Hudson goes on an "Outlander" haggis hunt
Hudson loves his grandad Mac, a brave Scottish hunter (or so grannie said).
He loves to hear the stories of his life back in Scotland especially the adventures he and his brother Kenzie had as children over a hundred years ago. (Maybe not that long really – but a long time ago)
Papa Mac tells of the time he stumbled across a wise old man hiding on the hill at the back of their croft. The old man was sitting quietly looking out over the gorse bushes bright with the yellow flowers of spring.
“Aye lads, it’s going to be a good year for the wild haggis, and this will be a great place to find them”
Papa Mac and Kenzie had never heard of wild haggis, but the old man was about to share secrets he never told before…………….
So, the old man began.
Wild Haggis unlike today’s farm haggis are exceedingly rare, found only on the remotest Scottish hillsides in the summer, making their way up to the top of the mountains just in time for autumn where they then disappear.
A long, long time ago wild haggis were very common, found nearly on every mountain sharing the hillside with the wildcats, red deer and of course the unicorns.
Hudson was always transfixed when Papa Mac told stories of
the olden days especially now as he began to describe the story of the wild haggis.
The wild haggis, or to give them their real name Haggis Scotticus are tiny but excessively big if you were small, about the same size as Grannies lazy cat. Some people say small and fat! ( also like Grannie) They have the softest brindle hair like the long wavy coats of the best Highland cattle, amazing hearing thanks to their bat like ears, ( again like Grannie) a fantastic sense of smell with their twitchy nose of the field mouse and the brightest big round eyes you have ever seen. Some say they are like a hedgehog only much much bigger, but you get the idea.
However, the two most striking features of the wild haggis are their unicorn like horn and their legs.
Legs of the Haggis Scotticus are legendary, two long (for their size) on the left and two short on the right! This makes them the best and fastest
climbers of the Scottish hills but for one thing – they must always travel in a clockwise direction.
Unlike today’s farmed haggis the Haggis Scotticus still have a small unicorn horn which makes them incredibly special indeed. No one really knows why they have a horn, but they use it each and every day to dig around the hard, rocky hillsides in search of the freshest midge for their dinner!
The steep hillsides on the Scottish mountains are no problem for the wild haggis (provided they travel always in a clockwise direction remember), which they always do.
Climbing higher and higher and round and round until they reach the autumn grazing of the unicorns high up the mountain far from all but the bravest and determined Scottish hunter.
These secret magical grazing fields have been known to be there since the beginning of time but very few people know how to find them.
Some say in a long-forgotten time the wild cats and red deer were one and the same. The real kings of the Scottish mountains. From them the wild haggis and unicorns were born over millions of years.
The old man did say he never knew if this was true, but it sounded right to him.
“How do you find the Unicorn’s fields?” Hudson asked excitedly.
You need to follow the young haggis of course! That is how you can find the Unicorn Fields.
The story Papa Mac was about to tell was just that – how t
he old man found the unicorn fields and became one of the best brave Scottish haggis hunters.
So, the old man started.
I was not very brave when I was young boy always watching but never really getting involved. I would watch as my brothers, Alexander, Malcolm, and Makenzie would get into so many scraps on the shinty field, always in trouble and causing many arguments and quarrels, but they really did love to be at the heart of everything! Oh, the fun they have.
The great haggis hunt day had arrived.
Everyone gets up early on the 1st Tuesday after the 2nd Thursday in June to the sound of the bagpipes. As the sound passes your Croft you join into the line of marching until you have the longest marching band and army you have ever seen. You march together as the line gets bigger and bigger to the village square. The gathering has begun.
From the village cross all the way down to the castle by the loch. It may only be around three miles but when you are wee it is the longest walk you could imagine. What a spectacle this outlandish occurrence is.
Normally when you went on a walk you might drink some water, today whisky is the order of the day. The march becomes dancing, then the singing begins then, well, let us just say this is the day a years’ worth of arguments with your neighbours come to the surface. Groups fall off to the side of the march and things are “sorted out” the w