
Due to the particularly wet climate, it evolved to develop a strange growth on its feet, that has a rubber-like look and feel.
It was discovered by some ramblers out on the moors that got caught in a storm and took shelter in a cave, where they came upon one of the creatures. One member of the party noted that it's feet oddly resembled a Wellington boot, and hence the Haggi-Wellie-Bootus was named.
They are an elusive creature, hunted as a delicacy, and particularly tasty when cooked wrapped in a flaky pastry casing!