Doric, a little-known form of North East Scots, is undergoing a pandemic-inspired renaissance.

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“Slaverin, slubberin, gibberin, gabberin, roon wi a wallop, a sklyter, a sweel,” recited the poet. “Yonder’s the burn – in its bairnhood, it’s blabberin. Heich-lowpin puddock, wi virr in its heel…”

Sheena Blackhall, a celebrated laureate from Garthdee, a suburb south of Aberdeen, was in her element performing the opening stanza of her poem. She was reading “Allt Darrarie”, her lyrical tribute to a stream in the East Grampians of Aberdeenshire, straining each syllable with a gruff rasp. “Now, did that make any sense to you?” she prompted, gently. “Ach, I widnae be surprised if it didn’t.”

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