Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Sauchie Haugh

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

SAUCHIE HAUGH (S8x32) 2C (4C set) George S Emmerson RSCDS Leaflet Dances 29

1- 8 1s lead down the middle and back (end facing down)
9-16 1s+2s dance the Rondel
17-24 2s+1s advance and retire 1 step, turn partners 2H and circle 4H round to left
25-32 2s+1s dance Diamond Poussette

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

Sauchie Haugh - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

"Sauchie Haugh" is Scots for "willow bank" or "low-lying ground or meadow covered with willow trees".

Sauchiehall Street is one of Glasgow's best-known streets taking its name from Sauchie Haugh, meaning low-lying ground covered with willow trees. Until the end of the 18th century it was renowned for remaining wet and boggy throughout the year.

The dance, Sauchie Haugh, is a delightful strathspey with both a rondel and all-round poussette, devised by George Emmerson of London, Ontario.

Sauchie Haugh? Now that rings a bell! Ah yes, any Glasgow visitors who work their way on foot up Buchanan Street (it's pedestrianized!) from the "Highlandman's Umbrella" on Argyle Street to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at the top need only look to their left and Sauchiehall Street stretches out before them, also usually crowded with pedestrians. Whoops! Different spelling! So, is Haugh the Gaelic word for "Hall"? Well, not really! It actually means (so I read) "land at the bottom of a river valley." A "dale" or "vale" in English? Elsewhere, I learn that the words Sauchie and Haugh, combined, translate roughly from the Gaelic as "Way of the Willows".

Maybe that is why you will find "The Willow Tearooms" on Sauchiehall, designed in 1904 by that famous Glaswegian architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It is very reminiscent of a bygone age, as Kathryn and I found while having lunch there just a few weeks ago.

Of course, there is a small community called Sauchie in the quaintly named county of Clackmannanshire. Hardly a mellifluous mouthful! The "Wee County," as it was once called (smallest in Britain), lies between the rivers Forth and its tributary the Devon, in an area so damp that it might well be suitable to the growth of willow trees.

Back to the SCD deviser, George Emmerson. While he was well known to RSCDS people in Ontario as a teacher of Scottish country dancing in London, George's primary vocation was as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Western Ontario.

The strathspey Sauchie Haugh was released as one of the RSCDS Leaflet Dances in 1967.

The Barry Pipes Canon 034- May, 2010.

(Dance information from set and link, RSCDS Toronto Newsletter - What's In A Name? The Barry Pipes Canon 2005-2018, reproduced here with kind permission. Copyright Barry Pipes. All rights reserved)

Sauchiehall Street - Information Video

Sauchie Haugh - Willow Bank
Sauchie Haugh

Image copyright Kate Nicol under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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