Robert Burns

In 1787 Burns made a tour of the Highlands. In early September of that year he reached Ellon where he and his travelling companion dined. He called on Lord Aberdeen at Ellon Castle but was refused entry owing as he wrote “to the jealousy of threescore over a kept country wench”. The threescore he was referring to was George Gordon, the third Earl who was at that time actually 65. The Earl had a reputation with the ladies and had installed mistresses in at least three other households. Perhaps he was conscious of his visitor’s reputation and wanted to keep the country wench to himself. She was Penelope Dering who bore the Earl a son and a daughter. It was for her that he had rebuilt Ellon House between 1784 and 1787. The information in this article is taken from the book:

“Dirt & Deity” - A Life of Robert Burns,  by Ian McIntyre,

published by Harper Collins.   ISBN: 0-00-215964

While in Aberdeen, Burns met with Bishop John Skinner son of the author of Tullochgorm - a song Burns much admired. It is said that this song was actually written while the Bishop was in the Toll House off Ellon Square.


(Trad / Rev. John Skinner)

And gie's a song, the lady cry'd, and lay your disputes a' aside

What signifies't for folks to chide for what was done before them

Let Whig and Tory a' agree

Whig and Tory, Whig and Tory

Whig and Tory a' agree to drop their Whig-malorum

Let Whig and Tory all agree to spend the night in mirth and glee

And cheerful sing alang wi' me the Reel o' Tullochgorum

O Tullochgorum's my delight, it gars us a' in ane unite

And ony sumph that keeps up spite, in conscience I abhor him

For blythe and merry we'll be a'

Blythe and merry, blythe and merry

Blythe and merry we'll be a', and make a happy quorum

For blythe and merry we'll be a' as lang as we hae breath tae draw

And dance till we be like to fa', the Reel o' Tullochgorum

What needs there be sae great a fraise like dringing dull Italian lays

I wadna gie our ain strathspeys for half a hunder score o' them

They're dowf and dowie at the best

Dowf and dowie, dowf and dowie

Dowf and dowie at the best wi' a' their variorum

They're dowf and dowie at the best, their allegros and a' the rest

They canna please a Highland taste compar'd wi' Tullochgorum

May choicest blessings aye attend each honest open-hearted friend

And calm and quiet be his end, and a' that's good watch o'er him

May peace and plenty be his lot

Peace and plenty, peace and plenty

Peace and plenty be his lot, and dainties a great store o' them

May peace and plenty be his lot unstain'd by ony vicious plot

And may he never want a groat that's fond o' Tullochgorum


Ellon Burns Club was founded in 1987 and had its first Supper in the Station Hotel Ellon in  January 1988.

This was not, however, the first Ellon Burns Club. There was a club in the early 1900s and one in the 1930s.

The Club holds its supper each year on the Friday closest to Burns’s birthday - 25th January.

Oor Monarch’s hinmost year but ane

Had five and twenty years begun

Twas then a blast o’ Janwar win’,

Blew hansel in on Robin.



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