The Reel of the 51st Highland Division

Divised by the Lieutenant Atkinson of the 51st Highland Division while in a prisoner of war camp in 1940, to centre around the formation of a St Andrew’s Cross, symbolising Scotland. The draft of this reel was smuggled out of the POW camp and intercepted by the Germans, who mistook the dance shorthand for military code and spent some time attempting to crack it. Despite the best efforts of the Germans, another version was safely smuggled to Scotland, where it found popularity and to this day remains one of the best-known reels.


  • No 1s set, clap turn & cast off
  • No 1s set and turn first corners
  • No 1s spin
  • No 1s set and turn second corners
  • No 1s spin
  • Circle