Haggis Thrash 2019 report

Cornwall Scottish Country Dance Community

Celebrates Burns’ Night 2019 with The Haggis Thrash



On Saturday 9th February dancers and friends from across Cornwall came together at the Eliot House Hotel in Liskeard for an afternoon and evening of Scottish Country Dancing to celebrate Burns’ Night.


We had invited one of the UK’s most prestigious Scottish Country Dance Bands to play for us, Sandy Nixon and his Band from Glasgow. Sandy’s connections with Cornwall go back many years and he regularly plays in the county for the Liskeard Annual Haggis Thrash and the Marhamchurch Scottish Country dance weekend later in the year.


The Band arrived in the West Country Friday evening and was happy to fit in 2 sessions of fabulous music for us to dance to on Saturday. What a treat!

In the afternoon we held a “Nice n’ Easy” dance – the programme was full of old favourites and straight forward dances so that everyone could just relax and enjoy dancing to the amazing sounds of Sandy and his Band. We had 60 dancers attend the afternoon – many of these were new to Scottish Dancing or less experienced dancers. With the help of our MC for the afternoon, Harry Richmond, and the Band choosing tunes that complimented the dances and played at a lovely steady tempo the dance proved a great success. The dance floor was packed all afternoon.


The Haggis Thrash – our main event of the day started at 7pm with a Grand March played by our piper Dave Crossley.  Brian Hooper, RSCDS Cornwall Branch Chairman and his wife Felicity led the dancers around the floor in the Grand March ready to commence the first dance. The dancers looked the part with the men dressed in formal highland dress and many ladies wearing tartan sashes.

The MCs for the evening dance Val Dawson and Ros McLaughlin provided clear precise instruction for each dance ensuring that everyone was able to relax and enjoy a fantastic evening of live music and dance.

Sandy accompanied by Hamish, Jim and Iain kept the dance floor full with their superb selection of tunes played at a lively tempo. On the programme was the Ballemuir Strathspey, specially written for Ruth Thornton who sadly lost her fight against cancer last year and had been the main organiser of the Haggis Thrash for the past 15 years.


Following the “Address to the Haggis” given by Jack Malcolm a traditional Burns’ Night supper of haggis neaps and tatties was served to the dancers by Hotel Manager Derek Gillbard and his staff. The haggis had been purchased from a butcher in Aberdeen and couriered down especially for the occasion.

Then it was back to the dance floor to complete the evening of dance.


A very special occasion made most enjoyable by the hospitality shown to us by Derek Gillard and the Eliot House Hotel Staff.



Ros McLaughlin

RSCDS Cornwall Branch

Membership Secretary


March 2019


For pictures of the day. See our Gallery page