Burns Night

Cleveland is a land of glacial outliers. Roseberry Topping, Freeborough Hill, Blakey Topping and, of course, Whorl Hill. Apparently, at a mere 237m high, it is the 2226th tallest hill in England, which I must admit I do find hard to believe. To the right of the hill are the ruins of Whorlton Castle which was once the home of the Earl of Lennox whose son, Lord Darnley, married Mary, Queen of Scots. And there lies a tenuous connection for today is Burns Night when Scotland’s national poet is celebrated. So break out the haggis, warm-up the bagpipes and raise a glass or two. But did Robbie Burns purloin the haggis? The word is first recorded in a English recipe dated 1430:

Hagws of a schepe. Take the roppis with þe talowe & parboyle hem; þan hakke hem smal.

One of the suggestions is that the word comes from the Old English ‘haggen‘ meaning to chop.

Nevertheless Burns was a cracking poet, here is the first verse of his Address To The Toothache:

My curse upon your venom’d stang,
That shoots my tortur’d gums alang,
An’ thro’ my lug gies mony a twang,
Wi’ gnawing vengeance,
Tearing my nerves wi’ bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

 
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