Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

An Niseag

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

An Niseag (Nessie)
Jean Attwood   Alexander Book 1
Medley   2 x (S32 + R32) bars   4 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Lengthwise Set

  1-8   Progressive chain, started by 1s 4s, finishing 4s2s3s1s, all on opposite sides, 4s 1s facing out, 2s 3s facing in;

  9-16 4s2s 3s1s dance double figures of eight across, 4s casting, 1s casting up, to start;

17-22 2s3s rights and lefts ¾, finishing facing out;

23-24 3s cast up to 1st place WHILE 2s cast to 4th place, finishing 3s4s1s2s, all on opposite sides;

25-32 all half petronella, finishing 3s4s1s2s on own sides.


  1-8   All half petronella, finishing 3s4s1s2s, all on opposite sides, 3s 1s facing down, 2s 4s up;

  9-16 reels of four on the sides, all finishing facing in;

17-18 3s4s 1s2s take hands on the sides and set facing partners;

19-20 3s4s 1s2s half right hands across, finishing 4s3s2s1s, all on own sides;

21-22 3s2s take hands on the sides and set facing partners;

23-24 3s2s half left hands across, finishing 4s2s3s1s, 2s3s on opposite sides;

25-32 repeat bars 17-24 from new positions, finishing 2s1s4s3s on own sides.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes


  1-8   Two bars per hand.

    -8   4L 1M naturally finish facing out and 2L 3M facing in; 4M 2M 3L 1L must pull left shoulder back to finish 4M 1L facing out, 2M 3L facing in.

23-24 4s step down, 1s up.


17-18 Take hands in pairs only when setting.

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Information

"An Niseag" is the Gaelic name originally referring to a supernatural "Water Horse" in Loch Ness; it has been used for the mysterious Loch Ness Monster since the earliest claimed sightings in the 1930s. Meaning "Nessie" in English, it is a diminutive derived from "Loch Nis", the Gaelic name for the loch.
"An Niseag" should be pronounced as "~n Neesh~k", with the stress on the first syllable, and "Loch Nis" as "Loch Neesh", with the following conventions:
  "~" represents the very short, indeterminate, vowel sound;
  "ee" is pronounced as in "beet" in English;
  "sh" is pronounced as in "shot" in English; and
  "ch" is as in the normal Scottish pronunciation of "loch".
See Gaelic Dance Names for more information on Gaelic spelling and pronunciation.

Jean Attwood ascribed the following significance to the various figures.

  1-8   Loch Ness;

  9-16 locks on the Caledonian Canal;

17-24 Castle Urquart;

25-32 Nessie.


  1-8   Nessie;

  9-16 watchers on the shore;

17-32 waves on the loch.

Loch Ness Monster Image
An Niseag - Nessie

Dance Information by Reuben Freemantle.
Image Copyright StaraBlazkova.

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