Congresbury Scouts and Guides HQ is not the most likely venue to celebrate the memory of Robbie Burns. But, for the 90 people who attended this annual event on Saturday 28th January, it was ‘Fantastic’.

The evening started in a very civilised way with a glass of ‘The Famous Grouse’ or as those who are familiar with their favourite whiskies ‘ The Low Flyer’. As tradition demands, the ‘Haggis’ was piped in with the rousing melody of the Bagpipes under the capable arm of Geoff Pegler. Geoff then gave the address to the ‘Haggis’ in a flawless and action packed demonstration of bravado. Fortunately for us all, he convinced the beast to offer itself up for our supper.

The main course of Haggis, tatties and neaps was a hearty helping of delicious Scottish fare and for those who had spent the day chasing the wild creature across the Mendips, a second helping was most welcome! Pudding was sherry trifle or fruit crumble both equally delicious with lashings of cream.

Having given the loyal toast to the ‘Lassies’ myself, I know it can be a terrifying experience requiring many weeks of research and preparation. In the capable hands of Ian Stocker, who is blessed with a powerful voice, his opening question ‘can you all hear me’ didn’t raise one reply. Ian was able to remind us of Robbie Burns’s reputation not only as a poet, but as a ‘Rascal’. His light hearted and humorous talk was well received and greeted with much applause.

If the man giving the toast to the Lassies has a nerve racking task, pity the Lassie who has the dubious honour of replying. We didn’t need to be concerned; Pat Hilder who was ‘volunteered’ by her daughter gave a superb and erudite rendition. As all replies should be, it was distinct, entertaining and funny. Pat probably had the best nights sleep for weeks after all the men present stood and toasted her and all the lassies present.

Aided perhaps by the good food, a few wee drams and some good wine and real ale the dancing got underway. Bang, crash wallop what a celebration. Dave Byett and his fellow musicians were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and energy of the guests. The floor was packed with dancers moving in all directions whilst Dave tried to teach them the niceties of Scottish dancing. It was a pleasure to see everyone partaking and enjoying themselves so much.


Once again, Congresbury Scouts and Guides did us all proud. This year was the best ever and the only pity is we have to wait another year for an excuse to let our hair down and enjoy such a wonderful occasion.

Michael Greaves