Once a myth, now no more: today explorers from the Scottish Deer Centre, near Fife in Scotland, announce that they are the first in the world to capture a live haggis.
Feared to be extinct for centuries, the supposedly mythical creature was discovered by a specialist team in the depths of the Lomond Hills which surround the popular Scottish tourist attraction, after locals spotted mysterious footprints in the local glens.
Using specialist equipment, the team of experts commissioned by the Deer Centre unearthed tracks which revealed the markings of a small, hairy creature rotating in circular motions. The haggis, which is believed to be of the Scotti dexterous variety given its continuous movement in a clockwise direction, has two legs longer on the right side of its body.
The discovery has mystified ecologists who for years believed the animal lived in the Scottish Highlands.
The Scottish Deer Centre’s discovery propels the haggis into the global spotlight ahead of the Loch Ness Monster, which has evaded thousands of global Nessie hunters for decades.
The centre has built an enclosed sanctuary to home the haggis, simulating the natural surroundings of the Scottish countryside. It is now inviting visitors from around the world to come and try and spot the haggis, which is known to be evasive.
Sarah Rice, General Manager at the Scottish Deer Centre, said: “This is an unbelievable discovery, right on our doorstep. We wanted to ensure the protection of this endangered species, so we have worked with experts to carve out a home for the haggis at the Scottish Deer Centre. We’re proud to have made the discovery right here in Scotland and can’t wait to welcome crowds from around the country and overseas to visit our latest guest.”
Haggis have been hunted in Scotland since the 1700s. Typically hunts take place on the evening of Burns Night, a day which celebrates the country’s most famous poet and storyteller, Robert Burns. His most popular “Address to a Haggis” sonnet is believed to have been conceived because of his love for the creature.
Founded in 1988, the Scottish Deer Centre opened as a working deer farm and has expanded to now home animals long-lost from the Scottish countryside such as the Lynx and the almost extinct Scottish Wildcat, while focusing on conservation, education and research of Scotland’s creatures.
TOP 10 HAGGIS FACTS – THE MYTHICAL ONE
1. The origin of the word ‘haggis’ isn’t known for sure, but it is thought to come from the Old Norse word höggva, meaning to cut or hit. (reference: Simon Howie)
2. According to ancient Scots folklore, the haggis is thought to be native to the Scottish Highlands.
3. Haggis are believed to have two legs significantly shorter than the other two, which helps the animal to thrive in the wild and steep Scottish mountains.
4. It is this asymmetrical body shape which means haggis can only travel, with ease and speed, in one direction – clockwise (Haggis Scottii dexterous) or anti-clockwise (Haggis Scotti sinistrous), depending on whether its legs are longer on the left or the right.
5. These two varieties of haggis coexist peacefully but are unable to interbreed in the wild.
6. The haggis’ fur is long, shaggy, and mane-like, which helps it survive the harsh winters of its habitat.
7. Some haggis have adapted particularly well to the boggy areas of Scotland, with extra-long snouts that give them an advantage when bog snorkeling.
8. The Hebridean Haggis is thought to be the original native species from which all other haggis is descended. This breed of haggis was much smaller and hardier than the mainland varieties and formed part of the staple diet of the ancient Scots.
9. The traditional season for hunting the haggis is during the height of winter, between St Andrew’s Day (30 November) and Burn’s Night (25 January).
10. Haggis Hunting is often done in pairs. One person will run at the wild haggis to startle it. As it tries to turn around, it is then likely to fall down the hill. The second person will wait at the bottom of the hill, ready to catch the haggis once it tumbles down.
To learn more about the Scottish Deer Centre, visit: https://scottishdeercentre.co.uk/