"Quintessentially Scottish: SPORRAN" Top 5 Page for this destination Scotland Local Custom Tip by JessH

Scotland Local Customs: 109 reviews and 144 photos

  Pipers wearing horsehair sporrans (Inverness)
by JessH
  • Pipers wearing horsehair sporrans (Inverness) - Scotland
      Pipers wearing horsehair sporrans (Inverness)
    by JessH
  • McGregor kilt with semi-dress sporran - Scotland
      McGregor kilt with semi-dress sporran
    by JessH
  • John in his kilt, with sporran and kilt pin - Scotland
      John in his kilt, with sporran and kilt pin
    by JessH

This tip is an extension of my tips written about the KILT and also TARTAN.

The Sporran is a traditional part of male Scottish Highland dress. It is a bag that is worn around the waist... a wallet worn with the pocket-less Scottish kilt.

It started out as a rather humble bag or pouch, usually carrying some money - but also salt and oats that could be used by the Highlanders to cook porridge when they were away from their homes. Nowadays, I guess most Scots fill their sporran with their wallet, perhaps a packet of cigarettes and a mobile phone :-)

A sporran is typically made of leather and covered with fur. Originally mostly otter fur was used, or deer. Nowadays, endangered species are avoided and fur that may be used can be from cows, goats or also rabbit / hare. More and more often, synthetic fur is used.

Sporrans come in various different designs and qualities, and are each worn with a certain, corresponding "dress code". There are plain (leather) day-wear sporrans, semi-formal sporrans and full dress sporrans. "Horsehair Sporrans" are most often worn as a part of regimental attire, and pipers will often wear the most flamboyant styles with long horsehair that swishes from side to side as they march along.

The sporran is worn on a chain or a leather strap, positioned in front of the groin of the wearer. It should be positioned below the belt buckle, hanging loosely from the hips.

Many people think that the sporran was invented to stop the kilt from flying up on a windy day… this isn't the case. A traditional kilt pin is usually worn to keep the front "flap" of the wrapped kilt in place. And in any case: a kilt is made of approx. 6-8 yards of very heavy wool, and that usually does the trick.

My husband wears a semi-dress sporran, which is appropriate for all occasions. This means the top flap is leather, and just the main (lower) part of the pouch is covered in fur.

Follow this link for my tip about the KILT: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/21e1f1/

Follow this link for my tip about the TARTAN: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/21e283/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2012
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