Dalry's Tam 'O' Shanter Connection

Dalry Churchyard, Dumfries and Galloway
One of the most interesting and bizarre parts of Dalry's history is the legend that Robert Burns based his famous "Tam O' Shanter" poem on the story of local farmer Adam Forrester of Knocksheen, who was drunk one night in his favourite inn at Midtown, Dalry, which was run by a local mid-wife called Lucky Hare.

It was on his way home from the pub that he went down past the "Motte House" now part of Dalry Police Office, when he heard the sound of music coming from Dalry churchyard. When he went to investigate he saw people, some in a state of undress,  dancing with the Devil; one of them was Lucky Hare. To this Adam Forrester shouted:

 "Weel danc't Lucky Hare, You'll no deny this the morn"

The witches and warlocks led by the Devil himself all started to chase him, so Adam jumped on his horse and galloped up Waterside Hill on the other side of the River Ken, but the ground got too boggy and he had to dismount.

The Devil and the witches were nearly upon him when Adam took out his sword and made a score on the ground around himself and his horse, crying out:

 "By the power of God almighty, may no evil thing cross this score!"

And sure enough when the chasing horde reached him they couldn't cross the circle. However Adam's horse's tail flicked outside the circle and The Devil managed to grab it and pulled it off! Just then a cock crowed in the distance, the sun came up and the witches left.

 "The grass was scowdered to the moules"....

...but Adam was safe. He fell to his knees and thanked God for his rescue. Later in the day he returned to the scene and dug a ditch coming back every year to clear the ditch of vegetation as a visual reminder of his experience. It is still there today, 300 years later.