St Ninian’s Hall, Isle of Whithorn, saw the Whithorn Burns Club return for their annual gathering on Friday 27th January to celebrate the birth of the national bard, Robert Burns.
Norman Gerrish and Cameron Stewart paraded and piped the humble haggis as it entered the hall to mark the beginning of the festivities. Cameron also had the honour of addressing the beast and did so in his usual no nonsense manner. Joe McMillan said grace before the diners enjoyed the exceptional supper, provided by Caroline McCornick and her finely tuned team.
Robin Davidson of Whauphill led the post supper revelry with his inaugural Immortal Memory. Davidson delivered an interesting and thoroughly researched offering by comparing and dissecting the conceptual ideas of Burns (1759-1796), scholar William Tynedale (1494-1536), political reformer Thomas Muir (1765-1799), revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794) and novelist James Joyce (1882-1941). A splendid maiden voyage.
John Nisbet, the piper, biker and reciter from Eyemouth, kicked off with his version of Robert Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter. Nisbet certainly mastered the St. Ninian’s Hall acoustic system with a perfect rendition of Burns’ famous drinking tale. Later in the evening John took to the mic again to give another flawless performance with his recitation of Death and Doctor Hornbook.
Ted Brown from Milaries, Whauphill, proved to be a star turn with his toast to the Lassies. Ted’s unique wit and style provided a funny, flattering and fitting tribute to the fairer sex.
Returned Exile, Douglas Ballantyne, was next to take the stage as he toasted Bonnie Galloway.
Douglas reminisced about his times spent away from the Machars in foreign lands such as England.
It was a masterful performance intertwined with snippets of his own verse and culminating in a full reading of Bonnie Galloway.
Joe McMillan, formerly of Bute and now of Port William concluded the evening with the Omnibus toast. This toast is, essentially, a vote of thanks to all those who have helped make the occasion a success. Joe certainly made the floor his own.
After impressing the company with anecdotes and observations of past (and present) employers Joe mesmerised some more with colourful language and West Coast carousing to bring the celebrations to a close.