Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Native Scottish Haggis is Going Extinct; Does Anyone Care?

My dear friends from Scotland, living and working in Swindon, England at the time, invited me over for a traditional Scottish meal, in celebration of Robbie Burns Day (January, 25th). The sweet couple broke out the Scotch (neat, not watered down with even a cube of ice), and joyfully read poems by Burns, as the Scotch burned down my throat to my stomach. My friends decided to serve me my first Haggis. If you are unfamiliar with Haggis, I was too but, please read on.

In order to deliver such a succulent dish, my friends took a day trip to Ben Nevis in Scotland, home of the Haggis. Ben Nevis is the only place in the world that the strange Haggis lives and roams. You see, the Haggis is a hairy animal, the size of a large rabbit, with a slight imperfection. The Haggis has two short legs on one side of its body and two long legs on the other. This slight imperfection forces the Haggis to run in only one direction up or down Ben Nevis. Haggis, tend to have the smaller set of legs close to the mountain and the longer legs for stability. Most non-native’s, tend to chase the Haggis to no avail as they are like rabbits – very fast. My friends however would set-up a net on a large stretch of the mountain from top to bottom, covering approximately 25 feet. They would then run after the Haggis, chasing them in one direction until they were caught in the net. Haggis can not change direction; they rely on their speed to out run their predators. Fortunately, my friends caught a rather large one and brought it back for our dinner.

My gracious host decided to leave the legs on the haggis to prove to me the length of the legs on each side. Normally the legs are removed prior to cooking. However, when the platter arrived I was very amazed. I had never seen such a strange critter. As the ambiance, the poetry, the laughter, and the meal, was absolutely succulent, I ate more than my fair share.

I asked if I could accompany my friends on their next hunting trip. I was informed that the Haggis is in danger of extinction and the Scottish Government was only giving special permits to locals from Scotland. As unfortunate as this appears, I understood.

Some ask why the Haggis can’t reproduce like rabbits with all the similarities. The challenge for the Haggis is lining them selves up on the same track as another Haggis. Often times the Haggis will be within inches of each other as the run circles around the Glen. Inches away for the Haggis, is like miles to others. They run faster and faster around the Glen to try to align themselves with no solution. Many people have spotted the Haggis running side by side around the Glen for hours. Some haggisitarians will find exhausted Haggis lying still in one path and realign them on a new path. Although, the odds of a Haggis meeting another haggis; it is difficult in these days of extinction.

The Native Scottish Haggis is Going Extinct; Does Anyone Care? What is Haggis? You obviously need another round of Glen Levit. We have reason for adding another day, to celebrate in a special way, the memory of a furry Scot; Who may be gone, but not forgot.

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