Burns Night round-up: Haggis, poetry, and more

HAGGIS lover from Orkney to Essex have changed their names on social media to “R Burns” ahead of Burns Night.

Butcher Simon Howie ran a competition to encourage people to change their names for the Bard’s birthday, and gave 100 winners hampers featuring products from Irn Bru, Mash Direct, Mrs Tillys, Orkney Cheese, Nairn’s, and Walkers – along with his own haggis.

Tanya Robertson changed her name to “Roberts Burns” on Facebook and travelled to Howie’s Perth shop to meet the butcher and another – real – Robert Burns.

“There is nothing like the Scottish sense of humour and this campaign proper tickled me,” she said.

Burns Night - Beyond Meat's "beyond haggis"

After councillors made Edinburgh the first European capital to endorse the “Plant-based Treaty” – which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by farming fewer beef and dairy cattle – American food producer Beyond Meat has created a “beyond haggis” recipe for Burns Night.

The dish uses the brand’s “beyond mince” product to “provide all the meaty flavour of animal meat, oats, vegetable suet, and traditional haggis spices”.

Ellie Stevens, the company’s UK brand manager, said: “Whether you’re an ardent carnivore or attempting to go flexitarian this year, eating plant-based is much easier than you think.”

Scots-born musician Martin Aelred Colgan has marked Burns Night by releasing Red Red Rose (The songs and Music of Robert Burns), an album that’s the soundtrack for a proposed television series about the life of Scotland’s national poet.

The album includes Auld Lang Syne, which was unveiled ahead of Hogmanay.

The soundtrack was commissioned by James Campbell from independent label Hummdrumm Records, with Colgan spending nearly six months producing both the soundtrack and an accompanying synopsis for a series.

Burns Night - Robert Burns' manuscript

And finally, it turns out that Robert Burns was scribbling down poems at work, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

Manuscripts from the university’s archive show Burns was jotting down ideas on headed notepaper from his job as an excise officer.

Our collections have many interesting stories to tell about Robert Burns and it is fascinating to see this unique insight into his life and career,” explained Paul Barnaby, the institution’s modern literary collections curator.

Don’t miss more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s culture pages.

Plus, read about Hollywood’s obsession with Robert Burns in the February issue of Scottish Field magazine.